Simon Garner is a legend at Blackburn Rovers and a popular figure at West Bromwich Albion, Wycombe Wanderers and a smattering of clubs from the non-league circuit.
Two decades after the release of There’s Only One Simon Garner, Blackburn’s all-time top scorer is back with another fascinating insight into the life of a footballer.
With more stories, new insights and contributions from former players and managers including Kenny Dalglish, Ossie Ardiles, Martin O’Neill, Mike Newell and Mark Atkins, Garner: One Last Shot is essential reading for football supporters of all age.
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dinner event with Simon, email us here.
What stood out about Simon throughout his career was his finishing ability. He was a very natural striker with two good feet and he anticipated the game very well.
Out of nothing he could score goals. He was a very good player. If the ball was there he could put it in the net and it is a very special skill to be able to do that. For that reason it was great to play with him. He could find the spaces in behind the defenders and he was always there in the right place.
Not the tallest, Simon’s low centre of gravity and wonderful ball control gave him an innate ability to swivel either side of his marker and shoot at goal. His proud goalscoring record at Ewood Park bears testimony to this.
A great player for Blackburn, and for Wycombe, and a great man. There’s only one Simon Garner.
From humble beginnings in Lincolnshire, Simon Garner would go on to break footballing records at one of England’s most historic football clubs.
Garner: One Last Shot, the new book written in collaboration with Dan Clough and Richard Slater, provides an insider’s view on football in a different era.
Starting under the tutelage of future England boss Howard Wilkinson as a Boston United schoolboy, Garner was signed by ‘the Bald Eagle’ Jim Smith and enjoyed an apprenticeship at Blackburn Rovers – then playing in the Second Division of the English Football League.
Having finally made his debut, he would become a mainstay of the Rovers throughout the 1980s, narrowly missing out on promotion on multiple occasions despite having one of the smallest budgets in the league.
Garner would go on to become the club’s all-time leading goalscorer in 1989 – a record that remains unsurpassed today and is now unlikely ever to be broken.
But things could have been so different. What might have been had he agreed to leave the club for Halifax? Or if offers from the First Division had been accepted by then-manager Bobby Saxton? Offers Simon knew nothing about until this book was written.
Go behind the scenes of a tight-knit club that enjoyed relative success on the field, not least with victory in the Full Members Cup in 1987, and a good time off the field, never letting the stresses and pressures of professional football get in the way of a good night out.
With Jack Walker’s millions came Kenny Dalglish and a host of international superstars and promotion to the new Premiership. And with no place in the team, Garner signed for West Bromwich Albion – managed by World Cup winner and Hollywood star Ossie Ardiles – and helped the club to promotion back to the second tier of English football, before moving on to Wycombe.
Under future Ireland gaffer Martin O’Neill, Garner scored at Wembley to ensure back-to-back promotions for the Wanderers before becoming part of the oldest strike partnership in the league when he played up front with ex-England international Cyrille Regis.
A move into non-league was cut short when Garner was found guilty of contempt of court and spent four weeks in jail, before resuming his football career at Wealdstone where he would win his first league title.
Following successful stints at Windsor and Eton and then Flackwell Heath, he called it a day in 2000.
Read all about this, plus the challenges of organising a testimonial, becoming a TV and radio pundit and then a painter and decorator, by ordering your copy of Simon Garner: One Last Shot now.