Shankly Jimmy Image 1 Southend United 1931

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Shankly Jimmy Image 1 Southend United 1931


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Glenbuck, Ayrshire born centre forward Jimmy Shankly began his football career with Glenbuck Cherrypickers in 1921, and played for Bedlington United in 1922 before spending 1922-23 on the books of Portsmouth, without making their first eleven. He played for Guildford United in 1923 before joining Third Division (North) club Halifax Town in June 1924, making his Football League debut at Grimsby Town that October, scoring twice in 8 appearances for Halifax before returning to non league football with Nuneaton Town in 1925.

It was while at Nuneaton that he was spotted by nearby Coventry City, and he joined them in February 1926, scoring twice in appearances for them before the end of the season. But he returned to non league football over the summer, joining Carlisle United. In October 1926 he was signed by First Division Sheffield United, where he played 7 times over his two seasons at Bramall Lane before a move to Southend United in June 1928.

He soon became a favourite at Southend, scoring 35 goals in 40 appearances in 1928-29, including hat-tricks against Norwich City and Walsall. He scored 4 goals in a 5-2 win at Queen’s Park Rangers in February 1930 and five goals in a 6-0 win over Merthyr Town the next month. He was a prolific goalscorer again in 1930-31 with 28 goals in 42 appearances including hat-tricks against Torquay United and Bristol Rovers.

It was while at The Kursaal that he got to play at Wembley Stadium in unusual circumstances. Their away fixture at Clapton Orient’s Lea Bridge Road stadium was moved to Wembley Stadium as Orient’s ground had been closed following a bad injury to a Torquay United player resulting from the close proximity of the pitch barrier to the playing surface. While remedial work was carried out the East Londoners were forced to hire the Empire Stadium in order to stage two home games. The first resulted in an easy 3-0 win over Brentford in front of a healthy 8,000 plus crowd. However, the visit of Southend United attracted a crowd of only 1,916 (which must have looked very odd in vast stadium with a then capacity of 100,000) and Shankly played in a 3-1 defeat by Clapton Orient, albeit in a Third Division (South) fixture on 6th December 1930.

In 1931-32 he scored 20 goals in the campaign as Southend finished third in the League, including a hat-trick in a 4-2 win at Clapton Orient (Lea Bridge Road this time), and he played one more season for Southend before joining Barrow in May 1933 after exactly 100 goals in 152 appearances for The Shrimpers. It was at Barrow that he had his career best season, being ever present in 1933-34 and scoring 41 goals, including hat-tricks against Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup, Chester and Wrexham in the League, and 5 goals in a 12-1 win over Gateshead in May 1934, Barrow’s record League victory. He had a further season at Holker Street before re-joining now League club Carlisle United in August 1935 after 50 goals in 83 appearances. 1935-36 proved his final season, scoring 3 goals in 6 matches in the early autumn for The Cumbrians before retiring (possibly through injury).

Shankly’s brothers Alec, Bill, John and Bob all became footballers, and Bill became a legendary football manager with Liverpool after a successful playing career with most notably Preston North End.

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