Alexander Shaw was born on November 22, 1924, in Glasgow, Scotland. He started his soccer career with Strathclyde Juniors. During the Second World War he served with the Royal Air Force.
The 5′ 3″ inside forward was signed by Crewe Alexandra manager Frank Hill in the summer of 1946. He played in 13 league games and scored 4 goals for Crewe Alexandra in the Football League Third Division North in the 1946-47 season.
In July 1947 Alex joined Southern League club Lovell’s Athletic. The club was a Newport based work’s club. They finished in sixth place in the 18-team league in the 1947-48 season. Alex was a great fans favourite with Lovell’s Athletic. He returned to Scotland in December 1949 when he was offered a job as an insurance collector in Glasgow.
Back in Scotland Alex had a trial with Stirling Albion before signing for Dundee United in February 1950. He was mostly used as back-up for the outside left position at Tannadice Park. Alex played in 12 league games and scored 5 goals for Dundee United in the Scottish League Second Division before being released on a free transfer in May 1951.
Alex moved to Canada in 1951. In Toronto he joined the St. Andrew’s club that were members of the National Soccer League. He was regular member of the National League and Ontario All-Stars in the coming seasons as a half-back.
In 1955 he joined Toronto Thistles and won the Toronto Metro League championship, the Innes Memorial Cup and the Toronto Daily Star trophy with the Thistles. Alex was voted as the Metro League’s Most Valuable Player.
The following season he helped Toronto Thistles qualify for the Dominion Cup semifinals. In an upset win Winnipeg Germanias defeated Thistles 4-1 in the sudden-death semifinal held in Winnipeg on September 13, 1956.
While a member of Toronto Thistles Alex was picked for Canada’s World Cup Qualifying squad in 1957. The Canadian National Team was trying to qualify for the World Cup finals that was to be held in Sweden in 1958. He played against the United States National team in St Louis, Missouri, on July 6, 1957. Canada defeated the United States 3-2 in front of a crowd of 1,500.
Alex then acted as the player coach of Ulster United in the National Soccer League. After retirering from active soccer he became a youth soccer coach in Guelph, Ontario.
Alex passed away on January 4, 2013, in Parry Sound, Ontario.
Great article! Alex Shaw is my father!! Thank you ☺️
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Hi Jackie! Thank you for your response. It really took some hard work to find out about the career of your dad. If you have some additional info please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org 😊
Christian . Thank you so much for this. My name is Stuart Shaw and I am Alex’s son. Alex was beloved by almost everyone who ever met him. As you know, he fought in World War II as a wireless operator on a Halifax bomber for the Royal Air Force. As most wireless operators, he was a skill-less Teenager. He joined the Royal Air Force, probably because his father advised him to avoid the infantry. His father Duncan Shaw fought in the trenches of World War I.
During the war he played some sort of professional soccer. He even played for the team representing the Royal Air Force, we believe when he was stationed in England . One of his most memorable moments was when he broke his collarbone playing soccer during the very end of the war. He said he laid on the field in terrible pain, with tears of joy. He knew that would be the end of it for him in World War II. His beloved crew was transferred to fight in Southeast Asia, but Alex was spared.
As you know, he played for Crewe Alexandria, and then for Dundee United in his beloved Scotland.
After the war he did what a lot of people did, he immigrated to Canada. On the way over on the ship he had a small amount of money and a contact. The contact was somehow related to a company called Colgate Palmolive. He was given a job by this organization And played soccer in Canada. I know one of the teams that he played for was called “the Toronto thistles“. I’m not sure but it probably has some Scottish orientation.
At one point he was picked to play for Canada’s first ever World Cup team. I believe they beat the Americans but lost to the Mexicans in Mexico City. My sister and I have a photograph of him signing autographs to Mexican children in Mexico City. Mexico Beat Canada and we never made it to the main tournament.
He had a long career teaching and coaching soccer in Guelph Ontario Canada, as well as a referee. In his very elder days, even when he suffered from dementia, he could watch soccer on TV and make great analyses of the play. My mother, sister and I would always have soccer on the television. It was a great Source of joy in his life. He was always oriented when it came to the soccer pitch.
As you mentioned he was a very small man. We have many articles from the club Crewe Alexandria, mentioning his diminutive size. He made up for that with heart. In front of two or 3000 people, reporters often commented that AleX was the most entertaining player on the field, running all over the pitch. He loved caramel candies and offered littered the pitch with the rappers. He loved his tea at half time.
He played for Scotland‘s national school boys team, and was captain of the team at Lamb Hill secondary school in Glasgow. We have a wonderful picture of him playing against a boy twice his size on the field.
He remains a great hero to me, my sister, his grandchildren and all of his family.
It was a delight for me to see what you had done.
Thank you so much