Whatever happened to Don Rogers?
Considered one of the greatest players ever to pull on a Swindon Town shirt, it’s no surprise that Don Rogers has a stand named in his honour at the County Ground.
If signing for the club just under the noses of local rivals Bristol City didn’t endear him enough to supporters, then scoring the winning goal in a League Cup final saw the exciting winger elevated to God-like status amongst the Robins faithful.
Joining Swindon on a youth contract as a 15-year-old in 1961, Rogers made his debut a year later and eventually went on to clock up 490 appearances and score 181 goals over two separate spells at the club.
By the 1965/66 season he had become a regular in the Robins first team and topped the scoring charts for three years in a row to cement his place as an integral figure for the club.
But it was in 1969 League Cup final that his finest hour arrived as he single handedly took Arsenal apart with a virtuoso display. With the game poised at 1-1 and in the midst of a tense extra time period, Rogers took advantage of a loose ball to fire home and hand Swindon a deserved 104th minute lead.
Five minutes later he sealed an extraordinary victory, springing a rapid counter attack and running unopposed towards the Gunners goal before rounding Bob Wilson and slotting into an empty net.
His performance that day attracted interest from clubs higher up the English football pyramid and just three short years later he was signed by Crystal Palace for £147,000. A mixed two-year spell at Selhurst Park was followed by a move to Queens Park Rangers that saw a certain Terry Venables and Ian Evans move in the opposite direction.
But by 1976 Rogers was back at Swindon, after making only 18 appearances for the Rs, but his stay didn’t last long and in November of that year he signed for then non-league outfit Yeovil Town on loan.
Two months later he returned to the Robins but retired in 1977 after suffering a hip injury that robbed him of the rubber like flexibility that allowed him to slip past defenders.
After hanging up his boots Rogers went into the shop business opening a store in Swindon called ‘Don Rogers Sports’ supplying trophies and team wear to hundreds of sports clubs during the last 40 years.
A brief flirtation with management saw Rogers take over at Hellenic Football League side Lambourn Sports in the 1990s and guide them to the promotion.
He is currently president of the North Wiltshire Youth League team and manages a team called Shaw Under-14s. In March 2008 his loyal service to the club was recognised as the East Stand at the County Ground was renamed the Don Rogers Stand.