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I saw Billy play many times in my youth (I was about 19 when he retired) but one incident stands out in my memory - a cameo which illustrates his sheer skill and speed - of both foot and thought, not to mention his refusal to take the easy option of fouling an opponent when danger threatened. Wolves were playing at Molineux, defending the North Bank end. I recall that the centre-forward was very skilful, strong and direct - it may have been Trevor Ford. Wolves were on the attack and Billy was left as the lone central defender, just inside his own half on the edge of the centre circle. Suddenly the ball broke to an opponent on the edge of his penalty area. He immediately sent a long raking ball over Billy's head and, as he did so, the centre-forward took off to chase it. The pass was of perfect weight and length. If he could have got onto it he would have had a clear run on goal, one on one with the keeper.

Now, when the pass was struck, Billy was standing almost still, with his back to Wolves' goal. The centre-forward was facing the other way and already well into his stride, perhaps five yards short of Billy. There seemed no way, short of impeding him (which is what would happen nowadays), that Billy could prevent him getting through on goal. But, in the proverbial flash, Billy had not only turned through 180 degrees but he was running just as fast as the centre forward, who was still a yard or two behind him.

Then came the most amazing bit of play. Although Billy must have lost sight of the ball when he turned, as it came hurtling over his head he coolly and cleanly volleyed it back - over his head again - in the direction from which it had come. At full pelt and running toward his own goal! I have never seen anything like it since that day. What a player.

DAVID BRAZIER St Helens, Isle of Wight


My memory of seeing Billy Wright play was in a match that Wolves lost. It was against my team, Bournemouth, in the FA Cup at Molineux in 1957. It was an astonishing game during which Bournemouth's Reg Cutler collided with a goal post and it collapsed. I was 14 at the time, and the memory has remained with me all these years because I was right behind the goal that came down. Reg recovered to score the only goal of the game. What struck me was the sporting manner in which Billy accepted defeat, and the way he kept plugging away with his 100 per cent effort, but without resorting to foul play. I recall our goalkeeper Tommy Godwin pulling off save after save in the second-half.

MARTIN STEVENS Merley, Dorset


I am too young to have seen Billy play, but from the way older Wolves supporters talk about him he must have been both a fantastic footballer and a model sportsman. I am sure that his spirit is with us as we make our bid to get into the Premiership. From all accounts, Billy would have been at home there!

JOHNNY STEEL Telford


Speaking as a Newcastle fan, I always looked forward to Wolves visiting St James. The battles between Wor Jackie Milburn and Billy had to be seen to be believed. They would go at it hammer and tongs for 90 minutes and then finish up in each other's arms, laughing and joking. They don't make them like them any more. Billy and Jackie were real gentlemen in an era when football was a physical contact game.

BILLY SIMPSON Gateshead

33 TRIBUTES

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