Sunday, 16 October 2011
As a youngster, Stan played for his local team, Ryton FC and at the age of nineteen signed for Sunderland. In those days, the Black Cats were a top three side in English football and the raw Ramsay struggled to hold down a first team place. He stayed at Roker Park until February 1928, playing 23 times and scoring a highly credible fourteen times. His chance of regular football came with a move to struggling Second Division club Blackpool and his purchase was seen as vital to lifting the fortunes of the Seasiders. In his first full season there they won the division, the only time in history Blackpool have won an English league title.
Though they struggled in the top flight, Stan helped them survive for a couple of seasons, playing 105 league games in total for Blackpool. Norwich City manager Jim Kerr identified him as a player to do a similar job for his side and Ramsay arrived at the Nest on the 1st of July 1932. The Canaries were just emerging from a slump. In 1931-32 they finished 10th in Division Three South having been rock bottom at the end of the previous campaign. The now experienced Stan went straight into the first team and debuted on the 27th of August 1932. But it turned out to be a traumatic afternoon for him at City's daunting home ground. In the very first minute of the match against Watford he put through his own net as City crashed to a 2-1 opening day defeat. Though they won at Gillingham the following week, Norwich lost their second home match as well, this time to Cardiff City, though Ramsay did manage to get on the scoresheet at the right end this time in the 4-2 defeat.
Slowly but surely however, he did start to make his mark on the team. At full back he was a stopper - a hard tackler who was guaranteed to leave his mark on wingers. In midfield he showed more creativity and after the stuttering opening to that 1932-33 season, Norwich lost only two more matches up until the end of March. Any ideas of promotion were stifled by the death of Jim Kerr in the February and three defeats in April left City trailing in third place behind Brentford and Exeter City.
Ramsay though was emerging as a leader of men and when captain Tom Williamson had his career finished with an injury sustained in the first match of the 33-34 campaign, manager Tom Parker promoted Stan to captain. It turned out to be a marvellous season for City, their best by some distance since joining the Football League in 1920, and it ended with the lifting of the Division Three South trophy. Ramsay played in 38 of the forty two games, instilling commitment and toughness into his players. Norwich finished seven points clear of Coventry City and were elevated to the second tier of English football for the very first time.
Though the Canaries made a creditable start to life at this higher level, and indeed went on to comfortably achieve mid table security, the ageing Stan Ramsay played in only the first nine games of the campaign, losing his full back place when Sam Bowen was signed from Aston Villa and the captaincy to Tom Halliday. In the summer of 1935, and amongst the upheaval of the move from the Nest to Carrow Road, he left the club to become player-manager of Shrewsbury Town, who were in those days a Birmingham League side. A year later he was back in Norfolk playing for Dereham Town.
Stan Ramsay's final record as a Canary was 83 games and just that single goal. He passed away on the 19th of July 1989 in Chipping Sodbury.
Make no mistake, he was a key figure in the history of Norwich City Football Club, playing a major role in the first success the club enjoyed, and he was duly elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002.