Alf Sherwood

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Alf Sherwood
Personal information
Full name Alfred Thomas Sherwood
Date of birth (1923-11-13)13 November 1923
Place of birth Aberaman, Wales
Date of death 12 March 1990(1990-03-12) (aged 66)
Place of death Cowbridge, Wales
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
?–1942 Aberaman Athletic
1942–1956 Cardiff City 354 (14)
1956–1961 Newport County 205 (21)
1961–1963 Barry Town
National team
1946–1956 Wales 41 (0)
Teams managed
1961–1963 Barry Town (player-manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Alfred Thomas "Alf" Sherwood (13 November 1923 – 12 March 1990) was a Welsh international footballer. Between 1947 and 1957, he gained a total of 41 caps, the first on his 23rd birthday, against England in 1946.

Known as the King of the sliding tacklers, Sherwood was an ex-miner who threw his all into the game especially when facing the England forward, Stanley Matthews, who described him as "the most difficult opponent he ever played against".[1] His qualities were pace, sureness of tackle and a great positional sense. Sherwood also captained Wales to a famous win over England in 1955.[2]

Early life[edit]

As a youngster, Sherwood was a youth international for Wales at both football and cricket, playing alongside Trevor Ford and Gilbert Parkhouse, before becoming one of the Bevin Boys, a scheme created by former Minister of Labour and National Service Ernest Bevin, in which young men aged between 18–25 were drafted to work as miners during World War II.

Career[edit]

Sherwood joined Cardiff City in 1942, from Aberaman Athletic after impressing then manager Cyril Spiers in a wartime friendly. He originally played as a wing half but during a match against Lovells Athletic the club was short of defenders so Sherwood was moved to full-back where he was so impressive that he played the position for the rest of his career. In total he played in 140 wartime fixtures for the club. The Football League returned for the 1946–47 season and Sherwood missed just one match as the club finished top of the third division south. Following the departure of Fred Stansfield, he formed a full back partnership with another Cardiff City great, Ron Stitfall, and in the 1951–52 season Sherwood was appointed captain of the club, leading them back to the first division that year.

Sherwood was also the stand in goalkeeper for both club and country, due to substitutes having not yet been introduced. His greatest goalkeeping moment came on 17 April 1954 in a match against Liverpool. Goalkeeper Ron Howells fractured his thumb while making a save during the match and Sherwood took over in his place, facing a penalty from Scottish international Billy Liddell from which he performed a double save to all but assure Liverpool of relegation. Sherwood went on to become one of the all time appearance leaders for the club in all competitions before he was allowed to leave the club by manager Trevor Morris, to join Newport County, in 1956 at the age of 33. He went on to confound critics by playing in over 200 matches for Newport as well as adding his last two Wales caps at the club. He was selected to play in the Third Division South representative team in 1957. After leaving Newport in 1961 he had a short-lived spell as player-manager of Barry Town before fully retiring from football and working for the National Coal Board as a security officer.

In 2006 he was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame.[3]

Honours[edit]

Cardiff City
1946–47
1951–52

References[edit]

  • Shepherd, Richard (2007). The Cardiff City Miscellany. Pitch books. ISBN 1-905411-04-9. 
  • Hayes, Dean (2006). The Who's Who of Cardiff City. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-462-0. 
  • Hayes, Dean P. (2004). Wales The Complete Who's Who of Footballers Since 1946. Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7509-3700-9. 
  1. ^ "Fifties full-backs" Footballingfifties.com Retrieved on 26 December 2007
  2. ^ "The Welsh Wizards – in defence" Wrexham.gov.uk Retrieved on 2 May 2008
  3. ^ "Inductees". Welsh sports hall of fame. Retrieved 26 December 2007. 
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Unknown
Cardiff City captain
1951-1956
Succeeded by
Unknown