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Johnny Gavin (footballer)

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Johnny Gavin
Personal information
Full name John Thomas Gavin
Date of birth (1928-04-20)20 April 1928
Place of birth Limerick, Ireland
Date of death 20 September 2007(2007-09-20) (aged 79)
Position(s) Winger
Youth career
Jamesborough United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1947–1948 Limerick 14 (5)
1948–1954 Norwich City 203 (76)
1954–1955 Tottenham Hotspur 32 (15)
1955–1958 Norwich City 109 (46)
1958–1959 Watford 43 (12)
1959–1961 Crystal Palace 66 (15)
1961–1962 Cambridge City
1962–? Newmarket Town
1967–1968 Fulbourn Institute
International career
1949–1956 Ireland 7[1] (2)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

John Thomas Gavin (20 April 1928 – 20 September 2007) was an Irish footballer who spent most of his career in England. He played for Janesboro United, Limerick, Ireland, Norwich City, Watford, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, Cambridge City, Newmarket Town and Fulbourn.

Born in Limerick, Gavin was working as a painter on the Irish railways and playing for Limerick when he was approached in 1948 by Norwich City manager Doug Lochhead. West Ham United were also keen on signing Gavin but he chose Norwich because his friend and Limerick team-mate Kevin Holman had already agreed to join the club, meaning that Gavin would have familiar company to help him settle in Norfolk when he left Ireland. Holman would never play in Norwich's first team, while Gavin would go on to become Norwich City's record goalscorer, scoring 132 goals in 338 matches. Norwich had paid just £1,500 for his services and his club goalscoring record stands to this day.

His scoring feats earned the attention of Tottenham Hotspur, who signed him from Norwich in October 1954. Despite an impressive strike-rate of 15 goals in 32 games Gavin did not settle at White Hart Lane and returned to Norwich in November 1955 as part of the deal that took future England centre-half Maurice Norman to Tottenham from Norwich. He scored his 100th goal for Norwich on 15 September 1956 in a 3–0 win against Plymouth Argyle at Carrow Road. He was selected to play for the Third Division South representative team in 1956–57.

When interviewed for Norwich City FC's centenary in 2002, Gavin recalled that he enjoyed regular banter with the Norwich crowd during games — "I got a little bit of jip from them but gave some back."[citation needed]

After retiring, Gavin ran a public house for several years in Cambridge, where he lived until his death. In his 2002 updated edition of Canary Citizens, Mike Davage reported that Gavin's health had suffered in his later years and that he had had a hip replacement and suffered from Osteoarthritis.[citation needed]

In 2002, Gavin was made an inaugural member of the Norwich City F.C. Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

Gavin's death was announced on 20 September 2007: he was 79.[2]

Norwich's next home game against Sheffield Wednesday on 29 September was preceded by a minute's applause and the players wore black armbands.[3]


  1. ^ "Johnny Gavin". eu-football.info. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  2. ^ http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/tribute/gavin/2641172 [dead link]
  3. ^ "Norwich City - News - First News - First News - CLUB RECORD GOALSCORER DIES…". 30 June 2012. Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  • 12 Canary Greats by Rick Waghorn, published by Jarrold Publishing (2004), ISBN 978-0-7117-4026-6
  • Canary Citizens by Mark Davage, John Eastwood, Kevin Platt, published by Jarrold Publishing, (2001), ISBN 0-7117-2020-7

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