Back in 1921, Arsenal spent £5 on the signature of goalkeeper John Hardy “Jock” Robson, making him the club’s smallest ever ‘keeper.
Standing at 5’8″, Robson was only an inch taller than Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean is one of the shorter players even in the current Arsenal team, and would be the only player shorter than Robson if Jock was in the starting eleven at the weekend.
However, bordertelegraph.com write that he found his way into the team anyway, despite competing with two taller goalkeepers. After a year of fighting for a place he finally got picked for a start in his first full season in 1922/23, and went on to make 20 appearances keeping 12 clean sheets.
You’d never expect to see the same thing at Arsenal again today. David Ospina just about stands at 6 foot tall (according to Wikipedia anyway), but the Colombian is constantly berated for his lack of height, and whenever he concedes a goal people say that a taller ‘keeper like Čech would’ve got to it. When they’ve stopped cursing at him, of course.
Knock another four or five inches off David’s height and you’d have Jock Robson, who made over 100 appearances for the Gunners in the end. I can’t imagine the fan reaction to a similar signing today, but clearly it worked, at least for that first year or two.
After that, other new signings started to take over from him, and by 1925 he’d made his final first-team appearance, but not before he’d written his name in the Arsenal history books. Robson went on to play for Bournemouth and Montrose before his eventual retirement.