Tuesday, February 4, 2014

4 February 1948 - Shackleton Unchained

On 4 February 1948, Len Shackleton moved from Newcastle to Sunderland for a record fee of £20,500 and went on to become a star at his new club.

Twenty-seven years old at the time, Shackleton, who played both inside forward and outside left, had turned professional in 1939 with Bradford Park Avenue, but lost several years to World War II. He returned to Bradford when league play resumed in 1946, but moved to Newcastle in 1946. On his debut there, he scored six times as Newcastle beat Newport County 13-0.

Skilled on the ball, he would often tease opposing players by beating them, then waiting for them to recover before beating them again. That flair for showmanship earned him the nickname "the clown prince of football," but also created a rift between him and the club. After two seasons, they sold him to rivals Sunderland for what was then a British-record transfer fee.

At Sunderland, he went on to score 101 goals in 348 league appearances before an ankle injury forced his retirement in September 1957.

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