A tracksuit top worn by midfielder Robert ‘Bobby’ Roberts at Leicester City’s 1969 FA Cup final match against Manchester City has sold for £600 at auction.
The white cotton Umbro tracksuit top with blue and white cuffs and collar and embroidered club badge with ‘Wembley 1969’ banner and ‘Leicester City FC’ on the back, doubled its upper estimate of £300 at Market Harborough-based Gildings Auctioneers. It was consigned by the player himself and bought by a Warwickshire-based bidder.
1969 was the fifth time that Leicester City reached the FA Cup final. However, the Foxes would have to wait over half a century until their sixth FA Cup final appearance against Chelsea in 2021 to finally win the coveted trophy, as the 1969 final ended in a 1-0 win for Manchester City, thanks to a 24th-minute goal by Neil Young.
The Foxes beat Millwall, Liverpool, Mansfield Town and West Bromwich Albion on their way to Wembley in 1969. However, this great cup form came against the backdrop of a disastrous campaign in the league, which resulted in relegation from Division One.
“The fierce bidding this rare tracksuit top attracted shows the high value collectors place on memorabilia from Leicester City’s long and chequered history,” said Andrew Smith, Gildings’ memorabilia specialist.
“Indeed, with the 2023 FA Cup campaign just around the corner, the story behind this particular piece of Leicester City history serves as a timely reminder that they have long been an unpredictable club who have arguably delivered higher highs and lower lows for their fans over the years than any other football team.”
Born in Edinburgh in 1940, Bobby Roberts made 230 appearances and scored 25 goals for Leicester City between 1963 and 1970. Known both for 100 per cent effort and a habit of hitting a shot high over the bar in almost every match, the 1969 FA Cup campaign marked the high point of his career as a lynchpin of the Leicester City midfield.
In 1970 Roberts moved to Mansfield Town, before managing Colchester and Wrexham, where on one occasion, at the age of 43, he was forced to play as goalkeeper in a match against Worcester that ended 1-1 and led to European qualification. Roberts then moved on to coaching roles, including in Kuwait and back at Leicester City for a 3-year spell in 1988. A career in scouting followed, notably as chief scout for Derby County from 1995 – 2002.
“On the eve of an international event like the World Cup, interest in footballing history is always raised. However, the result achieved for this tracksuit top is testament to the sustained strength of demand for memorabilia connected to the history of both club and international football,” adds Andrew Smith. “In fact, such is the interest we’re seeing for these kinds of collectable items, we’ve recently expanded our specialist Toys, Memorabilia and Model Railway department here at Gildings.”
The auction, which took place on November 8, was filmed for an episode of BBC One’s Antiques Road Trip, due to be broadcast in spring 2023.