Great Lever, Lancashire born centre forward Albert Shepherd began his football career in Bolton junior football with junior teams St Mark’s in 1900 and Bolton Temperance in 1901 before joining First Division Bolton Wanderers as an amateur, without making their first eleven. He spent 1902-03 as an amateur with Blackburn Rovers again without making their first team, and after a spell in 1903 with Lancashire Combination club Bolton St Luke’s, he re-joined Bolton Wanderers, by then in the Second Division, turning professional in September 1904. He made his Football League debut against Gainsborough Trinity in November the same year, and scored 17 goals in his debut season, helping Bolton to promotion back to the top flight as Second Division runners up.
He was the top scorer in the First Division in the 1905-1906 with 26 goals, scoring 4 goals against Nottingham Forest and Sunderland. He also scored 4 goals on his debut for The Football League against The Scottish League in a 6-2 victory at Stamford Bridge in March 1906, the first of two inter league caps, and won his first full England cap when he played in a 2-1 defeat to Scotland at Hampden Park in April 1906, scoring England’s goal.
After two 6th placed finishes Bolton were relegated in 1907-08 despite 25 League goals from Shepherd in 29 games, and in November 1908, after 90 goals in 123 appearances for The Trotters, he was signed by Newcastle United for £1,650, scoring 15 goals over the remainder of the campaign as Newcastle won the League Championship. He also played in their 1909 FA Cup semi final team that lost to eventual winners Manchester United 1-0 at Bramall Lane. In 1909-10 he top scored for Newcastle with 31 goals in all competitions but they couldn’t retain the Championship, finishing fourth. They did however reach the FA Cup Final, where they beat Second Division Barnsley 2-0 in a replay with Shepherd scoring both goals in the second half at Goodison Park, the second a penalty.
He was again the leading scorer in the First Division in 1910-1911 with 25 goals, 33 in all competitions, including 4 goals in a match twice against Liverpool and Preston, as Newcastle again went to the 1911 FA Cup Final, only to lose 1-0 to Bradford City at The Crystal Palace. He was recalled to the England team for his second and final cap on 11th February 1911, scoring in a 2-1 victory over Ireland at The Baseball Ground, Derby. He played again for The Football League the next month in a 1-1 draw against The Scottish League in Glasgow. However at the height of his powers, he was seriously injured just before the 1911 Final, and missed the whole of 1911-12, only returning to the Newcastle first team in September 1912, and making only 28 appearances in the two subsequent seasons.
He joined Bradford City for £1,750 in July 1914 after 92 goals in 123 appearances for The Magpies, but his career for The Bantams lasted one season, during which he scored 12 goals in 26 appearances, before the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football and Shepherd’s retirement from the game.