Shack Centenary: Len Shackleton born 100 years ago today

May 3  marks the centenary of the birth of one of Sunderland’s greatest and most loved players: The Clown Prince of Soccer, Len Shackleton. 

One of the most skilful and impudent footballers of all-time, Shack’s ability to entertain put thousands on the gate in the post war years when he was the king-pin of the Bank of England team. The scorer of a wonderful individual goal for England against reigning world champions West Germany at Wembley in 1954 he was never picked again as his maverick reluctance to accept authority made him as unpopular with the game’s hierarchy as he was popular with the people who paid to come through the turnstiles. Arguably the most popular player in the club's history, men (With Gary Rowell and Kevin Phillips) to score 100 goals for Sunderland since the war, but more than the goals he scored, it was the goals Shack made and how he created them that make him a legend. 

Thanks to Len’s nephew Nigel Simpson, SAFC mark Shackleton’s centenary with the addition of two items on display in the entrance hall of the Stadium of Light. One of Shack’s England caps from a 4-1 win away to Wales in 1949, and a number 10 shirt he wore while playing in a 1956 Exhibition game against a touring FA XI.  

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