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RIP John Shepherd

Gillingham FC are saddened to learn of the passing of former player John Shepherd.

11 June 2018

One of the club's former players has died at the age of 86.

John Shepherd was a bustling centre forward who had played for Millwall and Brighton in the 1950s before being signed by Gillingham manager Harry Barrett during the 1959/1960 season.

During his time at Gillingham, Shepherd formed a prolific scoring partnership with Pat Terry and was the second highest scorer in the 1960/61 season with 14 goals and overall scored 23 goals in 53 appearances for the Gills.

Shepherd’s football career was remarkable because at the age of 18, whilst undertaking his national service in the RAF, he contracted polio and doctors feared he would never walk again.

But Shepherd overcame all odds to make a complete recovery. In October 1952, just 12 months after his discharge from hospital, he signed professional forms for Millwall Football Club and scored four goals on his away debut at Leyton Orient – an away scoring English Football League debut that has never been bettered.

Shepherd’s memories and anecdotes of playing for the Gills are chronicled in a biography of him, ‘In and out of the Lion’s Den: Poverty, war and football’, written by his daughter, Julie Ryan.


The thoughts of everyone at Gillingham FC are with John's family and friends at this difficult time.

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