Wolverhampton Wanderers was today saddened to hear of the death of former Molineux defender Eddie Stuart who passed away in Wrexham this morning following a long illness at the age of 83.
Born in Middelburg, South Africa in 1931, Eddie was a South African Cup winner with Johannesburg Rangers at the age of just 16 before his move to England to join Stan Cullis’s Wolves squad in 1951.
In all Eddie made 322 appearances for Wolves scoring just one goal – ironically on his debut in a home defeat against West Bromwich in April 1951 when he played as a striker.
He played one more game that season but then had to wait almost two years before he got back into the first team when he played the final 12 games of the 1953/4 campaign as Wolves homed in on the Championship title for the first time in the club’s history.
Eddie’s cause in establishing himself wasn’t helped by the form of the regular full-backs, Roy Pritchard and Jack Short, and the fact that he picked up a tropical virus in Egypt on a stopover from a break in his native South Africa in the close season of 1952. So serious was his illness, it almost claimed his life.
But after those 12 games he was to make the right-back position his own over the next eight seasons during which he was a Championship winner in both 1958 and 1959. He missed just six games in those two seasons.
Eddie was immensely proud when he was made captain of the club in 1959, following the retirement of Billy Wright. He had also captained the team in 1953 when Wolves played the South African national side in a friendly to mark the opening of the Molineux floodlights.
He moved to Second Division Stoke City in the summer of 1962, helping them to the title and, for him, it meant a quick return to English football’s top flight.
He later moved to Tranmere Rovers and then Stockport County before moving into non-League circles with Worcester City where he became player manager.
To Eddie’s wife Cynthia, his family and friends, the club offers its sincere condolences.
CEO Jez Moxey said: "Eddie was one of the legends who played such a key role in Wolves reaching the pinnacle of both British and European football thanks to their achievements in the 1950s.
"He remained in close contact with the club following his retirement, and we were always pleased to welcome him to Molineux whether for a game or special events such as the Hall of Fame dinners.
"Eddie will be fondly remembered by all Wolves’ supporters, and as a club, we send our sincere condolences to his family and friends."