The Association’s Hall of Fame recognises professional footballers from Shropshire who have gone on to represent their country.
PAUL EVANS (The Marches School)
Born in Oswestry, Paul Evans played for the Shropshire Under-19 team when still only 15 before leaving school to join Shrewsbury Town. After making his debut in 1991, Paul went on to make 248 appearances in midfield in all competitions, scoring 41 goals, before transferring to Brentford in 1999 for £75,000. He was selected for Wales at U17 through to U21’s and finally secured two full caps with games against the Czech Republic and Croatia under the managership of Mark Hughes. After a successful spell at Brentford, where he captained the club, he subsequently played for Bradford City, Blackpool, Nottingham Forest, Rotherham, Swindon, Bradford City and finally a brief speall at Oxford United before finishing his career in 2008. Paul became assistant physio at Leicester City who were challenging for promotion to the Premier League in 2013. In 2014 Paul was appointed physiotherapist at Championship side Leeds United.
BOAZ MYHILL (The Marches)
Although born in the United States, he moved to Shropshire at the age of one. He appeared for Shropshire Schools on many occasions before being signed at 16 years old by Aston Villa without making the First Team but made first team appearances on loan with Bradford City, Macclesfield and Stockport. In December 2003 he joined Hull City where he immediately established himself as a first team regular as his new club won successive promotions in 2003/04 and 2004/05 and then, in 2008, a further promotion to the Barclays Premier League via the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley. Boaz made 28 Premier League appearances during Season 2008-09 and then had 5 full Welsh international caps. Boaz joined newly promoted West Bromwich Albion for a fee, believed to be in the region of £1.5 million pounds and shared the goalkeeping position with England international Scott Carson. In July 2011 he was involved in a year long swap deal with Ben Foster, another England international goalkeeper. Boaz was first-choice goalkeeper at Championship side Birmingham City and has performed well both in domestic competitions and in the Europa League befoe injury disruped his season. At the start of season 2012-13 Boaz returned to West Bromwich Albion and represented Wales against Belgium and Serbia in September 2012 in the 2014 World Cup qualifiying competition.In 2012-13 Boaz has vied with Ben Foster for the WBA goalkeeping spot, but has appeared in 7 Premier League fixtures, 2 FA Cup ties and 1 Carling Cup tie. In addition he has made 3 appearances for Wales during the 2012-13 season, before announcing his retirement from international football in 2014 to concentrate on his goalkeeping career at West Brom.
BERNARD McNALLY (Grange School)
Bernard was born in Shrewsbury and attended the Grange School and was soon snapped up by his local club, making his debut for Shrewsbury Town in 1980. He went on to make 346 appearances in all competitions, scoring 36 goals from his midfield position. During this period he made 5 appearances for Northern Ireland and, in 1986, he was selected in the Northern Ireland Squad for the FIFA World Cup Finals in Mexico, though he did not play in the tournament. In 1989 he was transferred to West Bromwich Albion, the highlight of his career at The Hawthorns being an appearance at Wembley in 1993 when Albion won the Division 2 (now League 1) Play-Off Final. He subsequently played for Telford United and was later the first Manager of the newly formed AFC Telford United. He took up a role in youth development for Shrewsbury Town during the 2013-14 season.
JOE HART (Meole Brace School)
Joe Hart attended Meole Brace School and was a member of the Shropshire Under-16 team which reached the Final of the English Schools Inter-County Trophy in 2002/03, losing to Sussex at Leyton Orient F.C. He made his Shrewsbury Town First Team debut in the Nationwide Conference against Gravesend & Northfleet in April 2004 and his Football League debut in April 2005 against Notts County. In 2006 he was transferred to Manchester City, where he has so far made one Premier League appearance. Joe has played for England at several different levels and was in the England Under-21 Squad which reached the semi-finals of the UEFA European Championships in 2007. In Season 2007-08 he has made himself regular first choice for both Manchester City and England U21, making his full international debut at the end of the season in England’s match against Trinidad & Tobago. He continued in the First Team until the arrival of Shay Given in January 2009. In the summer of 2009, Joe was a member of the England U21 team that reached the Final of the European Championship and he then secured a loan deal to play for Birmingham City in 2009-10. After a successful season at Birningham City he was selected for the 2010 England World Cup squad and then returned to become first choice at both Manchester City and England the following season.
Joe has at present played 22 times for England at senior level being on the losing side twice, against the Netherlands and Italy. He won a Premiership Winners medal with Manchester City for season 2011-12. He was England`s No 1 goalkeepe in the Euro 2012 competition and played in all 4 matches in the Ukraine. Joe won another Premiership in season 2013-14 and was England`s first choice goalkeeper for all three of their matches in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He has started season 2014-15 in fine form for both England and Manchester City.
Joe Hart is welcomed into the Hall of Fame by Howard Thorne and SSCFA President Alan Hopkins
DALIAN ATKINSON (Wrockwardine Wood School)
Dalian Atkinson was born in Shrewsbury but grew up in Telford, attending the Wrockwardine Wood School. During his years at school, other schools in the county dreaded being drawn against Wrockwardine in the cup competitions. A natural athlete with awesome pace, his capacity to win the game with moments of magic became commonplace. The connection between Bob Ellis and Bobby Robson at Ipswich Townwas to bear good results for Dalian and he signed professional for the club in January 1985. He spent four seasons with the club making 49 appearances and scoring on 18 occasions. In 1989 he moved on to Sheffield Wednesday for a substantial fee and in one season made 38 appearances with 10 goals. He then took in the European tour and moved to Real Sociadad for two seasons but returned to English football when he joined Aston Villa iib 1991. Re-juvenated, Dalian had a wonderful period at the Villa with several sensational goals including Match of the Day winners but in 1995 he set off for Turkey, joining Fenerbache. However, the following season he was back in English football once again, this time with Manchester City, where in 1996 he made just seven appearances with a return of two goals. There then followed a succession of spells with overseas clubs beginning with South Korea. A Shropshire lad, he had enormous talent and enjoyed an illustrious career.
PAUL BRACEWELL (Blessed Robert Johnson School. Wellington)
Top of the Hall of Fame for boys from Shropshire Schools FA is undoubtedly Paul Bracewell, a superb professional and wonderful role model for any aspiring young footballer. Though not of Shropshire birth he was to receive his secondary education at the Bob Ellis Football Academy within the Blessed Robert Johnson (BRJ) School in Wellington. He signed professional for Stoke City in 1980 and during the following three seasons would play 123 games. He was transferred to Sunderland in 1983 and in his opening season played 38 games. In May 1984 he moved to Everton where, in the following four seasons, he established himself at the highest level, winning Championship medals both at home and in Europe and gaining full caps with England. In his first season with Howard Kendall’s side Everton won the First Division Championship and entered Europe. In the following season they finished second. After winning 3 England caps, he was then hit by serious injury, missing a whole season. In August 1989 he returned to Sunderland where he experienced both promotion and relegation in successive seasons. In June 1992 he made the short journey to Tyneside signing for Newcastle United where he played in the newly formed Premiership. His form remained outstanding and in the three seasons with Newcastle he would gain a Championship league medal.. In 1995 he moved back for the third occasion to Sunderland where he once again won promotion to the Premiership. In October 1997 he would make the move to Fulham where in his second season he guided them to the championship of the Second Division playing in 26 games. He was briefly Manager of Fulham and later of Halifax Town. An astonishing career of 569 league appearances and 22 goals plus four league championship medals, European medals and full international caps.
GERRY HITCHENS (Highley)
Born in 1934 in Kidderminster – but Gerry Hitchens lived and was educated in the county mining town of Highley in South Shropshire. It was whilst playing for the Highley Welfare Miners Football Team that he was spotted and he eventually found his way to Cardiff City, where at the age of 20 he signed professional. He had four seasons with them making 95 appearances and scoring 40 goals. Aston Villa moved in for his services and a further four seasons saw him make 132 league appearances for the Villa in which he scored 78 goals. At the age of 26 he signed for the Italian giants Inter Milan. The remainder of his professional career was spent in Italy and he went on to play for Torino; Atalanta; and Cagliari. Four years earlier John Charles (Leeds United and Wales) had moved to Juventus in 1956 to establish himself as a giant within the Italian game but by 1963 the ‘Gentle Giant’ would return to English football with Cardiff City for three seasons. After a similar success story of adapting to Italian football, Gerry also eventually returned to England where he played non league football for Worcester and Merthyr Tydfil.
BILLY WRIGHT (Coalbrookdale High School)
Billy Wright was born in Ironbridge on the 6th January 1924 and would go on to be one of the legends of the English game of football. He is associated with Wolverhampton Wanderers and England. At Molineux a statue stands as tribute to his achievement in the world of football. He was a one club player joining Wolves in 1945 at the end of the war. He would play twelve consecutive seasons with the club amassing a total of 490 league games with a return of thirteen goals. On the international field Billy Wright would become a household name the world over, and as Captain of England he gained the magic one hundred caps during his career. An enormous achievement given that there were fewer internationals in those days.
One of the greats in English Football history.
DAVID EDWARDS (Mary Webb School)
David Edwards joined Shrewsbury Town on leaving school and made his First Team debut as a substitute against Scunthorpe on the final day of the 2002/03 season. He established a regular place in the Town team and as a Welsh Under-19 and Under-21 international. He joined Luton Town in summer 2007 and made his debut for the Full Wales international team on 17th November 2007 against the Republic of Ireland at the Millennium Stadium. His first start for Wales came a few days later in a heroic goalless draw against Germany in Frankfurt. In January 2008 he joined Wolverhampton Wanderers and was a member of the Squad which won promotion to the Premier League in 2009. By the summer of 2009 he had 14 full Welsh international caps.
David has made nearly 50 appearances for Wolves, but has been plagued by injury. His all-action style has resulted in several fine performances, but few can have given him more pleasure than scoring in a 2-1 win against Manchester City past his fellow Salopian and good friend Joe Hart in season 2010-11. He was contracted to Wolves until 2014, but signed an extension as Wolves were promoted to the Championship as League One Champions in season 2013-14 with Dave playing a prominent role under Kenny Jackett.
JAMIE TOLLEY (Ludlow School)
Jamie Tolley became Shrewsbury Town’s youngest ever player when he came on as a substitute in the F.A. Cup against Oxford United in November 1999 aged 16 years and 193 days. He subsequently became a leading member of the Town line-up, captaining the team on occasions. After 181 appearances for Shrewsbury, during which time he won 12 Welsh Under-21 caps, he moved to Macclesfield Town in 2006 where he made a further 63 appearances over three years. In the summer of 2009 he joined Hereford United.
Jamie went on to star for Wrexham at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premiership and performed giant-killing heroics in the FA Cup. He later moved to play for Colwyn Bay.
BILLY JONES (Belvidere)
Billy Jones was born in Shrewsbury and attended Belvidere School. He made his League debut for Crewe Alexandra at the age of 16 in October 2003 and has played regularly ever since. He has England caps at Under-16 and Under-17 (both as captain) and also at Under-19 and Under-20 levels. After 132 appearances for Crewe, Billy joined Preston North End in 2007 and became a First Team regular at Deepale. Billy was voted Player of the year for Preston inseason 2010-2011. He secured a transfer to West Bromwich Albion and became a Premier League player in June 2011 on a three year contract. In the summer of 2014 Billy moved to fellow Premier League side Sunderland.
JOHNNY HANCOCKS (Oakengates)
A dimunitive figure who wore size 3 boots Johnny began his career with Wrekin Schools and played for Oakengates Town in the Birmingham League. In 1938 he turned professional and played a whole season for Walsall in the old Third Division South. With the outbreak of the Second World War Johnny played for the Army and representative sides representing Wrexham and Shrewsbury. In 1946 he joined Wolverhampton Wanderers. The transfer fee was £4,000 and his debut came in a 6-1 thrashing of Arsenal. His fine club form led to a call-up for England and he won the first of a handful of caps in a 6-0 defeat of Switzeland in Decmber 1948. Hancocks scored twice in that victory and also played against Wales and Yugoslavia. He would have enjoyed several more caps, but for the likes of Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney. His goals helped Wolves to their first ever league title in 1953/54 and played in the 1949 FA Cup Final where Wolves defeated Leicester City 3-1. He scored 168 goals in 378 appearances and is the club`s fourth highest goalscorer, but holds the club record for the most goals in the top division.