Steve Perks’ Shrewsbury Town pals are keen to meet for proper send-off

Former team-mates of Steve Perks are determined to meet up and give the Shrewsbury Town hero the send-off he deserves.

Shrewsbury Town 1981-82.
Shrewsbury Town 1981-82.

Perks, who played almost 300 games for Town between 1982 and 1992, died this week aged 58.

And his former Gay Meadow colleagues want to celebrate the life of the Much Wenlock-born shot-stopper, providing guidelines are safe to do so.

Perks’ former Shrewsbury team-mates including Gary Hackett, Brian Williams, Colin Griffin, Steve Biggins, Bernard McNally, Steve Cross, Jon Narbett and Mickey Brown are keen to come together, and will look to include Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson, a stalwart at the heart of the Town defence in the 1980s.

Perks was the goalkeeper of a generation for many Shrewsbury supporters who first attended games during the mid-to-late 1980s, in the club’s greatest era.

He came through the club’s youth ranks alongside McNally and Wayne Williams. They were the local trio in Town’s ranks and played many hundreds of matches between them. Williams, from Telford, died last October.

McNally said: “Steve, Wayne Williams and myself came through. We were there for 10 years together, it’s always a shock to hear the news.

“Gary said to me we must have clocked up some appearances together, to come through the ranks aged 16 from Shrewsbury, Telford and Much Wenlock.

“He was among giants, after Ken Mulhearn in the late 1970s and then Bob Wardle and Steve Ogrizovic. Shrewsbury always had the knack of producing goalkeepers.

“My condolences to his immediate family. I’d hopefully like to meet up, maybe after the funeral, afterwards to have a drink and send him off in our own way. He was such a great, loveable character, who did so well for Shrewsbury.”

“He really loved the game, like all of us back then, when there wasn’t the money, we did it for the love of the game. He did so well after breaking through, coming from little Much Wenlock.

“Steve was very well liked by everybody, a gentleman of the game.”

Father-of-two Perks, who worked as an estate agent, remained fit and, prior to the pandemic, would enjoy weekly football sessions with friends.

McNally, who is also 58, revealed former winger Hackett, who more recently enjoyed a successful lengthy stint in charge of Stourbridge, had been in touch keen to arrange a reunion.

One of the ex-goalkeeper’s close friends was his former team-mate and popular Town midfielder Cross.

Both Cross and McNally revealed their “absolute shock” at his passing.

Cross added: “He was a lovely lad and a smashing keeper as well.

“Steve was a lovely, funny lad, there was no airs and graces.”

Perks was a fully-committed, full-blooded style goalkeeper who would never shirk a challenge and his bravery won him many fans on the terraces.

Cross added with a smile: “We played Hull once and he took out Steve McClaren, his claim to fame was that he wiped out the England manager!”

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