Ted Surely Was Good for Everton

Ted Shaw had a successful amateur career with Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire but he turned out for Everton as a guest player in a couple of pre-season matches in 1891 and might have been good enough to join them full-time that year

Tony Onslow 27/02/2021 4comments  |  Jump to last

Injury problems had seriously weakened the Everton line-up as they met on the concourse of Lime Street Station in preparation for their tour of London. The date was 13 January 1891. Skipper Andrew Hannah and Alec Brady were unfit following the 1-0 home defeat by Preston North End while the squad was further weakened by the loss of Fred Geary who had been called back to his native Nottinghamshire because of a family bereavement. Hope Robertson, Tom Wylie and Donald McLean replaced them in readiness for their first game which was to be against the Corinthians at the Kennington Oval.

The match had been arranged in pre-season with the classical amateurs offering Everton a guarantee of £40 plus 50% of the money taken at the gate. There was an entrance fee of 1 shilling while a seat on the covered grandstand would cost you 2 shillings and 6 pence. The weather, however, ruined the occasion and the heavy rain, which was falling steadily, kept the numbers of fashionable spectators down to around 2,000 people. Hope Robertson gave Everton the lead, but England international Rupert Sandilands equalised before the interval. The visitors had much the better of the second half and goals from Millward and Robertson gave them a 3-1 victory. They spent Sunday at their leisure before taking the train out to Plumstead where a game with Royal Arsenal awaited them. They used the occasion to introduce a guest player.

Ernest Henry Shaw was born on 15 February 1869 at Watlington in Oxfordshire and was the third child of Richard, who ran a butcher's shop, and his wife, Adelaide. He started his working life as a clerk with the Great Western Railway Company and was positioned at Chipping Wycombe Station when he began his football career with amateur side Great Marlow. Ted Shaw was now a well-established half-back who, earlier in the month, had taken part in the annual North v South match at Nottingham. When he arrived at Plumstead he was introduced to the Everton party by his former teammate from Great Marlow, Alf Millward.

While amateur football held sway in the South, the Royal Arsenal club were looking to turn professional and make their way into the Football League. They had moved on the Invicta Ground at the beginning of the season and had put in place a grandstand and some concrete terracing. The fixture had been arranged for pre-season with Everton accepting a guarantee of £25 plus 50% of the gate money. Around 8,000 people attended the game and paid a fee of sixpence to enter the ground. Ted Shaw took up position in the half-back line alongside the Everton Skipper John Holt and Wattie Campbell. He had little need to fully exert himself as Everton ran out comfortable winners by 5-0. It was however, not to be his only appearance for the Anfield club.

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During their time in Plumstead the Everton party had been invited to spend an extra day in Kent and play a game against Chatham. Ted Shaw accepted the invitation to join them. They Everton arrived at the location to find it dominated by the Great Lines of Defence that surrounded the Brompton Barracks home of the Royal Regiment of Engineers. The Chatham club had formerly played inside this location but, being unable to charge an entrance fee, were now in the process of developing a new enclosure on Maidstone Road.

Rain, once again, fell heavily, and this caused one visiting journalist to complain that "…the approach to the ground is upwards of one mile from the town centre and the path was a virtual quagmire." Nonetheless around 5,000 people paid to watch a game that saw the Everton side, which contained Ted Shaw, win 4-1. It is not known whether professional terms were offered by Everton to their guest player but, if he was good enough to represent the South of England, he was almost certainly good enough to join Everton. Nonetheless, Ted Shaw certainly went on to have a long and successful amateur career at Great Marlow.

The 1891 census finds him lodging at Chipping Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and later that year he married Amy Herne at the church of St Marys and St Mark in High Wycombe. Ted became a permanent fixture in the Great Marlow side and captained the Berks & Bucks FA County side many times during his career. Under his captaincy Great Marlow won the Berks & Bucks FA knockout on 4 occasions the final time being April 1899 when 6,000 people watched him lift the trophy following a 2-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers at Maidenhead. The GWR later transferred him to their Station at Hanwell in Middlesex where he and Amy spent the rest of their days. Ernest Shaw was living at 66 Cowper Road when he died on 21 November 1917.

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Reader Comments (4)

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Bill Watson
1 Posted 27/02/2021 at 23:46:30
Tony; thanks for another fascinating insight into the very early days. Have you any idea why the club had the opportunity to go on tour in the middle of the season?
John Hodgkins
2 Posted 28/02/2021 at 17:23:12
Thank you Tony, Another interesting read.
Tony Onslow
3 Posted 28/02/2021 at 20:12:44
Bill, The 1890-91 Football League consisted of just 12 clubs so the Everton fixture secretary was always busy looking for suitable fixtures to fill the vacant weekends. Being invited to visit the Corinthians was an opportunity not to be missed.
Paul Birmingham
4 Posted 01/03/2021 at 19:46:54
Superb Read, Tony, incredible how Everton, was looking to fill fixture gaps, in them days.

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