Images of the man himself and wife Lynn kindly sent in by the young David Evans
I’d like to take time out here to thank retiring football reporter and local lad Bill Shaw for his unwavering work over the last few years in supplying wonderful, frank and honest match reports for me to publish here on the Brownhills Blog.
Some time ago Bill announced his intention to retire in his role as reporter when the last match is played for the season, and yesterday, Saturday 22nd April 2017 was Bill’s last report from a home match at Oak Park, and as ever it was straightforward and didn’t pander to any delicate sensibilities.
Bill has always been frank, witty and to me as a person who’s not greatly into football, I’ve always found his work engaging, accessible and fun. It’s been the work of a true fan and lover of the club and game, even if it did ruffle feathers from time to time.
As the reports evolved, we moved on to a longer format and lit them up wit wonderful images from the Evans lads – David and Simon, the former always sending me a tranche of great pictures at the end of every game, and Simon deputising when needed whilst also doing a great job on social media.
Bill’s retirement will be a great loss to the community around the club, and I’m sorry to see it; but living in Leicestershire and with some health issues last year I can well understand, respect and appreciate Bill’s decision.
Bill is a Clayhanger lad and has contributed also to several historical threads on the blog, and with his wife Lynn (who has done a great job of refreshments at the Wood since 2010) is well known in the local community. Bill was a member of Walsall Wood Boys’ Brigade and played in their team in the 1960s, and is local football involvement has been long and enduring, his second love being Pelsall Villa.
I’d like to say thanks and cheers to Bill, a strident local voice that will be very much missed, and I’d add that his reports here have garnered a large following. Bill, if you ever wish to return and pick up the pen again, you’d be most welcome.
I wish you well for the future, old pal. Thanks for the fun and frankness. See you down the road, eh?
I include below Bill’s last column from the Walsall Wood match day programme from yesterday, 22nd April 2017 – his characteristically frank review of which can be read here.
RAMBLINGS FROM THE RAILINGS
by Bill Shaw
Good afternoon everyone, welcome to the ML Safety Stadium, a warm Wood welcome to today’s players, supporters and officials of today’s visitors Heanor Town, whatever the outcome of today’s game join us for a drink and a bite to eat in the clubroom afterwards before a safe journey home.
A warm welcome also to today’s officials, referee Daniel Stokes assisted by James Kerrigan and Alan Thomas. I know we haven’t had any assistance on that front over the last few games but I’m told decisions even themselves out in a season, somehow it never seems to work out that way, but as an official told me recently it’s all about opinions. Anyway folks, do give the guys a break occasionally and give them the benefit of any decisions that you don’t agree with.
The title could be sewn up today if Alvechurch win at Shawbury that could also doom Shawbury to the third relegation spot which of course will guarantee us Midland League premier division football next season. That should have been done on Easter Monday at Highgate United when leading 2-0 with 7 minutes left we somehow managed to throw away all three points. It’s never been one of my favourite venues and Monday didn’t change my opinion one bit. Again we stopped Lei Brown from scoring against us for the second time, at 33 Brownie you’re getting too old to be a striker. Congratulations to Bromsgrove on clinching the division one title, they have been there or thereabouts for a few seasons now and will finally make the step up to level five again. If anyone comes up from the West Midlands it’s questionable. Champions Haughmond supposedly didn’t submit the necessary paperwork in December so their elevation is in doubt. West Bridgford from Nottinghamshire are the choice from the East Midlands probably. Well folks, it’s finally arrived, my last home game, it’s been a long, long journey from the days of manager Carl Dwyer and the 2000-2001 season. From then there have been more downs than ups, that of course is why the Midland Combination title in 2012-13 was such an emotional time.
Football management of course is a high turnover occupation and it was down the road at Pelsall Villa where I forged my first long term relationship, football wise, with Mark Bentley. I retired of course in April 2011 with the last game fittingly against Walsall Wood, Nigel Birch however had other ideas and spent Three months working hard to get me to come back to the Wood, which he accomplished. Two months into the 2011-12 season he walked out, but I was home, I was loving being back and of course with the arrival of Swanny in February 2012 a bond and a life-long friendship was forged between us.
I have had some frustrating times in his reign and came close to walking away on more than one occasion, but my loyalty to Swanny and Justin kept me here. There are times over the last two seasons that I’ve been at games on days that I should have been home in bed, so regrettably I’ve reached the state of enough is enough and I’m getting out while I still can.
Thank you to everyone for your incredible support over the years, it has been appreciated. To all the people I’ve upset – TOUGH, you’ll get over it, I told the truth so I have no regrets. The highlight of it all – well there have been so many, but it has to be watching the Guernsey replay from the players tunnel of the National Stadium and the absolute stunned silence when Tom Evans opened the scoring, that occasion was priceless.
For the last time be good, be healthy, stay positive, the last and one of the very best to remember – Out of every adversity comes a seed of equivalent or greater benefit. I’ve had a ball – thank you, take care everyone.
Bill (the mouth) Shaw.