- Published December 7, 2022
Francis Joseph, who has died at the tragically early age of just 62, played for a total of 20 Football League and non-league clubs during a career which stretched over 15 years. After becoming the first black player to represent Wimbledon, he moved to Brentford where he enjoyed most success scoring 44 goals in 103 Football League starts.
He was signed by Ian Branfoot for Reading in July 1987 for a reported fee of £20,000 and made his debut as a subtitute away to Leeds United in a 0-0 draw on August 22nd. He stayed in the first team squad for the first half of the season, used mainly as a substitute, but scoring well taken goals in wins against Shrewsbury Town (1-0) and Oldham Athletic (3-0). However the move to Reading was not a success and after a total of just 6 first team starts plus 7 appearances as substitute, he was released at the end of the 1987-88 season.
He had loan spells with Bristol Rovers and Aldershot during his time at Elm Park, but joined Sheffield United on a free transfer in July 1988. At his best he was a speedy striker who could convert half-chances, and he later enjoyed Football League success with Gillingham, Crewe Alexandra and Fulham. He played in Belgium for a brief period before returning to England and a series of non-leauge clubs. His last appointment in football came in 2000 as youth team coach at Wealdstone FC.