Dave Shearer has died at the age of 63.
Former Gillingham striker Dave Shearer has passed away at the age of 63.
Inverness-born Dave began his footballing career at Inverness Clachnacuddin, where he was a prolific scorer, before joining top-flight Middlesbrough in January 1978, with the Highland League side receiving £5,000. He made his début for the Teessiders on 4 April that year, scoring both goals in a 2-0 home win over Chelsea, the first of his 23 league goals in 97 appearances for the club. Shearer joined Division Four Wigan Athletic on loan on March 1980 and netted nine times in 11 games during his spell with the Latics.
The striker was top scorer for ‘Boro in 1982-3, with 13 league and cup goals, his last season with the club before he moved to Grimsby Town in the summer of 1983, for whom he made just four appearances and failed to score.
Keith Peacock signed him for Gillingham in August 1984, where he linked up with his former ‘Boro teammate Terry Cochrane, and he made his début as a substitute in a 4-2 win at Leyton Orient on the first day of September, replacing Cochrane with five minutes remaining, but a lack of match fitness meant that his appearances were sporadic.
‘Shaky’ opened his goalscoring account in his fifth match, his first full game for the Gills, giving us a 1-0 lead in a League Cup tie against Leeds United at Elland Road that the hosts went on to win 3-2 for an aggregate victory of 5-3. Dave scored his first league goal in the 7-1 defeat at York City in early November.
Shearer, who was an excellent forward in and around the penalty area and made goalscoring look easy, featured in 27 league and cup matches in his first season, with his 16 goals including two hat-tricks, one in a 5-0 win in an FA Cup tie against Colchester United at Layer Road, and the other in a 5-1 thrashing of Wigan Athletic in our final home game of the season.
He played 29 times in all competitions in 1985-6, scoring 11 times, including a hat-trick in a 5-1 home win over Swansea, but didn’t net in his final 13 matches that season, one which ended prematurely when he suffered a hamstring injury during the return against the Swans in March 1986 that required major surgery.
The following campaign was his best for the club, in terms of appearances and goals, scoring 18 times in 48 appearances in all competitions, including the winner, two minutes from time, in the 2-1 opening day victory at Newport County.
Shearer featured 15 times in 1987-8, scoring his five goals across four consecutive matches, one in our 8-1 home win over Southend United, another in the 1-1 draw at Wigan, a brace in the 10-0 thrashing of Chesterfield and then a further goal as we triumphed 2-0 against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Dave made his final appearance for Gillingham in a home 1-0 League Cup defeat against Stoke at the start of October 1987 and joined Bournemouth in the same month, for a £20,000 fee. The striker had made 119 appearances whist at Priestfield, netting 50 goals, and stands 21st in the all-time scoring list for the club. He then moved to Scunthorpe, in a £15,000 deal, four months later, and was on the move again in December 1988, returning to the north-east to link up with Darlington for a £10,000 fee. Next on his travels was a switch to non-league Billingham Synthonia, where Cochrane was once again amongst his team-mates.
After retiring from the game, Shearer returned home to his Scottish roots at Fort William.
Gillingham Football Club would like to express their condolences to Dave’s family and friends at this sad time.
Jason Lillis - "He is the best forward and finisher I believe the club, in my time, has ever had.
"I had the pleasure to watch, train and play alongside him. He will be missed."
Karl Elsey - "It was a pleasure to have known and played with Sheiky. RIP mate."