AN EX-FOOTBALLER who became Britain’s joint youngest professional when he played for Wrexham in 1951 has finally lost his claim to fame.
Reuben Noble-Lazarus now holds the title, after turning out for Barnsley this week aged just 15 years and 45 days.
But Ken Roberts, who went on to manage Chester City, has no hard feelings and yesterday passed on his congratulations to Reuben.
Now 72 and living in retirement with his wife Betty in Oswestry, Mr Roberts said he was delighted that his record had finally been surpassed.
“It’s been a long time coming, but I’m delighted for the young lad,” he said.
“Holding the record was not something that was ever a burden to me when I played the game, it was just a case of me being in the right place at the right time.
“Now there will be someone else’s name in the record books and good luck to the lad. I hope he goes on to enjoy a hugely successful career in the game.”
Mr Roberts had shared the record with Bradford player Albert Geldard, who was the same age on his debut in 1929.
On Tuesday, a four-minute substitute appearance in Barnsley’s Coca Cola League Championship match at Ipswich Town was enough to earn Noble-Lazarus his place in British football history.
It was 57 years since Ken Roberts – then aged 15 years and 158 days – made his one and only senior appearance for Wrexham in a Division Three North match against Bradford Park Avenue.
Cefn Mawr-born Mr Roberts had joined his home town club straight from school in the summer of 1951 and found himself pressed into action on September 1 because one of the senior players missed his train to Bradford.
But that was to be his only game for Wrexham because two years later he was signed by First Division Aston Villa where he spent four seasons before injury brought a premature end to his playing career.
Roberts eventually rejoined Wrexham as a member of the coaching staff and following a similar job, coincidentally with Bradford Park Avenue, he became manager of Chester City in 1968.