Alexander Rooney Forbes was born 21 January 1925 in Dundee and started with Dundee North End, before joining Sheffield United 1944, towards the end of the second world war.
Alex Forbes moved to Arsenal for £12,500 in February 1948 having already become a Scottish international.
Arsenal’s first season after the war was George Allison’s final bow for the club, and was a shambles in many ways with 32 players being used – many of whom were clearly at the end of their careers, others being try-outs who didn’t work. Only three players played over 30 games, but under the management of Tom Whittaker the club was revitalised and in 1947/8 Arsenal won the league.
Alex played his first game in a 5-2 home win against Wolverhampton W in front of 58,000 people and went on to replace his friend Macaulay from the Arsenal.
It is said in many reports that Alex got appendicitis part way through the 1948/9 season and didn’t play after getting the illness, but the player lists for the season show that Alex only had two minor stretches where he did not play including from December 11 to February 19 – which is probably the absence due to the operation. He played at number 4, 6 and 10 through the rest of the season.
|Dundee North End|
He won the title with the club in 1947/8 and 1952/3, and the FA Cup in 1950. However in 1955/6 he had knee cartilage problems and he lost his place to Dave Bowen, moving to Leyton Orient at the start of the 1956/7 season before moving on to Fulham and finally and Gravesend & Northfleet.
After that he worked with the coaching team at Arsenal training the reserves and A team, before emigrating to South Africa when he coached school children. He is the last survivor of the 1950 FA Cup team.
There is a short film of the club training, including Alex in this extract.