Yeovil Town host Mansfield Town this coming Tuesday night and we take a look at a midfielder who has represented both sides.
There are actually relatively few connections between the two sides but we have found a midfielder who spent time at both Huish Park and Field Mill.
Gary Roberts began his career in the much championed Crewe youth development system, as a product of Dario Gradi’s successful youth team he soon became a regular in the first team as the club tried to survive in the Championship.
The Alex failed in that mission, but Roberts was rewarded with a new three-year deal.
During that season in League One, Roberts would play an integral role his appearances produced just three goals however… one of them, against Yeovil.
As the seasons went by, Roberts maintained a high level of consistent performances in a side noted for their excellent disciplinary record.
It wasn’t until the 2007/08 season where the yellow cards crept in on a regular basis for Roberts and the first team opportunities started to dwindle away.
Cardiff City had a six-figure bid knocked back during the summer and he returned to Crewe at the start of the 2008/09 season hoping to return to the starting line up.
Instead, once it became clear he could leave, Russell Slade jumped at the chance to sign him for Yeovil Town.
Initially, on loan – Roberts linked up with the Glovers and his all action style in the heart of midfield soon warmed him to fans.
The temporary deal became permanent when the January transfer window opened, it would be Roberts’ solitary season in Somerset when after being sent off against Cheltenham in April, he wouldn’t return.
He left the club that summer and admitted himself into the Sporting Chance clinic to help with alcohol and gambling issues off the field.
Roberts spent spells on trial with a couple of clubs before he was offered a deal by League Two side Rotherham under Ronnie Moore.
Sadly, as the 2010 season came to an end, he would once again find himself without a club, Rotherham had allowed him to join Port Vale and severed all ties with him.
Roberts admitted that Vale manager Micky Adams was his ‘last chance saloon’ and he responded in kind.
Adams and his new Vale team mates were supportive of him and he earned a contract extension when his initial one had expired.
As 2011 became 2012, with his first team chances limited at Vale Park, he was trying to secure a deal to Tuesday’s opponents Mansfield Town.
His contract was terminated by the Stoke side and he penned an 18-month deal at Field Mill in the Conference.
He helped guide Mansfield into the play offs but they would fall short against York City in the semi-finals, the next season would see injury cut his stay short, with a loan deal coming from an unlikely source.
He moved to Maltese side Floriana for a loan stint and would return to England to find that his contract with the Stags was not being renewed.
He returned to Malta, via a spell in the Welsh Premier League, but in the summer of 2015 he was once again without a club in England.
It was here he would find himself signing for his current club, Whitton Albion in the Northern Premier Leagues.
Roberts was a youngster with bags of talent and a number of England caps at youth level who probably never played at the level his ability deserved, his off the field issues came back to haunt him time and time again and that probably cost him dear.
Two of his former sides meet this coming Tuesday at Huish Park, Yeovil Town host Mansfield Town.
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For details on the work done by the Sporting Chance clinic – click HERE