Arthur Shaw, the Arsenal league winner who vanished from history

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

Season Games
1949/50 5
1950/1 16
1951/2 8
1952/3 25
1953/4 2
1954/5 1
Total 57

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 and nothing more elsewhere either.  Oh, to know more.

Here is his footballing history…

Season Club League Games Goals
945 Southall
1945/66 Hayes 19 4
1946/8 Brentford 4 0
1948/55 Arsenal 57 0
1955/6 Watford 3 0
1956 Gravesend & Northfleet
Total 83 4

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.



16 Replies to “Arthur Shaw, the Arsenal league winner who vanished from history”

  1. Arthur Shaw is still alive. I believe he has moved to America to live with his daughter after many years living in Whitton, Middlesex.

  2. Arthur captained Gravesend to win Southern League title in 57/8
    after being signed by manager and former gunner Lionel Smith

  3. Arthur is living in Hermosa Beach with his daughter. Unfortunately his health has taken a turn for the worse.

  4. In the 80’s he lived in a big house opposite ours in Hounslow (Inwood Road)- he was well known locally for his gambling

  5. Tony, I’m a lifelong Gooner living in Hermosa Beach, California. I chanced upon your article having just been told about Arthur from my local shopkeeper. I’ve given him a copy of your article which he will give to Arthur’s daughter. I hope this fascinating story develops further. Thank you.
    P.S. George Best ‘s old bar, Bestie’s is also in Hermosa Beach. Now called The Underground pub his ghost is said to be seen occasionally!

  6. My grandad was best friends with Arthur, having played football together. We had tried to contact him and expected that he had moved.
    We would love to hear any news on him

  7. I have just heard via his daughter (Liz) that sadly Arthur passed away this morning. Liz will be at the match on Sunday when an announcement will be made. One of the flags on the Ken Friar bridge is him.

  8. Arthur sadly passed away yesterday in LA, his devoted Daughter was with him…. his family and friends are devastated. check the Arsenal website, I believe they will announce this at the game on Sunday….

  9. Can you please update your original post with the correct date of death immediately, as you were WAY off. His daughter Lis was given a copy of this article when he was still alive, and the misinformation upset her tremendously. He actually passed on Dec 31 of this year, and his beautiful memorial was today in LA attended by close family and friends.

  10. Cat I am very sorry to have given offence. A site like this can only take data provided by others and with over 3000 articles now published I do regret that errors slip in. You have written on 17 December 2015 to say he died “this year” but I think that might mean last year, but rather than risk further offence I have left the date out.

  11. Sadly Art passed away on Nov 2nd 2015.
    He was a larger than life character with so many stories from the 50s and 60s.
    He used to organise the jockeys v boxers matches at Highbury .. Which also featured the first ever floodlit match at Highbury.
    He would have played in the 52 cup final but fractured his wrist in the last league game v Man Utd at OT.
    He went on the 1949 tour of Brazil … They flew clockwise round the globe In those days ..not across the Atlantic . He was the joker in the pack and his best friends were Jimmy Logie and Arthur Milton. He had a very close and lasting friendship with Mr Arsenal .. Ken Friar .. And loved the club all his life anwas a big admirer of Arsene, Thierry Henry , Bergkamp and Vieira.
    He had so many stories about his gambling days and his lifelong friendship with Malcolm Allison.
    He collected Rodney Marsh from the station in 1970 and took him to Maine Road when he signed for City … I Bumped into Rodney Marsh on the train back to Gare Du Nord after the 2006 CL final .. I was wearing my Arthur Shaw shirt and Rodney chatted to me about Art for about 5 mins .
    He was a wonderful man and is much missed .

  12. Cat, please could you pass on my deepest sympathy to Liz. I was totally unaware that Arthur had passed away.
    I just happened to google his name as I hadn’t heard from him. He used to call once or twice a year just to make sure I was ok.
    He was a friend of mine and my family throughout my life. A wonderful man. I’m at a loss for words.
    Thank you

  13. Hello Brian,I used to work with Arthur at wh Smith’s in isleworth between 1980 & 1987.met you at his place in inwood road a couple of times and around you’re house.i was about twenty at the time.he always spoke well of you and I thought you were a decent chap.regards John.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *