Dennis Wilshaw

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Dennis Wilshaw
Personal information
Full name Dennis James Wilshaw[1]
Date of birth (1926-03-11)11 March 1926
Place of birth Stoke-on-Trent, England
Date of death 10 May 2004(2004-05-10) (aged 78)
Place of death Stoke-on-Trent, England
Height 5 ft 10 in
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Packmoor Boys' Club
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1944–1957 Wolverhampton Wanderers 211 (105)
1946–1948 Walsall (loan) 74 (27)
1957–1961 Stoke City 95 (41)
Total 380 (173)
National team
1949 England B 1 (2)
1953–1956 England 12 (10)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Dennis James Wilshaw (11 March 1926 – 10 May 2004) was an English international footballer. A forward, he scored 173 goals in 380 appearances in the Football League,[2] and also scored ten goals in twelve appearances for the England national team (including one goal in the 1954 FIFA World Cup and four goals against Scotland at Wembley). He spent 13 years with Wolverhampton Wanderers from 1944 to 1957, where he won the First Division title in 1953–54. He spent 1946 to 1948 on loan at Walsall, and ended his career after playing for Stoke City between 1957 and 1961.

Playing style[edit]

Brian Glanville described him as: "Slim but strong, at 5 ft 10 in and 10 st 7 lb, Wilshaw was quick and direct, with a powerful shot... Essentially left-footed but effortlessly versatile, Wilshaw could play with equal success at outside-left, inside-left, or even centre-forward."[3]

Another journalist, Ivan Ponting, wrote that: "Wilshaw was strong, resilient and direct, an awkward customer for any opponent to control, and thus was perfectly suited to Stan Cullis's formidable all-action Wolves side... He was capable of sudden bursts of searing acceleration which equipped him ideally to exploit gaps in opposition defences. His shooting was explosively powerful, especially with his left foot, and he was combative in the air."[4]

Club career[edit]

Wilshaw joined Wolverhampton Wanderers in March 1944 after being spotted playing for Packmoor Boys' Club in his youth where he scored 10 goals in a 16–0 win.[4] The war made guesting a common occurrence and so he played a game for Port Vale on 5 May 1945, a 6–0 Potteries derby thumping at the Victoria Ground.[5] He began guesting at Harry Hibbs's Walsall and had an extended loan spell at the Third Division South side, making 82 appearances, scoring 31 goals, before returning to top flight Wolves in September 1948.[6] He built an effective partnership with Doug Lishman. During this time he also continued his education to become a qualified teacher.[7] He finished as the "Saddlers" top-scorer in 1946–47 with 21 goals in 39 games. He hit nine goals in 40 appearances in 1947–48, and also appeared at Fellows Park in the first few games of the 1948–49 campaign.

He made his Wolves' debut on 12 March 1949, scoring a hat-trick over Newcastle United, and went on to score ten goals in eleven league games that season.[6] However, he was not selected in the side that competed in the 1949 FA Cup Final against Leicester City at Wembley. Wolves went on to finish second in the league in 1949–50. However they struggled in the lower half of the table in 1950–51 and 1951–52.

Thanks to greats such as Jesse Pye and Roy Swinbourne, it took until the 1952–53 for Wilshaw to establish himself in the first team; he bagged 18 goals in 30 games that season.[6] He was a part of the Wolves side that won the league in 1953–54. The club's top-scorer with 25 of Wolves' 96 league goals that season, he described the players poor relationship with manager Stan Cullis, claiming that the club's team spirit was good "because we all hated his guts".[3] They came close to securing the title again in 1954–55, but instead finished four points behind Chelsea. Wilshaw became more of a squad member in the 1955–56 and 1956–57 campaigns, playing 46 games across both seasons. In his time, Wolves were one of the greatest teams in the world and he played in victories over Spartak Moscow, Dynamo Moscow, Valencia, Honvéd and Real Madrid.[8] In his time at Molineux, he managed a total of 117 goals in 232 matches for the club.[8]

In 1957, the striker was transferred to Second Division Stoke City for a £10,000 fee.[4] He claimed nine goals in 24 games for the "Potters" in 1957–58, including a hat-trick against Middlesbrough in a Third Round FA Cup tie at the Victoria Ground on 25 January. He became the club's top-scorer with 18 goals in 33 appearances in 1958–59, including another Third Round FA Cup hat-trick, this time against Oldham Athletic. He was restricted to nine goals in 22 games in 1959–60, though got a third hat-trick in a league win over Lincoln City. He went on to claim 14 goals in 30 appearances in 1960–61, holding on to his first team place after manager Frank Taylor was replaced by Tony Waddington. He retired from professional football in 1961 after breaking a leg in a FA Cup tie against Newcastle United.[8]

International career[edit]

Wilshaw earned 12 caps for the England, five of which were friendlies and seven were competitive fixtures.[9] He scored twice on his debut on 10 October 1953 against Wales, in a 4–1 British Home Championship victory at Ninian Park.

His next game was in the 1954 FIFA World Cup, where he scored a goal against the hosts Switzerland in a 2–0 win at the Wankdorf Stadium.[10] He also appeared in the competition's quarter-finals, as England lost 4–2 to the Uruguayans.[11]

His fourth cap was in the 1955 British Home Championship; he bagged four goals in a 7–2 win over Scotland at Wembley. After caps against France, Spain, Portugal and Wales, both his eighth and ninth goals came against Northern Ireland in a 3–0 win. His final goal came against Finland in Helsinki on 20 May 1956 in a 3–0 victory.[12] After a friendly against West Germany, he made his final international appearance at Windsor Park, in a 1–1 draw with Northern Ireland in the 1957 British Home Championship.[11]

Post-retirement[edit]

After retiring as a player, Wilshaw stayed with Stoke City as a scout[5] and also became a qualified FA coach and sports psychologist.[7]

He also took up his old career as a schoolteacher and eventually became head of a school in his native Stoke. Later he joined the Social and Community Studies department at Crewe and Alsager College of Education.[4]

He died in Stoke-on-Trent on 10 May 2004, at the age of 78, after suffering a heart attack.[13]

Career statistics[edit]

  • Sourced from Dennis Wilshaw profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
Club Season Division League FA Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Walsall 1946–47 Third Division South 35 18 4 3 39 21
1947–48 36 8 4 1 40 9
1948–49 3 1 0 0 3 1
Total 74 27 8 4 82 31
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1948–49 First Division 11 10 0 0 11 10
1949–50 8 3 0 0 8 3
1950–51 14 5 1 0 15 5
1951–52 14 5 0 0 14 5
1952–53 29 17 1 1 30 18
1953–54 39 25 1 1 40 26
1954–55 38 20 4 5 42 25
1955–56 26 6 0 0 26 6
1956–57 20 10 0 0 20 10
1957–58 12 4 0 0 12 4
Total 211 105 7 7 218 112
Stoke City 1957–58 Second Division 19 6 5 3 24 9
1958–59 31 15 2 3 33 18
1959–60 21 9 1 0 22 9
1960–61 24 11 6 3 30 14
Total 95 41 14 9 109 50
Career Total 380 173 29 20 409 193

Honours[edit]

with Wolverhampton Wanderers
with England

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dennis Wilshaw". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "Career stats". Neil Brown stat site. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Glanville, Brian (15 May 2004). "Dennis Wilshaw Obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d Ponting, Ivan (13 May 2004). "Dennis Wilshaw Obituary". The Independent. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 313. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  6. ^ a b c "Dennis J Wilshaw". thewolvessite.co.uk. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Wilshaw". spartacus. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c "Wolves star dies of heart attack". BBC News. 11 May 2004. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  9. ^ "Dennis Wilshaw". englandstats.com. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  10. ^ "England – Switzerland". fifa.com. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Dennis Wilshaw". thefa.com. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  12. ^ "England Player Profile". englandfc.com. Retrieved 22 June 2009. 
  13. ^ "Wolves great Wilshaw dies". BBC Sport. 11 May 2004. Retrieved 22 June 2009.