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On This Day: 1924

PUBLISHED

09:00 6th February 2013

The birth of a Wolves and England great

Today would have been the birthday of arguably the greatest footballer ever to wear the famous old gold and black, Billy Wright.
A name that will forever by synonymous with Wolverhampton Wanderers, William Ambrose Wright was born on February 6 1924 in Ironbridge.
His first appearance in a Wolves shirt came at the age of 14, when he turned out in a reserve game - and he went on to play for the first team at just 15.
The outbreak of World War II put the early stages of his career on hold, but his post-war achievements were extraordinary, and cemented his place among the greats of the game.
He was made captain of the club when football resumed following the conflict, and his talent was soon recognised by then England manager Walter Winterbottom, who gave Wright his international debut in 1946.
Two years later, after strong showings for Wolves, he was given the England captain's armband, before going on to lead his club to their first major honour in over 40 years - the 1949 FA Cup.
League success was to follow, as Wolves were crowned champions in 1954, 1958 and 1959, with Wright missing only a handful of games throughout what was the most successful period in the club's history.
Throughout this time, Wright never relinquished the national captaincy, and skippered his country a record 90 times (a figure that was later matched by Bobby Moore). He was also the first player in international football history to win 100 caps - a milestone he reached in a Wembley fixture with Scotland in 1959.
His eventual tally of 105 caps puts him fifth on the all-time list of England appearance makers, with only Peter Shilton (125), David Beckham (115), Bobby Moore (108) and Bobby Charlton (106) ahead of him.
At the end of his career in 1959, Wright had also played over 500 times for Wolves, and remarkably had never been cautioned or sent off for club or country.
He was awarded a CBE shortly after his retirement, but has never been knighted, despite a campaign on his behalf by fans.
He has been honoured in a number of ways by his former club, with the redevelopment of Molineux in the early 1990s leading to the former Waterloo Road Stand being named the Billy Wright Stand.
Wright passed away in 1994. Two years later saw the unveiling of a statue of the former captain outside the stand that bears his name, while the campaign to get him a posthumous knighthood continues. 

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