|I never met the great
man but, like many growing up in the Black Country, I had
been weened on the folklore of Molineux from an early
age. He struck me as a true gentleman, a terrific leader.
One who inspired and whose personality demanded a
respect. Maybe I am biased, but I personally think that
the statue that bears his name is one of the best of its
kind. You can stand under it and imagine what it must
have been like to follow him out on to the pitch,
catching glimpse of the motto on the way out of the
tunnel . . .
NEIL PATERSON, Cheltenham
I was privileged to be a guest of Wolves director John Harris during the Christmas period of 1993.The game was against Bolton Wanderers at Molineux, Billy was then a director himself. We were in the Golden Room, having just made the journey by car on the M6 from Wigan. It was relatively early and not many people had arrived. I was with my brother-in-law and his friend, who was actually a Bolton fan. We were sitting having drinks. Suddenly, the door opened, and in walked Billy.
"Hello there. Hope you've all had a happy Christmas. All the best...", he whispered, walking across the room smiling and into the private director's door. " And the same to you," I replied. I was shell-shocked. I'd just been privileged to meet, if that was the appropriate word, Billy Wright. What struck me was his civility and cheerfulness; he was clearly very ill at the time.
I am 47 years old , so I wasn't old enough or lucky enough to have seen him in his playing days. But this was a special day, in more ways than one: Wolves won by one goal to nil; and I'd met Billy Wright...
I first saw Billy Wright play for Wolves, I was ten years old. It was the Autumn of 1954 against Newcastle United and I watched with awe as he doggedly subdued the great Jackie Milburn. I then had the privilege of seeing every other home game that he played. The only time that I 'met' him was when he was running out of the Wolverhampton Town Hall after the celebratory banquet for the winning of the First Division Title in 1958. It was akin to being hit by a heavyweight boxer. He was so polite and genuine as he profusely apologised. I don't think I washed the hand that he shook for quite some time afterwards. He was not only a great ambassador for the game of football, he was a true sportsman. Off the pitch he was a gentleman on it he was uncompromising but always fair and the greatest memory for me was also the saddest. I was present at the memorable 'Colours' versus 'Whites' match at Molineux in August 1959 when he officially announced his retirement before the kick-off.
The atmosphere was indescribable, tears mixed with admiration; and for the duration of the match there was a lump in everyone's throat because you knew that you were witnessing, not only the end of an illustrious career, but the end of an era. That phrase has been well used, but in the case of William Ambrose Wright, it is an historic fact! I have a comprehensive collection of Wolves players on cigarette and trade cards and, of course, pictures of Billy Wright outnumber all others. To be represented in such a way is a further testament to the universality of his appeal and the regard in which he was held. I still get that lump in the throat, as I pictorially trace every step of his footballing life through these miniature portraits of a giant of a man. Thank you Billy for the best childhood one could have!
LAURENCE FOSTER, Terenure, Dublin
Billy will always be my hero since he is the first player to make Wolves famous for all the right reasons. It is my hope that the current squad will be able to fire up their passion akin to what Billy had for the club to make the once mighty Wolves proud again; and back at the top where we should belong. I look forward to your book on Billy and my best wishes to Joy. I am sure she still looks beautiful.
Y. LIM, Singapore
As I was born in 1974 I never actually had the good fortune of seeing Billy Wright play, except on video and TV replays, but he is still one of my idols. The players of today and tomorrow could learn a great deal from the way he played for his club and country and he should get more recognition for his achievements. Thanks for the great history Billy.
GAVIN WILKES, Hereford, www.thewolvessite.co.uk