Player name in full: Royston James Clarke
To/from dates: 1947-1958
Number of appearances: 370
Goals scored: 79
Biography and City Career:
Roy Clarke was born in Newport, Wales on 1st June 1925.
At school, Clarke excelled at swimming and rugby and represented the Welsh schools in baseball; however, it was at football that he truly shone. Later, he became a coal miner and played for a Newport amateur side before joining Cardiff in December 1942.
Clarke developed quickly at Cardiff, played for Wales in a "Victory" international in 1946, then starred as the ‘Bluebirds’ won the Third Division South. His performances attracted the attention of other clubs and, in April 1947, the shy 21-year-old transferred to Manchester City for £12,000
Clarke instantly made his mark at City offering everything expected of a winger in top flight English football. Small at 10 stone 4 pounds, he was a dashing entertainer, quick and tricky, with a powerful left-foot shot and he refused to be intimidated by brutal tackling. By the time he made his full international debut against England in 1948, he was a regular member of the City attack. In 1949/50 City were relegated, but bounced back immediately, then spent years in the wrong half of the table before reaching consecutive FA Cup finals.
Clarke was outstanding on the way to Wembley in 1955, scoring the only goal of the semi-final against Sunderland with a diving header, only to receive a knee injury late in the game resulting in him missing the final, a 3-1 defeat to Newcastle.
Fortunately, the Blues reached the 1956 final against Birmingham. City made the ideal start - Clarke playing a crucial role in a well-worked goal from Hayes after three minutes. Birmingham equalised, but in the second half City seized control winning 3-1 with goals from Dyson and Johnstone. His widow explained what happened to the trophy after the celebrations: "We were left with it at the end of the evening. We put it in the boot of the car, took it home and then stuck it under our bed until Roy took it to the club the next morning. We didn't get a wink of sleep because we thought someone might break in and steal it”.
By now Clarke had reached his thirties and had won his last cap for Wales but he completed another two seasons with City before moving to Stockport County in 1958.
An affable character, he was a key figure in City’s Former Players’ Association, and he conducted supporters' tours of Maine Road.
In 1960 he returned to Maine Road to run the development office for six years, then he and his wife, Kath, took over the management of the Blues' new social club, running it for more than twenty years with huge success. After his death, City manager Stuart Pierce said, “Roy and his wife were great servants of this club …, hugely respected and well loved by everybody.