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Back in Time: Jimmy Shankly (My piece for Southend United's Official Matchday Programme)


Peter Kenny Jones (@PeterKennyJones) recalls the exploits of a former Blues player...

Jimmy Shankly has a legacy strong enough for him to be as synonymous with Southend United as his brother is with Liverpool. 16 years older than his enigmatic brother, Jimmy was part of a footballing family like no other.

All five of the Shankly brothers played professional football. Jimmy left the Shankly home of Glenbuck in Ayrshire for Carlisle United, and a move to Sheffield United for a fee of £1,000 followed. It turned out not to be successful for Shankly, the high competition meant that his playing time was limited and thus a move to Blues followed in 1928.

Shankly’s arrival was a great success as he settled in immediately scoring 31 in 39 games during his first season down South. His goal scoring prowess led to him being top goal scorer in each of the following six seasons at Southend.

Shankly was a small and strong character that scored 96 goals for the club whilst they battled for promotion from Third Division South. He shares a record with Sammy McCrory for most goals scored in a season for the club, however Shankly was certainly a more consistent performer.

Shankly was also hindered by injury. He gained a reputation for scoring goals for fun, but these purple patches were often halted by injury. It wasn't to the detriment of his form though, as no sooner did he return, then his scoring would return too.

Rather surprisingly, Shankly was not adored by the fans. He was often the subject of booing and barracking from the Southend supporters. In stark contrast to his younger brother Bill, Jimmy did not seem to share a rapport with the fans. He was often berated for attempting to score the easy goal rather than the clever goal, something which was obviously held in high regard by the 1930’s Blues faithful.

Having spent his golden days at Southend, Shankly’s career began to wind to a close. He stepped down to Barrow in Third Division North where he continued to make scoring records, despite his advancing age. His tally of 39 in one season remains a record for the club.

A return to Carlisle followed a further season with Barrow. Retirement quickly proceeded and Shankly returned to Scotland, setting up a coal merchants.

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