Millwall Football Club are saddened to hear of the passing of John Shepherd, aged 86.
Shepherd was a strong, bustling centre-forward who played for The Lions between 1952 and 1958. As a 20-year old, he made headlines when he burst onto the scene on 25th October 1952 and scored four goals on his away debut at Leyton Orient – an away scoring English Football League debut that has never been bettered.
What made his story even more remarkable was that just 18 months earlier he had been quarantined in hospital after being diagnosed with polio and doctors had feared he would never walk again.
In his first season (1952/3), Shepherd finished the year as Millwall's leading goalscorer with 21 goals in just 22 matches.
In 1957, he played in the Millwall team that beat First Division Newcastle United in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in front of a crowd of 45,646. Shepherd was once again the club’s top scorer that year with a total of 24.
Shepherd scored 82 goals during his Millwall career, leaving him in 11th place on the all-time leading goalscorers list.
He was also the subject of a biography published in 2013, ‘In and out of the Lion’s Den: Poverty, war and football’, which was written by his daughter, Julie Ryan.
The thoughts of everyone at Millwall Football Club are with all connected with John at this time.