Gerry Ward (footballer)
|Full name||Gerald Ward|
|Date of birth||5 October 1936|
|Place of birth||Stepney, London, England|
|Date of death||January 1994|
|Playing position||Left wing, wing half|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Born in Stepney, London, Ward joined Arsenal as a trainee in 1952 and was quickly propelled into the first team. He made his debut on the left wing in a home match against Huddersfield Town on 22 August 1953 at the age of 16 years and 321 days, this made him at the time Arsenal's youngest-ever player (since surpassed by Jermaine Pennant and then Cesc Fàbregas), and until 2008 he held the record for Arsenal's youngest-ever player in a league match, a record now held by Jack Wilshere. As Wilshere's appearance was as a substitute, Ward remains the youngest Arsenal player to ever start a league match.
Ward turned professional soon after his debut and made two more appearances in the 1953-54 season. However, he did not play for Arsenal for another four years after that; a large portion of that time was spent doing National Service, which prevented him from playing. He was demobbed in February 1957 and regained his place in the 1957-58 season, becoming a regular in 1958-59 at wing half. However, with competition from Tommy Docherty he was only a bit-part player between 1960 and 1963, making just 21 appearances over the three seasons. He left Arsenal in July 1963 for Leyton Orient; in all he played 84 times for Arsenal, scoring ten goals.
He spent one season at Orient, making 44 appearances and scoring two goals. He had a career in non-league football after that, playing for both Cambridge City and Barnet, whom he also managed for a brief period between 1973 and 1974. He died in 1994, aged 57.
- Harris, Jeff & Hogg, Tony (ed.) (1995). Arsenal Who's Who. Independent UK Sports. ISBN 1-899429-03-4.
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