Local Born Heroes - Roger Fry
Tuesday, 7th Jun 2011 09:11
A look at a left back from the early 70's
When I started watching Saints almost 40 years ago Roger Fry was the left back in the line up as a young kid I assumed that Roger was the regular choice for that spot and even 40 years on I was surprised to see just how short Roger's first team career actually was at the Dell.
Fry was missed by the club playing for Southampton Schools and thus didnt go through the apprentice ranks, he was spotted playing for Vosper Thorneycroft and signed as an amateur initially in the summer of 66 and then professional in the Autumn of 67 at the age of 19.
As a left back though he had a lot of traffic in front of him, mainly Denis Hollywood, but even Tony Byrne, Ken Jones and not to mention the youth coming through, he therefore had to wait till the final game of 1970/71 for his first team debut having an easy time of it as Saints disposed of Palace 6-0.
The following season saw him play the bulk of the games at left back in the first 2/3 of the season and at 23 it looked like he had finally arrived, but his first team career was over almost as soon as it had started, after our infamous 7-0 drubbing at leeds, Fry was one of the scapegoats and he found himself dropped and would not make another appearance in the first team again.
With the departure of Denis Hollywood at the end of that season, he probably thought that he would get another chance, but in the summe rof 1972 , Ted Bates signed Francis Burns from Man Utd, Burns never settled but when he was dropped it was not to Fry that Bates turned but Joe Kirkup who at 33 was hardly the future.
But the future had been sighted and it was called Steve Mills, sadly the future would also have a tragic ending for Mills, but the writing was on the wall and Roger signed for Walsall where in four seasons he played 120 games for the Saddlers.
In 1977 still short of his 29 th birthday he left the midlands and returned to Southampton to work at Aerostructures and play part time for Salisbury City for a few years before retiring from even the semi pro game and playing local football for a number of years.
He still continues to live in the area and often still goes to St mary's to see the team play.
The surprise was that his Saints career was so short, 23 league games, 2 in the FA Cup and 1 in the league cup, 26 in total.
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Photo: Action Images
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