Saturday, 18 December 2010
224 Graham Shaw
Position : Forward
Played : 1994-95 to 1995-96
Appearances : 22
Goals : 0
Graham was signed on deadline day in March 1995 to replace the departing Richard Sharpe. He first made his name at Stoke in 1985 as a pacy and skilful forward who could play down the middle or out wide. However the expected move to a big club didn't materialise and after 99 appearances and 8 goals he went to Preston for £70,000 in 1989. Preston played him as an orthodox striker and he did OK scoring 29 goals in 121 appearances but never really winning the crowd over. In 1992 he was used as part of the deal to bring Tony Ellis back from Stoke. Graham struggled to find his form with a persistent back injury and scored just 5 in 36 appearances. Prior to joining us he had a loan spell at Plymouth where he didn't score in 6 games.
As was to happen all too often over the next few years we had signed a player who was half-crocked. Graham clearly wasn't the player he had been; there was the odd nice touch and fancy flick but he carried no goal threat whatsoever and was back on the treatment table after 4 goalless games. The start of the following season was a bit more optimistic; he scored a couple in a pre-season game and his only senior goal in the League Cup against York but was soon out injured again and after that it was hopeless. Graham then became the only player to be damned by a goal celebration. He came on as a sub against Liverpool and when we were either 6 or 7 -0 down he was flagged offside. Risking a booking he took the ball on and shot into the net turning to the fans with a grin. Some of the Dale following who'd come for the occasion cheered but all the regulars stared in utter contempt. If it had been Whitehall it would have been a mildly amusing fatalistic gesture but coming from him it seemed like an insult, like he thought it was funny that he'd given us no return on our investment. He had recently scored for the reserves and someone drily remarked "I suppose that's his hat trick for the season". Graham made just 3 more appearances after that, then disappeared, not even playing for the reserves. He was doing a law course at the time with the help of the PFA and I guess he negotiated a deal to concentrate on that rather than see out his contract in the stiffs.
Graham had a brief spell with Leek Town but soon quit the game and eventually qualified as a solicitor. He works for Knights in Stoke and was recently in the news when a prospective investor in Port Vale announced he would instal Graham as chief executive much to the delight of Vale fans who dearly wanted an ex-Stoke man running the club.