Date and Place of Birth
27th May 1932 - CROOK
died 4th February 2000
Transfers to and from Burnley
junior then pro - June 1949
to ROTHERHAM UNITED - September 1956
First and Last Burnley Games
LIVERPOOL (a) - 10th April 1950
PORTSMOUTH (a) - 3rd March 1956
ROTHERHAM UNITED, BLACKBURN ROVERS,
LEICESTER CITY, IPSWICH TOWN
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
Having played for Burnley during the first half of the 1950s before leaving for Rotherham, Roy Stephenson could have been forgiven for believing his best days as a footballer might well be over in terms of playing in the First Division, but how wrong would he have been as he went on to emulate some of his Burnley team mates by winning a championship medal.
Stephenson was yet another young footballer to arrive at Turf Moor from the North East of the country. He was from Crook and playing for Crook Colliery Welfare when recommended to Burnley in the last 1940s.
After a successful trial, he was offered and signed a professional contract in June 1949 just after his 17th birthday and had less than a year to wait for a first team debut.
A pacy winger, he got his chance in the number 7 shirt at Liverpool in April 1950 and took it, providing the cross from which Alf Clarke scored to give us a 1-0 win. He kept his place for the remaining three games but for the next three years he remained in the shadow of Jackie Chew who was very much the first choice outside-right.
By the end of the 1953/54 season, Chew's time at Burnley was coming to an end. Stephenson ended the season in the team but then saw the club sign Billy Gray from Chelsea ahead of the next season.
But that led to Stephenson's best season for the Clarets. He played in over half of the league games in the 1954/54 season but mainly at inside-right. He had a good season too, scoring ten goals in 22 appearances.
During that season he attracted the attention of the England selectors and was invited to play in a trial match for the under-23s at Highbury. It led to nothing and he never received any international call up.
It was back to Burnley but any hopes of landing a regular place were soon dismissed and he played only occasionally in the next season and when we kicked off the 1956/57 season with him out of the side it was time to move on.
His last game for Burnley had come at Portsmouth in March 1956. He certainly had a good goalscoring record for a player who played either on the wing or the inside forward positions but when he left it was down to the Second Division with Rotherham.
He was there for just over a year before returning to Lancashire with Blackburn where he was an influential figure in their promotion back to the First Division in 1958, a season in which he also helped them to the semi-final of the FA Cup.
Back in the top flight, he settled in well but scored just one goal in the 1958/59 season for Blackburn and that came in a 4-1 win against Burnley at Ewood in March 1959. It was not just his last Blackburn goal but his last Blackburn game. He was sold to Leicester for £8,000.
After just over a year at Leicester, during which he played just twelve times and scored only once, he was signed by Second Division Ipswich in the summer of 1960, just as his first club Burnley had landed the title. The next two seasons would be the best in Stephenson's career for a player now aged 28.
He was used exclusively as a right winger by Alf Ramsey at Portman Road as the Suffolk club enjoyed an amazing two seasons. With a pairing up front of Ray Crawford and Ted Phillips, Stephenson was the perfect player to be on the wing with his pace, direct style and crossing ability.
In his first season at Ipswich they won the Second Division. The team scored 100 league goals with 70 of those coming from the two forwards, many of them from Stephenson crosses.
It had taken them into the top flight for the first time and, in a season where we simply blew the title in the run in, they became champions of England, beating us to that title by three points.
Stephenson had repeated his Blackburn goal by scoring his first top flight goal for Ipswich against us in a game they won 6-2 down at Portman Road. Again they were prolific, scoring 93 goals which was bettered only by the 101 we scored. Stephenson missed just one game in that season.
There was to be no continuation of this sort of form for Ipswich. Stephenson scored their goal in the Charity Shied but they were beaten 5-1 at home by Spurs. They ended the next season in 17th place and two years after winning the league they were soundly relegated in bottom position.
Stephenson had one more season with Ipswich back in the Second Division but played his last game in December 1964. He left in the following summer and played non-league football for Lowestoft before retiring from the game.
He continued to live in Suffolk for the remainder of his life before sadly passing away in February 2000 at the age of 67.
In 2009, posthumously, he was one of five players inducted into Ipswich's Hall of Fame alongside Billy Baxter, a team mate in that team of the early 60s, George Burley, Allan Hunter and Arnold Muhren.
Roy Stephenson is remembered with some affection by Burnley supporters of that era. He had a never-say-die attitude and his pace was always a real threat, particularly when he played on the wing.
In some ways he was probably at the club at the wrong time in that we had so many good players meaning he was never able to establish himself as a first team regular.
Remembered with some affection at Burnley, but recognised as one of Ipswich's top players of that team of the early 1960s.