William John Shannon
William John Shannon
A. Player

probably born in Scotland

William John Shannon was born on Tuesday, 14th December, 1875, in Govan, Glasgow.

The midfielder joined Thistle in August, 1897, having most recently been with Troon.

Aged 21, he made his first known appearance on Wednesday, 8th September, 1897, in a 1-0 friendly defeat at home to Celtic.

There were no known goals for William during his spell with Thistle.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 5th March, 1898, in a 4-2 friendly win away to Morton, having appeared for the Thistle on at least 7 occasions.

His club-list included Troon, Ayr, Partick Thistle and Clydebank Juniors.

William died on Wednesday, 9th February, 1921, in Wellington, aged 45.

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Bio Extra

The son of Charles Shannon (ship caulker journeyman) and Agnes Shannon (née McDonald) who were married in June 1868, in Govan. Both parents were Irish. Like so many of our players of the era, John was involved in the shipbuilding industry from the age of 15, with his particular skillset being joinery. From following his census and story, we know that he lived and worked in Govan, Jarrow, Troon and Clydebank, so we can surmise that he followed the work.

Contemporary reports described him as a genial chap, full of life and go, small in height, but of firm build with a fair amount of speed. He was a half-back specialist from his early days and played with the highly succesful Troon team, founded 1891, who won several cups in their first 6 years. He was said to be idolised in Troon, and this might explain why he stuck with them in particular for three full seasons. International recognition came his way in 1895 when he was capped for Scotland Juniors in a 6-5 victory over England, played at Kelburn Park, Maryhill, on 16 March 1895.

William guested for Ayr in April 1896 and "he shaped up well" according to the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, although nothing came of it in terms of a big move. In season 1896-97, William was the captain who led Troon to the Irvine & District League title. For a couple of years he had been tipped for the top, and it looked like he had got his move at the end of that season. St Mirren had reportedly signed him in May 1897, but that deal seems to have fallen through as he was still playing for Troon by the start of 1897-98.

Just a matter of weeks later, he got the call to join Partick Thistle, who had just moved into their super new ground at 'Meadowside-on-the-Clyde' and were all set for their first-ever season in the top-flight. The committee gave William the nod for the midweek friendly match against Celtic on 8th September 1897. There were 7 changes to the historic side which had defeated the Scottish champions, Hearts, in Thistle's first-ever top-flight game, 4 days earlier. The experimental Jags showed up fairly well, but lacked the guile to break down Celtic's solid defence and, after 2 halves of 35 minutes, the Celtic won by a goal to nil. It wasn't until two months later that William was given his "proper" debut, standing in for Lamont who was on representative duty. Thistle defeated St Bernard's by 5 goals to 3 in their ninth League fixture, but William got injured and his chance to build some momentum was lost.

William returned from his injury 4 weeks later and got the nod for the home League game with Celtic on the 11th December 1897. It was a bit of a hammering, Thistle losing by 6 goals to 3. He played two further League games during the season, but the 6-2 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle and the 5-2 defeat to Third Lanark at Old Cathkin signalled the end of William's first-team competitive action at Thistle. He stepped back to the juniors with Clydebank and presumably worked nearby.

William's family had previously moved to Durham for work in the early 1890s, and he was married and moved back down there by 1911. He was bound for New Zealand in 1921, but within weeks of arriving in the country he died from a perforated gastric ulcer in Wellington Hospital on 9th February 1921. He was laid to rest in Karori Cemetery in a suburb of the city.


Historian's note: William's date of death is given as 11th February 1921 at 'Find a Grave', but the marine return register (for deaths at sea) states 9th February 1921.

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