By Tony Attwood
Sometimes when we find players who are a total mystery – whose lives are totally lost to us beyond the fact that they played a few games for Arsenal – I’m puzzled by the blank, but can leave it at that.
But when we find a player who is a league winner with the club, but where there is only a tantalising spot of information, and where that information is fascinating, it is so frustrating that I really do want to know more.
So it is with Arthur Shaw. We know his dates of birth (9 April 1924) but I have had it reported that the date of his death which we published originally is wrong. My apologies.
His footballing records are of course there, as they are for every player who has ever played league football, because of the requirement of players to be registered at all times.
So he played, we can be certain for Brentford, Arsenal and Watford and made 64 league appearances. Reports suggest that he also played for Southall, Hayes and Gravesend & Northfleet.
And there is a note that he played for England Amateurs, when amateur football still flourished. So no mean player.
But his footballing triumph was in 1952/3 when he played 25 times for Arsenal and so claimed his league winners’ medal. It was also his one and only complete season. Here is his league record season by season for Arsenal
Throughout he played at wing half, mostly at number 4 but occasionally number 6. In his league winning season he also played at number 10 a couple of times. He did not however play in the final dramatic match in which Arsenal won the league by beating Burnley 3-2. But he did play in the game immediately before that.
In total he played 61 games for Arsenal, starting on 31 August 1949 in a 2-3 home defeat to Chelsea, and ending on 21 August 1954, with another home defeat (1-3 to Newcastle).
But now comes the tantalising bit. What happened after football? I could find nothing at all, until I came across one reference in, of all places, “Big Mal: The High Life and Hard Times of Malcolm Allison, Football Legend” by David Tossell
In this book it is reported that Allison met Arthur Shaw after Arthur’s playing career was over. Arthur had become a professional gambler, and was an expert on the horses. Allison’s preference was for dog racing.
The story told is that Shaw and Allison combined their knowledge and starting working together as gamblers, and did indeed make a very good business out of it.
That however is all I have. There is no information on Arsenal.com and nothing more elsewhere either. Oh, to know more.
Here is his footballing history…
|Gravesend & Northfleet
There’s one PS to add. Arthur Shaw is not to be confused with Arthur Fredrick Shaw who was born 1 August 1869 and who played Notts County and Nottingham Forest. A different person altogether.
If you know anything more, please tell.