The name Billy Wright is still known and respected all over the world, including my country Sweden. He was one of the most famous players in football who inspired a young boy in Sweden, Ingvar Carlsson later Prime Minister of Sweden to become a Wolves fan. Billy Wright was a true sportsman and gentleman. A great servant to Wolverhampton Wanderers, England and to football in general
TRULS MANSSON Stockholm, Sweden
Norman Giller note: Truls is arguably the No 1 overseas supporter of Wolves, and his riveting website at www.trulswolves.com should be a must place to visit for Molineux fans.
In the early 1970s I managed a nightclub in Broad Street, Birmingham, which was close to the ATV studios. Billy used to be a regular visitor, usually in the company of presenter Simon Smith. I was able to see close-up what a modest, unassuming fellow he was, and I can vouch for the fact that he was a lovely man to talk to. He was always ready to listen to the 'ordinary' customers, and he made them feel important. I met many celebrities during my four years in the club, and Billy stood out as the most humble, polite and pleasant of them all.
J.A. GRIFFIN Birmingham
I speak as a Blackburn Rovers season ticket holder, and an Ewood Park regular for more than fifty years. Even though he played for Wolves, Billy Wright was always one of my favourite players. While doing my National Service in the 1950s I went out of my way to see him play at Molineux. It was Wolves against Leeds and Billy was marking Welsh giant John Charles before his transfer to Juventus. Leeds had just won promotion to the First Division, and Wolves were considered the kings of Europe after their victories over the likes of Honved and Moscow Dynamo. This was in the days when football was all about physical contact. I remember Malcolm Finlayson, who had just taken over from Bert Williams in goal, being magnificent under pressure at a time when forwards could shoulder-charge goalkeepers, but he was made even more secure by the cover he got from Billy. No matter what the awesome Charles tried Billy was a match for him in the air or on the ground. It was a remarkable performance by Billy when you consider that he was at least five inches shorter than the man who was then probably the best centre-forward in Europe. Then, just when it looked as if Billy had shut out the Welsh master, Charles struck twice with two superb goals. What has stuck above all else in my memory is the way Billy and Big John hugged each other at the end of a no-quarter-given battle. It was a wonderful display of sportsmanship, and as a neutral in the crowd I applauded this as much as if it were match action. Billy was a great ambassador for his club and for his country, and for that I salute him.
BRIAN GILL Fulwood Lancs
England against Scotland, April 1959. Billy Wright's historic 100th international cap. I was in the crowd willing Scotland to spoil Billy's party. We (that is Scotland) gave as good as we got that day, but the match was settled by a brilliantly headed goal by a young blond forward called Bobby Charlton, who had survived the Munich air crash just over a year earlier. Along with all the thousands of Scots at Wembley that day I stood and applauded Billy as he was carried shoulder high to the dressing-room at the end of the match. He was a marvellous player for England, and I just wish he had been born a Scot!
JOHN FORRESTER Carlisle
Billy Wright was manager of Arsenal when I first started supporting them as a schoolboy in the early 1960s. He used to get some terrible stick from the Highbury fans, who were impatient to get back to trophy-winning ways. I was queuing for the autographs of players outside Highbury when Billy came out. There was some booing because we had lost that day; I think it was to Tommy Docherty's Chelsea. I stuck my autograph book out, and instead of sweeping it aside as several of the players had done Billy stopped and signed it with a smile. He tousled my hair and said, "Keep up your support, sonny. You are very important to the club." I was a Billy Wright fan from that day on, but within a few months Arsenal had sacked him. I thought it was unfair at the time, and within a few seasons the side he had started to build was proving itself the best in the country. If only the Arsenal board and all those supporters who continually booed him had been more patient and given him the time he needed to get us properly organised. There were tears in my eyes the day Billy died, and I thought of the day he gave me his autograph. How many other managers under that sort of pressure would have bothered? He was a very special person.
JIM PRIOR Devonshire, ex-Potters Bar
Back in the 1970s I attended a sporting club in Southend where Billy Wright was the guest of honour. I recall him saying in his speech that after playing 105 times for England the only things he was remembered for was the World Cup defeat by the United States and the hammering by Hungary at Wembley. What a wonderfully modest man not to have boasted about the other 103 games he played! He stayed at the dinner until after midnight happily signing every menu card that came his way. Billy struck me as being a very humble man despite all that he had achieved. It was an honour to be in the same room as him.
P.V. JONES Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
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