Left back Roger DeVries was born in Willerby on the western fringes of Hull and came through the Tigers’ schoolboy systems in the mid-1960s, signing his first professional contract in September 1967. Roger remained in the Reserves for three years as the tenure of Cliff Britton wound down and City established themselves as a Second Division side, Londoner Dennis Butler and Scotsman Don Beardsley sharing the first team left back duties.
In the summer of 1970 new management arrived at Boothferry Park in the shape of former Arsenal captain Terry Neill and the player-manager took an immediate shine to DeVries, relegating Beardsley to the supporting cast and thrusting Roger into the limelight. This began a ten year spell during which DeVries was almost always regarded as City’s first choice left back, performing consistently well in a side that initially challenged for promotion to the First Division under Neill, then slowly faded to a mid-table side under John Kaye’s tenure before crashing out to the division in 1978 when Bobby Collins and Ken Houghton both failed to halt a slide in form. Four managers all placed their trust in Roger DeVries and while the odd clearance may have careered into the back row of the West Stand seats rather than down the touchline, DeVries was a steadying presence and a reliable defender that few wingers bested.
In the 1970/71 season DeVries missed only one game between his Watney Cup debut and the March 1971 defeat against Oxford that halted City’s progress up the Second Division table. Returning at the start of the 1971/72 season, a short return to the first team for Don Beardsley in late September lasted only a month and Roger was once again a first team fixture. The reverse happened in the 1972/73 season as Beardsley started the majority of matches and DeVries was reduced to a supporting role, but in the 1973 close season Beardsley was traded to Grimsby Town and DeVries was City’s undisputed first choice left back for the next seven seasons.
DeVries scored his only goal for the Tigers in October 1973, a long distance drive to open the scoring in a League Cup tie against Leicester City. He missed 11 of the 52 fixtures played in the 1973/74 season, midfielder Jimmy McGill deputising at left back in all of those games. During the early weeks of the 1974/75 season experienced half back John Kaye took over as manager from Terry Neill, who departed for the Tottenham Hotspur job, and only an injury on Boxing Day 1974 halted Roger’s season, another promising local product Peter Daniel filling in on the left. Restored at the start of the 1975/76 season, DeVries missed only six games as he formed a full back partnership with Daniel that endured for three seasons until the right back was sold to Wolves. DeVries continued to serve the Tigers after relegation in May 1978, providing an experienced voice in a new City squad that manager Ken Houghton assembled in the Third Division. Injury denied Roger game-time in the latter months of the 1978/79 season however he returned for the 1979/80 season and played the majority of games at left back, also filling in a few times in the City midfield. It was a surprise when DeVries was given a free transfer in the 1980 close season, drawing to an end a decade of service for the Tigers in a team that hit few heights after Neill’s first season in charge but always benefitted from defensive solidity.
In June 1980 DeVries joined Second Division side Blackburn Rovers, he played 19 times for the Lancastrian side though he lost his regular first team shirt from mid-October onwards. He left Blackburn in the 1981 close season and had a one month trial spell at Scunthorpe United, starting six matches and scoring the second and final goal of his professional career in the 385th of his 387 senior appearances, a 1-2 defeat against Wigan Athletic. In November 1981 DeVries hung up his boots and commenced a second career as a primary school teacher in Hull.
Date/Place of Birth: 25 October 1950, Hull
Hull City First Game: 1 August 1970, Peterborough United A (Watney Cup First Round), 19 years, 280 days old
Hull City Final Game: 19 April 1980, Wimbledon A (Division Three), 29 years, 177 days old
Hull City (1967-1980), Blackburn Rovers (1980-1981), Scunthorpe United (1981)
Hull City Record
Career: 362 apps, 1 goalsRoger DeVries
|1970/71||32 (0)||0||4 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|1971/72||36 (1)||0||3 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1972/73||13 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1973/74||34 (2)||0||-||-||3 (0)||1||-||-||3 (0)||0|
|1974/75||24 (1)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1975/76||38 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||3 (0)||0||-||-||3 (0)||0|
|1976/77||37 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|1977/78||37 (0)||0||-||-||3 (0)||0||-||-||3 (0)||0|
|1978/79||29 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||3 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|