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A-Z of West Midlands Football

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: August 23, 2014

By Tony Matthews

  • George Shaw

  • Gary Shaw

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CHARLIE SHAW nicknamed 'Shiner', scored 30 goals in only 86 first-class appearances for Walsall between 1885 and 1894. Born in the Black Country town in January 1866, he served the Saddlers through thick and thin and was able to play as a wing-half, inside-forward and centre-forward, often doing battle against much tougher opponents, despite being only 5ft 6ins tall and weighing barely 11 stone. 'Shiner' represented both the Birmingham County and Staffordshire County FA teams and besides being a very good footballer, he also enjoyed cricket and bowls. A harness-maker by trade, he lived in Walsall until his death in May 1942, aged 76.

DAVID SHAW was an incisive goal-scoring inside-forward, born in Huddersfield in October 1948, who joined his home town club, Huddersfield Town, as a junior in 1965. He stayed at Leeds Road until September 1969 when he switched across the Pennines to Oldham Athletic, moving to the Hawthorns in March 1973, signed by manager Don Howe for £77,000. He scored 20 goals in 96 appearances for the Baggies before returning to the Latics in December 1975, after a month on loan at Boundary Park.

Forced to retire through injury in January 1978, David became a publican in Oldham and later worked in a factory in Huddersfield. Besides being a decent footballer, he was also a very useful cricketer who played a few games with me in West Bromwich Dartmouth's third team. His football career realised 109 goals in 319 League appearances.

GARY SHAW scored 80 goals in 212 competitive games for Aston Villa. Born in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, in January 1961, he was at Villa Park from July 1977 until May 1988 when he joined BK Copenhagen, following a loan spell with Blackpool. A sharp and keen inside-forward, he played alongside Peter Withe when Villa won the First Division title in 1981 and the European Cup and Super Cup a year later. Voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1981, Gary gained nine Youth and seven U21 caps for England. He went on to play for FC Klagenfurt in Austria, Sheffield Wednesday (on loan), Walsall (February-May 1990 – making nine appearances and netting three goals), Kilmarnock (briefly), Shrewsbury Town and Ernst Borel FC (Hong Kong) before retiring in 1992 when he returned to Birmingham to work as a summariser on local radio.

GEORGE SHAW won the FA Cup with West Bromwich Albion in 1931, the same year the Baggies completed the unique double by also gaining promotion from the Second Division. He also played in the losing cup final of 1935 and won an England cap versus Scotland at Wembley in 1932. An exquisite full-back, strong-kicking, George was born in Swinton in October 1899 and signed professional forms for Doncaster Rovers in August 1919. Nicknamed 'Cocky', 'Singer' and 'Teapot' (the latter because he was the best tea-maker in the dressing room) he moved to Gillingham in March 1920, returned to Doncaster two years later before switching to Huddersfield Town for £1,000 in February 1924. After helping the Terriers win the First Division championship three seasons in succession, he was signed by Albion for a then club record fee of £4,100. George went on to make 425 senior appearances for the Baggies, scoring 11 goals, and he also ventured on two FA tours (to France/Spain in 1929 and Canada in 1931). On leaving the Hawthorns in May 1938, he took over as player-manager of Spennymoor United, taking charge of Worcester City in the same capacity in March 1939, before bossing the Maltese club, FC Floriana for three seasons: 1948-51. Indeed, he brought his Malta team over to England to play Albion in a Festival of Britain game at the Hawthorns in 1951. After pulling out of football, George was employed at Hamworth Colliery near Doncaster, the town where he died in March 1973.

HARRY SHAW was yet another fine full-back who made 249 appearances for Wolves between June 1923 and February 1930. Born in Hednesford in May 1905, Harry played for the Pitmen for three years before moving to Molineux. Described as being a 'stylist of the first water' he helped Wolves win the Third Division (N) title in 1924 before Major Frank Buckley sold him to Sunderland for £7,000. He went on to win the League title with the Wearsiders (1935-36) and retired two years later after 217 games for the Roker Park club. A keen golfer and member of the South Staffs and Penn clubs, Harry also worked as an engineer's fitter at Cannock Colliery. He died in Staffordshire in June 1984.

RAY SHAW was a useful wing-half (basically a reserve) who made 13 first-team appearances and a further 111 during WWII for Birmingham in ten years: 1937-47. Born in Walsall in May 1913, he was initially an amateur with the Saddlers and also played for Darlaston before moving to St Andrew's. On retiring, albeit through injury, at the age of 34, Ray became a coach with Blues and later managed Walsall, from October 1964 to March 1968. He died in August 2010.

PETER SHEARER netted 13 goals in 38 appearances as a striker for Birmingham City whom he served in two spells: June 1983 to July 1986 and from January 1994 to June 1995. Born in Birmingham in February 1967, Peter also played for Coventry City (as a junior), Rochdale, Nuneaton Borough, Cheltenham Town, AFC Bournemouth, Coventry City (on trial) and Dundee United (also on trial). He helped Blues win the Second Division title and Auto-Windscreen Shield under manager Barry Fry in 1995 and gained England semi-professional honours in between his two spells at St Andrew's. Unfortunately, injuries interrupted his career several times and he was often in trouble with referees!

BEN SHEARMAN was a key member of Albion's first team from June 1911 until July 1919, during which time he scored 18 goals in 143 appearances, helping the Baggies reach the 1912 FA Cup final beaten in a replay by Barnsley. Born in Lincoln in December 1884, Ben was a fast-raiding, clever outside-left, who played for Worksop Town, Rotherham Town and Bristol City before spending eight years at the Hawthorns. On leaving the Baggies, he joined Nottingham Forest (for £250) and later assisted Gainsborough Trinity and Norton Woodseats, the latter as player-trainer-coach, before retiring in May 1938. He became an insurance agent after WWII and died in Gainsborough in October 1958. Ben had served with the Army at the Rammilles Barracks in Aldershot during WWI.

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