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Billy won 105 England caps, 51 at right-half, 8 at left-half and 46 at centre-half. Captain of England 90 times, he set an all-time record of 70 successive international appearances. Bobby Moore later equalled his captaincy record.
He joined Wolves as a groundstaff boy in July 1938, and remained a one-club loyalist until his retirement in August 1959.
At the end of the war, he played in four Victory Internationals and also appeared in two England 'B' teams and in 21 inter-League matches. An inside-forward in his youth, he later specialised as a midfield anchorman before switching to centre-half. Despite standing only 5ft 8in, he commanded the centre of the defence in the air as well as on the ground.
He played 490 League games for Wolves in 13 seasons, leading them to the FA Cup in 1949, and to the Football League championship in 1953-54, 1957-58 and 1958-59.
England lost only 21 of the 105 international matches in which he played.
He scored 13 League goals for Wolves, and found the net in three England matches.
Footballer of the Year in 1952, he was elected a Life Member of the Football Association and was awarded the CBE in 1959.
Following his retirement, he joined the Football Association with responsibility for the youth and under-23 teams. He became manager of Arsenal in the summer of 1962, and was sacked after four relatively unsuccessful years. Nine of the squad that won the League and Cup double for Arsenal in 1970-71 were signed by Billy. He was appointed Controller of Sport for Associated Television (later, Central Television), and was a successful TV executive for more then 20 years. Billy, who was ambidextrous but did most things with his left hand, was a single-handicap golfer.
He married singer Joy Beverley, of the famous Beverley Sisters, in 1958. and they had two daughters, Victoria and Babette.
Billy was born in Ironbridge, Shropshire on February 6 1924. He died of cancer in North London on September 3 1994.