Roberts, Frederick Charles (‘Fred’) (1905–88), soccer player, was born 2 January 1905 in Montrose Place, Belfast, son of Frederick Charles Roberts snr, boilermaker, and Agnes Roberts (née Parker). Although he lived in Ballymacarrett, the heartland of Glentoran football club in east Belfast, it was with Newington Rangers of Larne that he first came to prominence. Initially a full-back, by an inspired switch to centre-forward he went on to become one of the most prolific goal-scorers ever seen in first-class football. In four seasons with Newington he scored over 200 goals, and later had short periods with Belfast Celtic and Portadown, finally turning professional with Queens Island, winning a City Cup medal with the club before it dropped out of senior football. He returned to junior football and played for Northern Ireland at junior level against Wales. In 1928 he signed for his local team, Glentoran, and in five seasons with ‘the Glens’ he proceeded to set goal-scoring records that will, in all likelihood, never be repeated. He scored the winner on his debut for the club against Newry and went on to score another sixty-five goals that season. The following season, 1929/30, he scored a further fifty-seven goals to prove that the first season was no fluke. His greatest season, however, was 1930/31, when he helped to blast Glentoran to the Irish League title, scoring fifty-five league goals and another forty-one in various other competitions, ending the season with a staggering ninety-six goals from just forty-seven appearances (107 goals if friendly matches are included). His total eclipsed the ninety-four goals that Joe Bambrick (qv) had scored in a Linfield shirt the previous season. The following two seasons, 1931/2 and 1932/3, he scored a total of 113 goals as Glentoran won the Irish Cup in successive years, beating Linfield and Distillery respectively, with Roberts scoring a vital last-minute equaliser to force a replay in the first of three games against the latter in the 1933 Irish Cup final.
Released by Glentoran at the end of the 1933 season, he signed for Distillery, and later spent some time with Ards, Glenavon, Carrick Rangers, Dundela, and Ballymena United before retiring in 1937. In five seasons with Glentoran he scored 332 competitive goals – an average of sixty-six a season – in just 214 appearances, putting him second in Glentoran's all-time scoring list behind Trevor Thompson's 375 goals scored over twelve years (1956–68). He only made one international appearance for Northern Ireland, when he was selected at centre-forward against Scotland in a game played at Windsor Park, Belfast (1931). The game ended scoreless, with a timely interception by Scotland goalkeeper John Thompson denying Roberts a debut goal. After his playing career was over, he helped to look after Glentoran's second team, and towards the end of his life was made a life member of the club in recognition of his services.
At 6 ft 1 in. (1.85 m), he was particularly strong in the air, and scored many of his goals with his head. He had a small bald patch at the top of his forehead, supposedly from constant contact with the ball, and crosses seemed to find his head as if it were a magnet. Such was his ability in the air that in February 1932 a game against Ards had to be abandoned when the opposing goalkeeper collided with, and broke, a goalpost while trying to get behind one of his headers. His 1930/31 goal-scoring record is the highest total ever in first-class football in Britain or Ireland. A shipyard foreman, he and his wife May had two children. He died 3 October 1988 in Belfast and is buried in Comber new cemetery.