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As a teenage schoolgirl I supported Wolverhampton Wanderers, and lived near to where Billy Wright stayed in digs. It was always a thrill for us hero worshippers when Billy and other players travelled on the same bus from the town to our stop. Another treat was to have tea in the Copper Kettle where the players might have tea after training. All this a far cry from the lives of players today. I still have my autograph book with Billy's signature, 'Bill Wright'

PAT EVANS Milborne Port, Sherborne


I was born in 1969 so missed (through no fault of my own) the Great Man play. Yet every time I hear his name or see his marvellous statue, I go cold. Not only synonymous with our great Wolves club but also everything great about English football. Billy and Joy, the original you know who – need I say their names? What a real Superstar. If only I had been born 30 years earlier, if only.

MATT O'CONNELL London


My recollection of Billy was when – playing against Everton in the 50's – he stooped to head out a rocket shot from our Tommy Egington. Unfortunately, he did it with the top of his head. He was taken off and rushed to Walton Hospital while the game was still on. and they kept him in overnight for observation. That evening I visited my wife in that hospital, and there wasn't a nurse to be seen. When I asked my wife where they all were, she said: 'Oh, some footballer was brought in injured ,and they have all gone to see him" ( This was some two hours after the game ended). I looked in as I left, and gave him a nod. Nice guy who often got us Evertonians mad, but, yes, a nice guy!

BILL POLAND Huyton


I was invited to join the Arsenal youth training scheme back in 1964 as a very small, but – as I was told by the then Arsenal youth team coach Don Howe – a talented schoolboy player. Billy Wright was the Arsenal manager and, as an eleven year old, I had little idea of the pressure and constraints he was under because Arsenal were going through a rough patch, to say the least. However, Billy attended almost all of our training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday evenings and encouraged, laughed and joked with all us kids from age 11 to 13 years. I will never forget the time myself and another boy (we were by far the two smallest, but easily the most noisy) were larking around in the marbled dressing rooms. Billy came in and jokingly grabbed us, one under each famous arm. He threw us into what seemed a gigantic wicker kit basket being prepared for Arsenal's next away game. He shut the lid and shouted, 'O kay, Bert, the kit's packed and ready for Moscow!' Even at that time, as I later realised, his job and health were on the line, yet he had time for us juniors. Arsenal led the way in those days for talented boys and adopted a youth policy second to none, instigated and inspired by Billy. The fruits of all this came after Billy left. My only regret is that I was too young to see him play, only very poor clips from the England v Hungary game. My father is a pretty good judge and he said he was one of the greats and his record speaks for itself. I am proud to have met him.

STEVE STUDDS Oxford


About ten years ago I was invited as a corporate guest to attend the Autoglass Trophy Final at Wembley and was able to take my football-mad, son who was about 13 at the time. There were many guests and prior to the match we were treated to a formal lunch. I noticed that further down our table, but too far away to talk to, was Billy Wright. I explained to my son that I must say hello to him as he was my first football hero, even though I then went on to support my local side West Ham. Naturally my son supports West Ham. At the end of lunch as we were all leaving to take our seats for the match I spoke to Billy and told him that he was my first football hero, and that I was so pleased to meet him and have the opportunity to shake hands. He smiled as he shook my hand and said that surely I was too young to remember him. I was 48 at the time! He then shook my son's hand and asked him who he supported. When he replied, West Ham, Billy said they were a good team and played very good football. I am sure that this brief conversation was typical of Billy. I wonder if today's millionaire footballers will have as much grace as he when they are as old as he was.

ROY TRATT Coulsdon, Surrey

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