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Home: All Other Football Interests: Obituaries and Remembrances:
John Shepherd (Millwall, Brighton, Gillingham)


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Jun 13, 2018, 10:31 AM

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John Shepherd (Millwall, Brighton, Gillingham) Can't Post or Reply Privately

Millwall Football Club are saddened to hear of the passing of John Shepherd, aged 86.

Shepherd was a strong, bustling centre forward who played for The Lions between 1952 and 1958. As a 20 year old, he made headlines when he burst onto the scene on 25th October 1952 and scored four goals on his away debut at Leyton Orient, an away scoring English Football League debut that has never been bettered.

What made his story even more remarkable was that just 18 months earlier he had been quarantined in hospital after being diagnosed with polio and doctors had feared he would never walk again.

In his first season (1952/3), Shepherd finished the year as Millwall's leading goalscorer with 21 goals in just 22 matches.

In 1957, he played in the Millwall team that beat First Division Newcastle United in the Fourth Round of the F.A. Cup in front of a crowd of 45,646. Shepherd was once again the club’s top scorer that year with a total of 24.

Shepherd scored 82 goals during his Millwall career, leaving him in 11th place on the all time leading goalscorers list.

He was also the subject of a biography published in 2013, ‘In and out of the Lion’s Den: Poverty, war and football’, which was written by his daughter, Julie Ryan.

The thoughts of everyone at Millwall Football Club are with all connected with John at this time.

(This post was edited by John Treleven on Jun 13, 2018, 6:31 PM)

John Treleven
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Jun 13, 2018, 6:43 PM

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Re: [bagman] John Shepherd (Millwall, Brighton, Gillingham) [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Shepherd, John Herbert Edwin

born 29th May 1932 Kensington
died Monday 11th June 2018, aged 86

In 1951 Shepherd contracted polio whilst undertaking his National Service at R.A.F. Sennen, near Land's End.

It was feared he would not walk again, but he made a full recovery and signed professional forms for Millwall on 6th October 1952. He made his first team debut on 25th October 1952 away at Leyton Orient where he scored a record four goals.

Shepherd also scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 win against Barrow in the 2nd round of the F.A. Cup to earn a 3rd round tie against Manchester United. He finished top scorer with 21 goals (15 League and 6 F.A. Cup) in his first season.

He was also Millwall’s top scorer with 25 League and Cup goals in the 1956-57 season, during which they had a memorable F.A. Cup run beating First Division Newcastle United in the fourth round. They subsequently lost to First Division Birmingham City in the fifth.

He was selected to play in the Third Division South representative team in 1957.

Shepherd remains Millwall’s top F.A. Cup goal scorer with 15 goals in 17 games and is their sixth highest goal scorer.

At the end of the 1957-58 Shepherd transferred to Brighton & Hove Albion where he was their top goal scorer in the club's first ever season in the old Football League Division Two, scoring 18 goals in 36 League appearances.

He played almost two seasons there before transferring to Gillingham. Although Shepherd enjoyed playing at Gillingham under the managership of Harry Barratt he later said moving to Gillingham was the biggest mistake of his career and he wished he had stayed at Brighton.

Shepherd also played semi professional football at Ashford Town (now United), Margate and Tunbridge Wells, before becoming player/manager at Southwick who were struggling in Sussex County League Division Two at the time.

He led them to promotion to Division One, and in 1968 victory against Athenian League Horsham in the Sussex Senior Cup Final, played at the Goldstone Ground, for the first time in the club’s history.

The following season Southwick were Division One Champions.

In the early 1970s Shepherd went back to the Goldstone Ground, firstly as a youth scout, and later, after Alan Mullery became the club's manager, he (together with Mick Fogden) set up the club's youth team which was entered into the South Eastern Counties League.

He also managed the Sussex County team.

Oct 1952 Millwall 149/63
Jne 1958 Brighton 45/19
Feb 1960 Gillingham 53/23

In January 2013, Shepherd's daughter, Julie Ryan, released a biography about her father entitled "In and out of the Lion's Den: poverty, war and football " (ISBN 978-1481081993).


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