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Trevor Ross: tough player, nice guy (but don’t get on the wrong side of him).

Here are the Trevor Ross dates…

  • 16 January 1957: Trevor Ross born, the son of William, who played for Bradford City.
  • 15 June 1974: Trevor Ross signed as a professional for Arsenal, having joined as a schoolboy in May 1972
  • 2 October 1974: Testimonial match v Reading gives O’Leary, Ross and Rostron first games
  • 1 February 1975: Trevor Ross comes on as a sub for Alan Ball to make his first league appearance against Liverpool
  • 29 October 1977: Trevor Ross last game for Arsenal
  • 2 November 1977: Trevor Ross sold to Everton for £170,000

Speaking in an interview of his early days Trevor said,

“I joined Arsenal at the age of 12 and was picked up by a guy called Harry Woodhouse. I was invited down there and loved every minute of it. I went there every school holiday and it was amazing.  I signed schoolboy forms when I was 13 years of age and when I got to 15 that’s the time when you become an apprentice. That was the time then when other clubs started to come in for me. Manchester United,  Manchester City, Rangers, Celtic, Liverpool and Everton.

“They were always there and they had to speak to my dad. My dad was not the decision maker but a person that guided me and he did right through my career.
My dad and my sister Jacqueline used to come to all of my games from the age of 8. Manchester United came in for me through John Aston and took my dad to the local pub in Audenshaw.

“John Aston had a brown suitcase but my dad said “It’s got nothing to do with me”  as far as dad was concerned I wanted to go to Arsenal and that was that so I signed.”

Of his opening game he commented:

” I did a 50-50 tackle with Tommy Smith and never pulled out of it and went straight through. As I was running back a few of the lads went whoah, do you know who you have just tackled. I said “No” as I was only a youngster but I remember walking in the tunnel and this hand came on my shoulder and he said ” Son, tackle me like that again and I will break your leg”

“Then he said, “fair play to you, not many people tackle me so well done” So I do remember that.

“Another thing I remember because I came on as sub, I went down the by line beat a couple of players and went to cross it, kicked it with my wrong foot and fell on my arse!”

He subsequently played for Portsmouth, Sheffield Utd, Bury, AEK Athens, Hyde Utd., Altrincham (under their manager Tommy Docherty!),  but multiple injuries caught up with him and he retired from football aged 31 having broken both shoulders.   He then managed Ashton Utd although that only lasted three months before he was sacked.

His main period of playing for Arsenal was in the 1975-7 seasons before losing his place to David Price.  The problem, not of his own making, was that Bertie Mee had finally left the club in May 1976, being replaced by Terry Neill in July that year – right in the middle of Ross’ rise within Arsenal.  Neill built a different sort of side from the one that had slipped under Mee, and inevitably, players moved on.

Trevor Ross spoke in his interview with an Everton fan site of his transfer.

“I got a phone call from the Gordon Lee of Everton and he was a fantastic guy who knew how to get the best out of players.

Anyway, Gordon asked me did I fancy a move and I was ready as I didn’t get on too well with Terry Neill.   Terry Neill knew about the move and told me not to say anything as the move would take a couple of weeks. The next game for Arsenal I was dropped and for whatever reason put me in the reserves.

I played for Arsenal reserves one Wednesday afternoon and I was absolutely running the game. At half time as we came off the reserve manager a guy called Ian Crawford said “Keep this up”.

Next thing, Terry Neill walks in and says “You, Off. You don’t want to play for this club so get off.” So me being me and the attitude I had took off my shirt and threw it in his face.

I went into training on the Thursday and Friday and trained as I was in the 14-15 man squad for the first team. I thought to myself, what am I doing here?

On the Friday evening Steve Burtenshaw (Everton) called me and said “Are you still interested in joining Everton?”

“I said “Yes, I want away, I need to get back up North”, and he said “Right, we are putting a bid in for you tomorrow”.    I played the next day for Arsenal against Coventry City we won 1-0.

“After the game I went to the manager’s office was asked to sit down but told him that I would rather stand.   He told me that they had received a bid from Everton and what did I think?   I said “What time do I have to be at Goodison?” He said ” 1 o’clock” to which I replied “See you” and off I went walking straight out of his office.”

The story gives us the normal sort of tales of fighting between managers trying to assert their authority, and players who see the world at their feet – but there is also a suggestion in the chronology that suggests that the bid from Everton was to the player or the player’s agent (which would be illegal) not to Arsenal.  Maybe that is what made the manager so angry.

So Ross left Arsenal having played 67 games in all, scoring 9 goals.

In a recent newspaper interview he said, “I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of playing with Alan Ball in the Arsenal midfield.   He was an unbelievable professional and person. Everything that has been said about him since his death is true.  He covered every blade of grass in that 1966 final, but he did that week in, week out, for his club too.”

In a separate interview he added, “When I played alongside Alan, he would always guide you, tell you what to do and put you in the right direction.  He would talk to you through the game, talk to you at half time and as you know then I was a young lad and Alan Ball was the best.”

After leaving football he became an HGV driver and subsequently became a transport supervisor for a furniture industry supplier, as well as coaching youngsters as a volunteer.    Trevor added, “We get kids from four up to 16 years old. I have been doing this for 15 years and I have a good rapport with them.

“I have found that if you show them respect, you will get it back. It is very rewarding.”

The Everton fanzine interview quoted above was undertaken in 2013 and ended with this comment.

“I’m going to be a grandad through my daughter. I’m 56 years old, I have a good job which I enjoy. I do a lot of football coaching for kids. I run a Saturday league team who my son plays for.    I’ve also been involved with another set of lads aged16-19 who are a good set of lads who are a decent set of players but would be better if they stayed off the ale but that’s the way it is.”

Here’s his record

Years Team Lge games Goals
1974–1977 Arsenal 58 5
1977–1983 Everton 126 16
1982 Portsmouth loan 5 0
1982 Sheffield United loan 4 0
1983 AEK Athens
1984 Sheffield United 4 0
1984–1987 Bury 98 11
1987 Hyde United 5 0
1987–1988 Altrincham

The history of Arsenal and details of the chronology

3 comments to Trevor Ross: tough player, nice guy (but don’t get on the wrong side of him).

  • john lynch

    I remember Trevor Ross scoring a cracking goal against Sunderland at Roker Park in a 2-2 draw. I think that Malcolm McDonald was our other scorer. I think that Rimmer was in goal and that Stapleton played, having come into the team in place of John Radford.

  • Laurence Roberts

    I loved Trevor Ross when he played for us (Everton) in the ’70’s a great player.

  • Darren Anslow

    Trevor was an idol of mine , as when I was growing up I was a school friend of his younger brother Mark . Looking up his profile we also share the same birthday .

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