Oliver, Ken

Birth Date

10th August 1924


Loughborough, Leicestershire



Biographical Text

Arriving at St James’ Park in difficult times in the late 1950s, the experienced centre-half Ken Oliver helped the club not only to recover but nearly gain promotion. Although he established his reputation at Derby County he had started his professional career with Sunderland and was thirty-three when he signed for the Grecians.  

Ken was playing for works side Brush Sports when he was given the opportunity to sign professional for Sunderland in August 1946. Playing 8 league matches for his new club, he switched to Derby County for a fee of £8,000 in September 1949 where he enjoyed regular first-team action featuring in 184 league games.

By now thirty-three, Ken signed for Exeter City in a £1,250 deal in January 1958. The first signing for newly-appointed manager Frank Broome. he immediately made his debut in the 3-2 defeat at Port Vale and soon totalled 16 appearances in what remained of the season.

Starting 1958/59 as first-choice centre-half, Ken was an ever-present as City finished 5th in Division Four after previously finishing at the foot of the old Division Three South. Attracting attention from Burton Albion in July 1959, which would have meant a return to the East Midlands, Ken remained at St James' Park for the 1959/60 campaign when he made a further 30 league appearances before announcing his retirement having sustained a dislocated ankle against Darlington in April 1960.

Ken died in Derby on 13 May 1994.





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