young lad, I was bought up in the glory days of the '50's
and have inspiring memories of the on-field exploits
while standing in the corner of the South Bank. My
recollection concerns the days when the Wolves team used
to travel to some away matches by train that was also
used by the general public. The team plus officials used
to have a private compartment in the train. My
grandmother used to see a star-struck youth sitting
miserably at home 'dreaming' of the football and silently
kicking an imaginary ball past Bert Williams and similar
activities. She also used to see if her pension and other
small funding could occasionally allow her to spring a
surprise on me. This happened one day when the Wolves
were playing at Everton, and before I knew it I was
aboard a train destined for Liverpool. The Wolves lost
2-1 and I was really disappointed. At Lime Street
station, we prepared for the return journey and,
suddenly, a flurry of activity occurred as the team
boarded the same train. My disappointment was soon
forgotten and replaced by the most magical moment. My
gran disappeared and then returned telling me to take a
walk to the next compartment. I must have only spent five
or ten minutes talking to the Captain of England's
football team. Billy was truly inspirational. I could not
string words together. I was totally gob-smacked. He
waited and helped me along the way talking of anything
that I wanted to raise. There were 'no sides' or
aloofness, just a thoroughly nice person. A few days
later, I went to Molineux to try to get tickets for an
upcoming match. At the time, the players came out of the
dressing room in Waterloo Road after training. Despite a
crowd of people being there, Billy singled me out and
said 'hello' and hoped everything was okay with me. The
Captain of England and Wolves remembering an earlier
conversation with a 'star struck' kid on a train! It made
me feel really something special and I have never
forgotten the charm and friendliness.
RON MYATT Great Wyrley, Staffordshire
I was on holiday in Malta in the late 1970s and met Jimmy Mullen, Billy's life-long friend and former Wolves and England team-mate. Never having seen Billy play, I asked Jimmy if Billy was a good player (foolish question, I know. Jimmy said: 'I'll tell you a story about Billy. I was playing with him in a particular match when I dropped back into midfield. He passed a ball to me and I passed it straight back as I was closely marked.'
I waited for Jimmy to continue, but that was the entire story. I said politely as I could that it wasn't the greatest story I'd ever heard. Jimmy, a charismatic Geordie just smiled.
It was only after a few minutes that the penny dropped. I said: 'You mean that in the countless games you played with Billy for Wolves and England that was the only bad ball he gave you!'
Jimmy nodded and smiled. 'Now,' he said, 'you understand how good Billy was.'
It is the most simple yet most revealing story I've heard, and captures the talent of Billy Wright.
MIKE CHESTERTON Redditch, Worcestershire
When I was nine or ten years old I used to go regularly to Courtaulds every Saturday afternoon in the summer to watch cricket. Billy loved the game and was often there and I used to continually get his autograph. One day I plucked up the courage to ask him to shake my hand. He replied that it would be a great pleasure. I never wanted to wash that hand again! Many years later, in 1973, I had to go to ATV to be interviewed by Gary Newbon. By then, Billy was Head of Sport. Billy took it upon himself to meet me in the reception area and took me through to make-up where a girl came with a huge powder puff and told me to sit down. I protested that no way was I going to have powder on my face, but Billy explained that it was necessary because of the studio lighting and that he always had it done. I thought, 'Well if it's okay for the great man, it's okay for me!' I am retired now and live in Spain, but my heart is still with Wolves and my memories still warmed by thoughts of Billy Wright and the Golden heroes.
RON PARKER Malaga, Spain
I remember going into Wolverhampton town centre as a child when Wolves won the FA cup and waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of the team along with hundreds of other fans. During the 1950's my first job was with Crombie Lacon & Stevens in Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton (still in practice today), and they were Billy Wright's accountants at that time. Billy Wright was always charming, never arrogant or self important. As junior clerk, I had to serve tea to clients. Feeling very nervous the first time I took tea into the senior partner's office, I managed to spill it but Billy just smiled and winked at me with those big blue eyes which certainly saved my embarrassment. I also recall another occasion when he brought the three Beverley sisters into the offices, causing much excitement with their expensive perfume (only for the rich and famous then) filling the air of the three storey building. Just as an interesting comparison Daily Mail mentioned Billy Wright (a leading footballer then) never earning more than £20.00 a week and as a junior clerk I earned £2.50 a week. My current salary compared with footballers today would be quite a joke!
CHRISTINE ILEY Chartridge, Chesham
In my early days of supporting Charlton Athletic at the age of 12, I can recall many a tussle with Wolves during the 50s including a match on Christmas Day in which Charlton scored their winning goal by means of Stuart Leary barging Bert Williams, plus the ball, into the back of the net. It was advisable in those days to arrive at the ground early to avoid congestion at the turnstiles and being early enabled me to witness the arrival of the 'Wolves' team coach. To my surprise Billy was sitting at the front of the coach alongside the driver and as I looked up at him he looked down and winked at me. This simple fleeting moment for me as a young boy was an experience of a lifetime leaving me with an indelible memory almost fifty years later. It seemed akin to being in the company of a god certainly Billy was an 'Icon' of the 50s a wonderful sportsman who was an ambassador for our Country as well as for those 'Wonderful Wolves'
JOHN MARSH Bexleyheath,Kent
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