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Luton – The Legends Series – Wally Shanks

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For the latest in our ongoing series covering those who have achieved legendary status among the support, we feature another former Luton figure who became a fans favourite.

Following on from those already covered – John Moore, David Preece, Mal Donaghy, Brian Lewis, Bruce Rioch, Fred Jardine, Brian Horton, Kevin Nicholls, Tony Read, Steve Foster, Mike Keen, Ian Buxton, Lars Elstrup, Peter Anderson, Graham French, Alan West, David Moss, Terry Branston, John Aston, Paul Futcher, John Ryan, Syd Owen, Marvin Johnson, Malcolm MacDonald, Bob Hatton, Steve Buckley,Chris Coyne, Ron Baynham, John Still, Jack Bannister, Ricky Hill, Chris Nicholl, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Don Givens, Gordon Turner, Brian Stein, Jesse Pye, Raddy Antic, Joe Payne, Max Dougan, Alan Slough, Ray Whittaker, Dave Pacey, Milija Aleksic, Ron Davies, Sandy Davie John O’Rourke, Les Sealey and Bob Morton

The latest ex-Hatter to be granted status in our legends hall of fame is Wally Shanks, as nominated by Geoff Averill.

Although bestowed with a typical British name, Wally was in fact born on the Mediterranean island of Malta but was brought up in Scotland.

Indeed, only the outbreak of World War 2 prevented Wally from joining the Scottish side, Aberdeen. But, with the war having ended, Wally found himself on the books of Chelsea.

However, Wally wasn’t able to get that crucial breakthrough with the West London side and in October 1946 he opted to join Luton Town.

A tough no-nonsense defender, Wally didn’t make an impression, apart from the odd game or two, until 1949 and the tough tackling wing-back went on to make 247 appearances for the club with the only gaps in his ever-present run being courtesy of the occasional injury.

In 1957, with his professional prowess fading, Wally joined the Hatters coaching staff but three years later he severed his connection with Luton Town.

But Wally wasn’t finished with the town of Luton as he developed a career as a businessman opening a shop with his friend Jack Edge, with the shop entitled – Wally Shanks Shoe & Boot Repair Company, at a premises situated 109-111 Bury Park Road.

In 1960 he was joined by a fellow famous Hatter, Gordon Turner, as a result the business moved to 123 Dunstable Road and the famous shop, Shanks and Turner, was formed.

With the West Side Centre built, the duo relocated the business to the spot I recall in 1972, selling sports goods it was often a place I frequented, keen to spend my pocket money on football items.

I am sure many of you visited the shop before or after a Hatters game.

Sadly, Wally passed away, aged 87, in 2010.

Below, is a wonderful montage of his life, courtesy of LUTON VIDS:

Wally Shanks – Mini Fact File

Name – Walter Shanks

Date of Birth – 01-May-1923

Place of Birth – Malta

Position – Defender / Wing Back

Playing Career – Chelsea, Luton Town

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts or memories on the Hatters career of Wally Shanks, please feel free to do so in the comment facility beneath this article.

If you can think of anyone who deserves nominating for coverage in this ongoing series, please drop their name into the comment facility beneath this article.

My thanks go to those who have already nominated faces from the past, they will all be covered, in time.

Next up in the series will be Gordon Riddick as suggested by Chris Winter.


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Luton – The Legends Series – Bob Morton

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1 comment

  • Chris winter says:

    They eventually moved again to Bute street opposite the milk bar if anyone remembers that I used to buy arrows there an make Dutch arrows out of them. Does anyone else remember Dutch arrows?🤔🤔 happy youthful days.

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