Looking back at: Bobby Samuels

Malcolm Johnson takes us on another trip down memory lane to look at Bobby Samuels.

Date of birth:18.5.46  Born: Aberdeen   Height: 5ft 10in

Position: Attacking Midfield   City appearances: League: 3(1)

One of the lesser-known players in City’s long history, Robert William Lewis Samuels, usually known as Bobby, began his football career with local Scottish non-league side Sunnybank FC in Aberdeen before signing for Dundee United in 1964.

Unable to break into the first team for the First Division side, at the age of 21 he became one of several Scottish players signed by Lincoln City manager Ron Gray as part of his rebuilding of the previously struggling Imps side in the summer of 1967.

With his manager an evident believer in having reserves to cover all positions that is where the young Scotsman found himself, although featuring on the subs’ bench for the second game of the 1967/68 season. In fact, he made his first team debut as a substitute, replacing right winger John Gregson in a 2-1 defeat at Bradford City in mid-September.

It was then back to the Reserves where I first saw him play in a 3-1 win against Notts County at Meadow Lane and it was after two goals in two games for the second-string that he made his first start for the senior side in place of Lewis Thom with the Imps on a run of four league defeats. Unfortunately, this was extended to five games as Luton Town went away from Sincil Bank with a 3-2 win, Thom himself coming off the bench to replace Samuels in a disappointing team display.

Samuels then had a long spell out injured, returning to reserve team action in mid-February giving me another sight of him in the Reserves’ second visit of the season to Meadow Lane when he and Jack Lewis gave a dazzling display of ball control in a win for a strong City side. However, he was not to feature in the first team squad again until starting the last two games of the season. Coming into the side for the injured Roger Holmes he found it hard going despite a 1-0 home win over Brentford, and then fared little better against Port Vale also at Sincil Bank. Maurice Burton in the Echo described him in this match as too slow to trouble a hard-working defence and he was replaced by defender Tom Brooks 18 minutes from the end as City went down to a disappointing 1-0 defeat.

Just before the Port Vale match Samuels had been a key member of the Imps team that won a regional five-a-side competition, his tricky play proving well-suited to the format, scoring a total of four goals in City’s three victories that saw them through to the national finals. However, City’s first ever visit to Wembley – albeit the Empire Pool, Wembley, where the games were staged – saw a first round exit at the hands of Grimsby.

Given his lack of success in the last two games of the season it was no surprise when Bobby Samuels was released in the close season. Probably not really up to Fourth Division standard, he then joined newly-formed Metropolitan League side Stevenage Athletic before returning to his native North East Scotland in July 1969 to sign for Highland League side Keith. He stayed with them until September 1970, and later turned out for other Highland League clubs such as Peterhead and Buckie Thistle.

His brief Football League record totalled just his 4 appearances for Lincoln City.


  1. “Lesser known” is an understatement Gary, in those days I hardly ever missed a home game and very few away. Even after reading your article I still can’t remember him. What about an article on Joey Short. Think he played one game in a dire team of the 60’s. Short by name, short in stature, Looked a joke as his kit was far too big.

  2. I used to watch a lot of reserve games in those days and remember him well. He played in a strong reserve side which beat Halifax reserves 13-2 in a mid-week evening game if my memory serves me right.

  3. I watched a lot of reserve team games in the mid to late sixties and recognised him immediately. I recall him playing in a reserve mid-week game against Halifax Town reserves which we won 13-2.

  4. Um, Bobby Samuels only played for City during the 1967/68 season and there was no big win for the Reserves against Halifax in any of their four meetings with them that season.
    In the 1969/70 season the Reserves did beat Halifax 11-2 on 28th January 1970. Ron Gray commented on it in his next programme notes – ‘A glorious victory over Halifax winning by a very large margin 11-2. This was indeed a tremendous achievement, the team was Withers; Atkinson,Pilgrim; Holmes,Harford,Hall; Leggett,Turnbull,Svarc,Jeffrey,Helliwell. Sub: Kelleher.’
    Scorers were: Svarc(3), Jeffrey(2), Helliwell(2), Atkinson, Pilgrim, Turnbull and an O.G.

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