Johnny Shepherd

Johnny Shepherd Brighton & Hove Albion
Johnny Shepherd

Johnny Shepherd was born on 29 May 1932 in Kensington. In 1951 Johnny contracted polio whilst undertaking his National Service in the RAF. It was feared he would not walk again, but he made a full recovery and signed professional forms for Millwall on 6 October 1952. He made his first team debut on 25 October 1952 away at Leyton Orient where he scored a record four goals. Shepherd became known as a ‘hat trick specialist’, and in his first season with Millwall he scored a hat-trick in a 4–1 win against Barrow in the 2nd round of the FA Cup to earn a 3rd round tie against Manchester United.

He finished top scorer with 21 goals (15 League and 6 FA Cup) in his first season. He was also Millwall’s top scorer with 25 League and Cup goals in the 1956/57 season, during which they had a memorable FA Cup run (in which Johnny scored a hat trick against Margate in the second round) beating First Division Newcastle United in the fourth round. They subsequently lost to First Division Birmingham City in the fifth. He was selected to play in the Third Division South representative team in 1957.

At the end of the 1957/58 Johnny transferred to Brighton & Hove Albion where he was the Seagulls top goal scorer in the club’s first season in the Football League Division Two, scoring 18 goals in 36 League appearances. He played almost two seasons before transferring to Gillingham.

Johnny later played semi-professional football at Ashford Town (where he was team captain), Margate and Tunbridge Wells, before going to become player/manager at Southwick who were struggling in Sussex County League Division Two at the time. He led them to promotion to Division One, and in 1968 led them to victory against Athenian League Horsham in the Sussex Senior Cup Final, played at the Goldstone Ground. The following season Southwick were Sussex County League Division One Champions.

Johnny also managed the Sussex Senior Men’s representative team and led them to victory in the Southern Counties Amateur Championship.

In the early 1970s Johnny went back to the the Seagulls, firstly as youth scout, and later as youth team coach. In 1985, Shepherd, together with co-coach Mick Fogden, led the Brighton Youth Team to become the first club outside London to win the South East Counties Junior Cup.

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