have collected and collated many things on the life of
the great Billy Wright. The most treasured thing of all
came following his sad departure. When Billy died I wrote
a letter to Joy Beverley care of my beloved Wolverhampton
Wanderers. I thought no more about it, but then I got a
fancy envelope in my post. I thought it was an invitation
or an advertising gimmick. When opening the envelope I
just could not believe my eyes. it was a letter from Joy
Beverley, and it reduced both my wife Shirley and I to
tears. That letter is now framed and has pride of place
on the wall in my Wolves Memorabilia room. I shall
treasure it until the day i die. Joy wrote so many kind
words, not only to me but also about her darling Billy,
as she called him. Please make sure when you write your
book that you let the readers know what a loving, caring
man that Billy Wright was; not only in football and his
devotion to Wolves and England, but also how he cared and
loved people regardless of whether they had connections
with football. Joy was the greatest love of his life, and
Shirley and I wish to thank her publicly for giving us
her time and thoughts at was surely the hardest moments
of her life. I am a disabled person, and with not being
able to work for the past nine years I have devoted my
life to WWFC. I have supported the club now for 45 years
and in that time William Ambrose Wright was, without
question, the greatest of all WWFC players I have known.
KEITH and SHIRLEY DUNN Boston Lincs
I always touch Billy's statue for luck on my way into the ground before every home game. How lucky Wolves were to have him. I am a season ticket holder in the Jack Harris stand.
TOMMY BARRATT Corby, Northants
The 3rd round of the Cup was the most exciting day in the football calendar. In January 1966 we (that is, Arsenal) had been drawn against Blackburn Rovers away. The start of the Cup campaign gave all Arsenal fans hope. For as long as we could remember the League was out of reach by January. With the undimmed optimism that characterises the real fan we reserved a compartment on the football special. None of us had experienced the joy of seeing Arsenal at Wembley. We remembered vaguely hearing about the valiant efforts of the nine fit men who lost to Newcastle in the 1952 final but this was going to be our year.
Billy Wright had been manager for about four years. Despite more than a decade of under achievement the Arsenal were still one of the big names of football. They were able to pay large transfer fees and attract big name players despite not having made a realistic challenge for the league title since they last won it in 1953. They had also been able to attract an
England footballing legend to be their manager. Billy soon found managing more difficult than playing and by early 1966 the fans and the press were becoming restless with the continuing lack of success at Highbury. At twenty to five on that Saturday in January 1966 Arsenal's season was over again for another year. Beaten 3-0 by Blackburn, the team had touched rock bottom.
The journey home was a sombre affair. We had a struggle to get our reserved compartment which had been occupied by fans in a less than friendly mood and we travelled in complete darkness when the lights failed. The promised buffet car was nowhere to be found. As we approached Euston I found myself standing next to the manager, yes Billy Wright. Despite the pressure he must have been under Billy was warm and friendly to we fans who were uneasy in the company of the man most of us felt by then should be replaced.
He thanked us for supporting the team and regretted not being able to reward us with a win. What a lovely man I thought. I was still next to Billy as we started to walk along the platform towards the exit. There was a great deal of shouting coming from behind the barrier. I realised that a large group of Arsenal fans had assembled to meet the train and they were not in a happy mood. The cries were "Wright out. Wright out." I can still picture the long stretch of platform between us and the barrier. I can still hear the cries of "Wright out" getting louder and louder as we approached that barrier. Billy was walking alone. There were no club officials near him and we, the supporters ,dropped behind him, whether out of respect or embarassment I don't know. The man walked into and through this hail of abuse.
If only, I thought, they knew what a nice man he was!
ROGER WINFIELD London
I became a Wolves season ticket holder in 1994 at the tender age of ten, but it was not until later in my Wolves education that I came to fully appreciate the achievements of Billy Wright Unfortunately these circumstances were his death in that year of 1994, and I remember the following Wolves home game against Tranmere. The minute's silence before the match was immaculately observed by all present at Molineux. Sitting in the stand named after Mr. Wright. I felt that this man must have done something very special for the club and his country that all fans respected. Following the week's events and the moving funeral, I questioned my Granddad on Billy Wright, and he told me of how he had represented England over 100 times and Wolves over a number of years. He also pointed out to me that he was never booked in his entire footballing career, which was a surprise to me, especially as he was a defender. So although I didn't have first hand experience of seeing Mr. Wright in action, I could gain a picture in my head of just how much of an asset he was to English football in general and Wolves in particular.
JONATHAN TAYLOR (17) Wolverhampton
i am one of the lucky ones to have seen the great Billy Wright play and I also met him in unusual circumstances. It was during Billy's early years at Molineux. I myself was in the ATS at the time, and Billy was still a serving soldier. I came home on leave one weekend and, because I loved dancing, went to the local dance at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall. Billy was there, and I was really chuffed when he asked me for a dance, although he had yet to make his full impact at Wolves. It was a ladies excuse me and we had hardly gone a dozen steps when an attractive blonde tapped me on the shoulder and politely said, "Excuse me." Ah well, at least Billy had asked me for a dance. I vaguely remember that at the time he mentioned he also had a little taste for classical music. Billy proved that he was not only good at football with those magical feet of his.
NOTE FROM NORMAN GILLER: One of the anecdotes I shall be sharing in the book is how, after the Wolves B team had been tanked 6-1, the legendary Wolves manager, Major Frank Buckley, told Billy he should take dancing lessons to improve his balance. Few forwards managed to lead him a dance!