|Full name||Robert James Hatton|
|Date of birth||10 April 1947|
|Place of birth||Hull, England|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Robert James Hatton (born 10 April 1947 in Hull) is an English former association footballer who played as a centre forward. He played more than 600 matches in the Football League for a variety of clubs and scored at a rate better than one goal in every three matches.
Wolverhampton Wanderers recognised his potential and invited him across to the Midlands for a trial period. His stay at Molineux was short as Bolton Wanderers stepped in with a definite contract offer, and Hatton realised that the chance of security was not one to be missed. From Bolton Wanderers he moved to Northampton Town, but never really settled in a struggling team. The inevitable drop to Division Four in the 1968–69 season could not be avoided and many of the squad were tempted by better offers, Hatton being one of them.
Carlisle United at the time were a steady, mid-table outfit and manager Bob Stokoe was always on the look-out for a sharp deal that could help to take the club onwards and upwards. He offered Northampton Town a reported £8,000 for Hatton early in July (though this figure may well have been higher) and signed Hatton on a two-year deal.
Hatton began his Carlisle United career playing alongside Hugh McIlmoyle, but was soon thrown in at the deep end when the Scot moved to Middlesbrough. His first two goals came against Hull City in a 2–1 win on 6 September 1969, and he went on to make 50 appearances, scoring 14 goals along the way. He finished as the club's top scorer.
In 1970–71 he made 46 appearances and scored 24 goals.
Hatton signed a new contract in the summer of 1970. What no-one had realised, though, was that it had a release clause included. After just 15 games of the 1971–72 season, Birmingham City made a successful bid of £80,000, a Carlisle club-record fee. He scored 9 more goals for Carlisle before his move, and notched a goal in the 2–0 away win in his final game for the club, at Luton Town on 23 October 1971.
Played a major part in Birmingham City's promotion to the top flight in the 1971–72 season partnering Trevor Francis and Bob Latchford. Hatton scored the only goal in the 1975 F.A Cup Quarter Final win over Middlesbrough in front of over 53,000 fans and played in Division One till 1976.
This was then followed by a move to Luton Town in the summer of 1978, where he spent two years, then a further two years with Sheffield United. Hatton's successful striking partnership with Keith Edwards was one of the main reasons why Sheffield United achieved promotion back up from the Fourth Division at the first attempt in 1981–82. Hatton had a one-year spell at Cardiff City, signed by Len Ashurst, before signing for John Dempsey at Dundalk F.C. in January 1984 for their upcoming FAI Cup campaign. However, despite making his debut in the Cup game on 5 February Dundalk were knocked out and so Hatton's career was at an end.
- Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-85983-010-9.
- Gillatt, Peter (30 November 2009). Blackpool FC on This Day: History, Facts and Figures from Every Day of the Year. Pitch Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-905411-50-4.
- https://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/archive/1984/0120/Pg003.html[bare URL]
- Hatton's league statistics at Neil Brown's Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Transfer Database