The son of a Maidstone town councillor, Bob Beale joined the Albion from Maidstone United as a promising young goalkeeper during the summer of 1905 and stayed for three seasons, but he made only 21 first-team appearances, being deprived of a more regular place by the excellence of, firstly, Mark Mellors and then Hugh MacDonald. Undeterred, he left the Goldstone and went on to become a custodian of the highest class himself.
Bob departed for Norwich in May 1908 and gave the Norfolk club fine service for four years, making 105 Southern League appearances. In May 1912 he joined Manchester United for a £275 fee and was a regular in their First Division side until the outbreak of war, totalling 112 League and Cup matches. He was also selected to represent the Football League v. Scottish League at Hampden Park in March 1913, and played for The North v. England in the international trial match at Roker Park in January 1914.
After guesting for Arsenal in their first wartime campaign, Bob joined Southern League side Gillingham in July 1919 before returning to Maidstone United in the Kent League for two seasons 1920-22, but his Football League registration was retained by Manchester United and he occasionally assisted their reserve team until 1921, travelling north from his Maidstone home.
His son Walter, also a goalkeeper, played for Tunbridge Wells Rangers against the Albion in the F.A. Cup in 1937, and was on Manchester United’s books in 1938-39.
Bob appeared for the Seagulls 21 times between 1905 and 1908.