Ronald Leslie Rooke was born on December 7, 1911 in Guildford, Surrey.
His football career started with his local club Guildford City and he went on to play for Woking (1932–1933), Crystal Palace (1933–1936) & (1949–1950), Fulham (1936–1946), Arsenal (1946–1949) and Bedford Town (1950–1953). He then went to Haywards Heath Town and Addlestone as player manager before returning to Bedford Town (1956-1961).
During WW2 he served as a physical training instructor in the RAF. Rooke played as a centre forward and was a natural goal scorer scoring 170 goals in his 256 appearances (.664 GPG).
Arsenal were bottom of the table at Christmas and having signed Joe Mercer in November, we required some extra firepower up front, too. Rooke was signed in December of 1946 for £1,000 plus two players, Cyril Grant and Dave Nelson. He was the ripe old age of 35 and had never played for a top flight team. He made an immediate impact by scoring the winner on his debut, against Charlton Athletic and by the end of the season had taken his total to 21 goals from 24 league matches (.875 GPG) and helped Arsenal finish in mid-table.
In the first game that I watched at Highbury (Nov 2, 1947) I was fortunate enough to see Rooke play against Huddersfield Town, Arsenal won 2-0 with goals from Ronnie Rooke himself and Jimmy Logie. That season (1947/48) he scored 33 league goals a total that made him that season’s First Division top scorer; in the final game of the season he scored 4 goals in the 8-0 demolition of Grimsby.
As of 2018/19 he retains Arsenal’s all-time record for the most goals scored in a postwar season (33) and helped Arsenal win their sixth League title (1947/48). He finished his career at Arsenal in 1949 having scored 70 goals in only 94 games (.745 GPG)