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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: August 17, 2014

By Tony Matthews

Wolves' Bernard Shaw

Wolves' Bernard Shaw

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Correction: JACK ROWLEY A typing error on my part … Jack did score 211 goals (not 20) in 422 games for Manchester United plus another 100 in 79 World War Two matches. Making it a grand and healthy total of 311 goals in 501 first team matches for the Reds during his 18 years at Old Trafford.

(In answer to Colin Brownhill's email letter on page 8 of edition 1141 of the Bugle)

JACK SHARP, Bert's younger brother, was born in Hereford in February 1878. He was an outside-right who also played for Hereford Thistle before joining Aston Villa in April 1897.

He went on to score 15 goals in only 24 first-class games in the claret and blue strip before he also transferred to Everton in August 1899.

After netting 80 goals in 342 appearances for the Merseyside club (playing in successive FA Cup finals in the process, 1906 and 1907) Jack also became a wealthy businessman in Liverpool (owning a string of sports shops) and he too became an Everton director, later taking over as the club's Chairman.

A super cricketer just like his kid brother, Jack played in three Test matches for England and scored a century against Australia at The Oval in 1909.

He spent 26 years with Lancashire (1899-1926) during which time he amassed 22,700 runs, struck 38 centuries, and took 440 wickets while also claiming 223 catches. Jack died in Wavertree, Liverpool in January 1938.

BRIAN SHARPLES was a very efficient defender who made 72 appearances for Birmingham City whom he served between 1959 and 1968.

Born in Bradford in September 1944, he was brought up in Coventry and had a trial at Highfield Road before signing for Blues.

He left St Andrew's for Exeter City and after retiring in May 1971 he started his own shoe business in Bristol. His sister played county netball for Warwickshire and his father was a champion sprinter in Yorkshire. Brian is a distant relative of the former Manchester City and England player, Sam Cowan.

JOHN SHARPLES made 13 appearances as a defender for Aston Villa in the 1950s. Born in Heath Town, Wolverhampton in August 1934, he was an amateur with Walsall before moving to Villa Park in May 1953.

Six years later, after failing to hold down a regular first team place, he was transferred back to Walsall (August 1959) and after 132 games for the Saddlers in five years up to 1964, he wound down his career with spells at Darlaston and Hednesford Town, retiring in 1970, aged 36. He twice helped Walsall win promotion.

BERNARD SHAW was a very capable, clean-kicking full-back who scored twice in 156 League and Cup appearances for Wolves, whom he served from July 1969 until June 1973.

A Yorkshireman, born in Sheffield in March 1945, Bernard played for his home town club Sheffield United before moving to Molineux, making 134 League appearances for the Blades. He then returned to the Steel City upon leaving Wolves, signing for Sheffield Wednesday for whom he played until May 1976.

Capped by England at Youth and U23 levels, Bernard played for Wolves against Tottenham Hotspur in the 1972 UEFA Cup final which the Londoners won on aggregate. His brothers Graham and Joe Shaw both played for Sheffield United, Graham also being a full-back.

CECIL SHAW was also a resilient, hard-tackling full-back with Wolves as well as West Bromwich Albion.

Born in Mansfield in June 1911, he played for several non-League clubs in the Nottinghamshire area before signing professional forms at Molineux in February 1930.

Cecil went on to make 183 appearances for Wolves, having one unbeaten run of 121 games in the League side. He helped the Wanderers win the Second Division Championship in 1932 and was associated with the club until December 1936 when he moved to The Hawthorns for £7,500.

Cecil never missed a penalty for Wolves (scoring eight out of eight) but he fluffed his first spot-kick for Albion, in a 3-2 FA Cup away victory over Coventry City early in 1937.

He went on to amass 127 senior appearances for the Baggies (251 including wartime matches) and played as a guest for Blackpool and Nottingham Forest during the hostilities (1939-45).

He also represented the Football League and was named as an England reserve several times.

Cecil left Albion in June 1947 for Hereford United and three years later retired to take up refereeing in the Oldbury & District League. Cecil, who was a good friend of mine, also acted as a regional scout for Albion (1961-64) and played a lot of club cricket.

He died in Handsworth, Birmingham in January 1977.

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