|I did not have the
good fortune to meet Billy Wright personally during my
frequent visits to Molineux in the late forties and early
fifties, but in that time I witnessed some fabulous games
which remain in my memory to this day. One game, in
particular, was the first match in the peacetime Football
League after the War when Wolves beat Arsenal 6-1 and
young Wright played a blinder. Quite apart from the games
themselves, I shall always remember the sight of Billy
leading his Wolves team out on to the pitch, carrying the
ball in his own inimitable way (so well reproduced in the
fine statue in Waterloo Road) and somehow giving the
impression to all that he was about to enjoy himself.
That was precisely what he did on most occasions
with never a questionable tackle or word; spreading the
ball around with the utmost care and accuracy to allow
those such as Hancocks and Mullen to finish off the
moves. It is always difficult to compare great players of
different generations, but it is my opinion that Wright
was possibly the best all-round half-back that England
has ever produced. Oh, that we had his likeness today!
KEITH BAKER Stafford
Billy Wright, the West Stand at Molineux. Billy Wright, the statue in front of the Golden Stadium. Or at least, thats what he is to thousands of teenagers like me. For years, Ive come to Molineux wondering who the legend was. Just to look at his record is to understand why this home-grown jewel came to be such a hero. I didnt witness his playing career or his managerial period but just by looking into the sparkling eyes of those who did as they recount to me his story gives me a window into the gentleman, the sportsman that was Billy Wright. He wasnt my hero; needless to say there are the rare individuals who play that position for me today, but, when its my turn to pay tribute to my heroes, I hope I have as many good memories as Billy gave you. One day I would like to be a full-time writer, and I would like to be lucky enough to have a footballer of Billy Wright's stature to inspire my words and feed and fire my imagination. So heres to Billy Wright. Heres to your hero.
I have appealed to Her Majesty, and was then referred to Downing Street, for a knighthood for our Billy, CBE. They said it was impossible to bestow a knighthood posthumously. Since then, it has been proposed that a knighthood be bestowed on Mr George Harrison, (deceased ex Beatle) which, seems likely, I have no complaints about this, I loved the Beatles.
However, much as I loved the Beatles, if a guitar-plucking pop star is thought of more highly than our favourite son, who represented his country for what was then a record number of times, epitomised the fighting spirit of England with his rare qualities and skills, for so long a period, and with so many honours, with performances and records that are unlikely to be equalled ever, then there is something wrong in this land of ours.
Come to think of it, Sir Geoff Hurst, because he lives and breathes, is so honoured (best of luck Sir Geoff, we were all pleased on THE day). Sir Stanley Matthews, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Tom Finney. great footballers all. But it is my contention that Billy Wright was, and will always be, the greatest of them all, the best English footballer that ever pulled a white shirt over his head (not to mention, the Old Gold and Black). As long as I live, I will endeavour to strive for Billy's true recognition. A KNIGHT OF THE REALM. HONOURED BY THE MONARCH, AND ALL ENGLAND.
RAYMOND KYTE Wolverhampton
I feel a bit funny typing this as a Wolves fan a bit on the young side to have experienced Billy. I just wish to say that as an unashamed Wolves supporter living in Manchester the first words I hear from any football fan, whatever the colour, when I say I'm a Wolverhampton'er is "Billy Wright". He commands respect not only throughout the country but, throughout the generations.....I just wish I'd been there to see him.
JULIAN HODGES Manchester
Rex Stranger, who was in the same soft drinks business as us, was chairman of Southampton FC and a director of the Carlton Hotel Bournemouth (I have been MD of Purity Soft Drinks for more than 56 years). Mr. Stranger invited me to a match at The Dell, and he arranged for me to stay at the Carlton. I was delighted to find myself in the company of Billy Wright, who was staying there. This was in the 1950s and he was captain of Wolves and England. We got talking, and it led to Billy agreeing to lend his name to an advertising campaign for my company. HIs name was printed on thousands of drip mats. I paid him a fee of £20, which shows how the commercial world has changed since those innocent days. Billy was a charming man, without a shred of arrogance. He always represented his club and country with great dignity, and I considered it a privilege to have known him.
DOUGLAS S. COX Belbroughton, Stourbridge
My late grandfather, George Harris, was a Wolverhampton supporter, and in his spare time he used to run a local Sunday league side. Without any fuss, Billy Wright used to turn up at the local park and watch Granddad's team, encouraging them from the touchline and showing all the enthusiasm of a true football fan. Granddad saw many of Billy's great performances at Molineux and he said that although he was a fairly short man he looked like a giant the moment he pulled on a Wolves or England shirt. Like everybody of my Granddad's generation, he was very very proud that Billy came from the Midlands. We will not see his like again.
NIGEL HARRIS Springfield
As a Wolves supporter for more than 63 years, I can speak with some authority about Billy Wright the player and also Billy Wright the man. I was the public address announcer at Molineux for thirteen years and also served as press officer, and have for many years been a match-day commentator for Radio Wulfrun, Wolverhampton's hospital radio station. The pleasure of being witness to Billy's undoubted sporting talent was only to be surpassed by the privilege of having his company. From his days as the youngest apprentice right through to becoming a director, he was always the same: courteous, humorous and kindly, and ever available to give advice and encouragement. That was the man I grew to like and respect. The legend is over, but the memory of William Ambrose Wright, son of Shropshire, idol of Molineux, will never ever fade.
RAYMOND C. F. BROWN Penn, Wolverhampton
I have been an ardent Wolves fan since the mid-fifties, and Billy Wright was always a particular favourite. I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife, Joy, in unusual circumstances. It was in the celebrity car park at Wembley Stadium, where I was on duty as a Metropolitan Police officer. Billy was having trouble extracting his car, and I willingly assisted him. We chatted, and the direct result was that he kindly autographed a 1940s photograph of himself that has pride of place in my Billy Wright memorabilia collection. I have visited his birthplace at Ironbridge, and have just about everything that has been published by or about him. The way he took time out to talk to me at Wembley and then go to the trouble of letting me have the autographed picture was a lovely gesture and typical of the man.
TERENCE W. BOWN Axminster, Devon