1968 Bob Ledger Stags player
1968 Bob Ledger Stags player

Today’s ex-Mansfield Town player in our Friday’s Former Stag series is one of the members of the famous 1969 FA Cup giantkilling side.

Muscular forward Bob Ledger, renowned by Stags fans for his commitment on the pitch, was one of the men who helped beat West Ham United 3-0 in the FA Cup Fifth Round in 1969.

West Ham United were a major power in the First Division — the first tier of English Football at that time — and featured three members of the England World Cup winning side three years earlier, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters, not to mention Harry Redknapp and Trevor Brooking.

But Ledger’s presence helped to set up goals for Dudley Roberts, Ray Keeley and Nick Sharkey as the Stags ripped up the form book on a memorable night under the floodlights at Field Mill, watched by more than 21,000 fans.

Ledger, who played a total of 59 matches for Mansfield and scored 18 goals, played a big part in that FA Cup run that took the side to the quarter-finals in the1968/69 season.

He scored three goals during the FA Cup run, the first two helping to defeat Tow Law Town 4-1 in the first round. He also netted the only goal of the second round replay that knocked out Rotherham United to set up a third round tie with Sheffield United.

The famous win over West Ham’s all-stars was Mansfield’s first win over a Division One side since the club’s admission to the Football League in 1931.

Ledger began his career with Huddersfield Town as a youngster in 1954, where he was a contemporary of Shirebrook-born World Cup winner Ray Wilson and Denis Law. 

He scored his first senior goal in a famous game with Charlton Athletic at The Valley when, after leading 5-1 with 62 minutes played, the Terriers were beaten 7-6. 

Ledger made 70 appearances in six seasons at Leeds Road before going to Oldham Athletic.

He became more known as a target man rather than on the wing, where he played at Huddersfield.

After around 250 games and 37 goals at Oldham, he arrived at Mansfield as a 30-year-old just before Christmas in 1967, making his debut against Scunthorpe United on 23rd December.

The transfer fee was reported to be £2,500.

Ledger was one of manager Tommy Eggleston’s first signings, but he stayed less than two years.

In October 1969, Ledger left for his more-favoured north-west of the country and joined Barrow.

He netted 19 goals for the Stags in 65 appearances.

Ledger, who also played as a defender at times, was used as an emergency keeper, too, when the regular shot-stoppers were injured during matches.