Alan Groves

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Alan Groves
Personal information
Date of birth (1948-10-24)24 October 1948
Place of birth Southport, England
Date of death 15 June 1978(1978-06-15) (aged 29)
Place of death Royton, England
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
–1968 Blowick
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1968–1970 Southport 14 (2)
1971 Chester 22 (3)
1971–1973 Shrewsbury Town 76 (11)
1973–1974 Bournemouth 36 (4)
1974–1977 Oldham Athletic 140 (12)
1977–1978 Blackpool 15 (1)
Total 303 (33)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Alan Groves (24 October 1948 – 15 June 1978) was an English professional footballer. He played as a midfielder.

Groves joined hometown club Southport from Blowick in December 1968 and went on to play for Chester, transferring for a £3,000 fee in 1971 to Shrewsbury Town.[1]

In October 1972 he was sold for £40,000 to AFC Bournemouth,[1] for whom he played a year before beginning a long spell with Oldham Athletic in February 1974. According to Harry Redknapp, Groves was not happy with the move, and during a match against Bournemouth after scoring a goal, Groves dribbled the ball to the Bournemouth dugout and kicked the ball at Trevor Hartley, the manager who had sold him. He made 140 Football League appearances for the Latics until he moved to Blackpool in November 1977, for £30,000.[2] He made his League debut for the club on 26 November 1977, when Blackpool beat Stoke City 2-1. After his first three games he was convinced that he made the best move of his football career, commenting: "Two away wins in three weeks, it's unbelievable. That's as many as we got in two years at Oldham Athletic. Blackpool have some tremendous players, really skilful. I fancy Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur to go up, but if we play like we did at Mansfield Town, we can make it tough for both of them."[2]

Personal life[edit]

In 1976, while he was playing for Oldham, Groves married Debbie, daughter of Harold Huxley, when she was then aged 16 (already school leaving age in England). This led to a prosecution by local education authorities who insisted her birthday came too late for her to finish studies, for she quit school immediately after the wedding to keep house for Alan. Her father was ultimately fined £5 for failing to send his daughter to school.[3]


Groves had played eleven League games, plus four as substitute, scored one goal, and played in an FA Cup tie for Blackpool before he died of heart failure on 15 June 1978, aged 29.[2] A reputedly very fit player who had had no problems during training, he was taken ill at home in Royton but despite attempts to resuscitate him he was dead on arrival at Oldham Royal Infirmary.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Soccer star dies at 29". The Shropshire Star (Last Edition). 15 June 1978. p. 1. Late report of his death when he had left Shropshire.
  2. ^ a b c Gillatt, Peter (30 November 2009). Blackpool FC on This Day: History, Facts and Figures from Every Day of the Year. Pitch Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-905411-50-2. 
  3. ^ a b "Ex-Salop [ie Shrewsbury Town] soccer star dead". The Shropshire Star (Town Edition). 15 June 1978. p. 1. Early report of his death.