Another great footballer you never saw. Again ask your old man about him. This next player was (in one way) the original Beckham, or a better description – the original Maldini because like his Italian counterpart he played for only one club.

To commemorate Euro ’96 the Post Office issued a set of Football Legends stamps & one of them was:

Billy Wright on a stamp

I’ll explain the “original Beckham” thing in the moment but I’ll start with the 2nd thing first.

William Ambrose “Billy” Wright was born in Ironbridge, Shropshire (thus the nickname) and first joined Wolves in 1938, but not as an apprentice. In those days it wasn’t uncommon to leave school early to find a job and the 14-year old Wright worked as part of the ground staff. Eventually he took to the field as a player and a year later – at aged 15 – he made his first team debut in a 2-1 win against Notts County. Two years later he signed a professional contract, but at the time the 2nd World War was happening and Billy joined the Army as a PT instructor, but still played for Wolves whenever possible.

After the war he rejoined Wolves and was the club captain when in 1949 they won the FA Cup and with the original captain marvel Wolverhampton Wanderers became the team of the ’50’s winning the First Division Championship in 1954, 1958 and 1949. In the twenty years that Billy played football it was at the one club, Wolves. Another distinction for Wright the same as John Charles, he was never cautioned and never sent off.

Unlike other Centre Halves this solid defender stood at only 5′ 8, but again unlike other defenders at that time he a skilful gentleman of a player with an eye for a decent pass. Respected by all his peers Billy was appointed the captain of the England team and led them in three World Cups (1950, 1954 & 1958). He also became the first footballer player in the world to win 100 caps for his country.

There was also another world footballing first when Billy got married. Maybe a pioneer because he wed a member of a popular singing group. Thus becoming the original Beckham.

Billy Wright and the Beverley Sisters

In an attempt to keep some privacy the England Captain along with his pop star Fiancé were married in Poole Dorset, but the word got out. When they arrived at the registry office they were greeted by thousands of fans, plus the press.

Sometime during this era Billy caught the singing bug from his new wife and together with a group of friends had a good old fashioned sing-alongs:

» Billy Wright & Friends – Singsong Just For Kicks (Pt 1)

» Billy Wright & Friends – Singsong Just For Kicks (Pt2)

Further reading:

Extra Time:
A couple from his missus and her siblings:

» The Beverley Sisters – Old Enough To Know

» The Beverley Sisters – It’s Illegal, It’s Immoral, Or It Makes You Fat

Even more reading: