Bill Slater | 1927 - 2018

Wolves are saddened to learn that club legend Bill Slater CBE has passed away at the age of 91.

Slater was known for his love of the football club after making more than 300 appearances in gold and black during the 1950s and 1960s.

The former halfback made 339 Wolves appearances, putting him 24th in the club’s all-time appearance makers list, and silverware accompanied that successful spell.

Born in Clitheroe, Slater famously captained Wolves to the 1960 FA Cup final win over Blackburn Rovers at Wembley, in what was the club’s most successful period.

On the eve of the final Slater was named the Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year, despite being part-time – the only player to ever achieve that feat, and in the same year obtained a BSc degree.

Prior to the FA Cup success, Slater had played his part in a trio of First Division triumphs with Wolves in 1954, 1958 and 1959 – the club’s only three top-flight titles.

Stan Cullis signed Slater from Blackpool, whom he had represented as an amateur in the 1951 FA Cup final alongside Sir Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen. 

His Wolves debut arrived in a thumping 6-2 victory over Manchester United in 1952, replacing Billy Wright who was on international duty, and Slater would go on to become a popular figure in Wolverhampton across the eleven years he spent at Molineux.

A stylish player, firm in the tackle and blessed with no little skill, Slater showed great versatility which helped him earn 12 full England international caps and represent Great Britain at the 1952 Olympic Games in Finland.

Slater’s final Wolves appearance came against Blackburn in May 1963, ironically the same club faced in Wolves and Slater’s greatest hour at Wembley three years earlier.

After playing, Slater became deputy director of Crystal Palace Sports Centre, while also working as director of PE at both Liverpool and Birmingham University.

Furthermore, in 1989 Slater became president of the British Gymnastics Association and later joined the National Olympic Committee, after his daughter Barbara represented her country at the 1976 Olympics Games as a gymnast.

Slater, a father of four and grandfather of eight, rightly received public recognition in his later years in the form of a 1982 OBE and 1998 CBE at Buckingham Palace.

In 2010 Slater was inducted into the Wolves Hall of Fame but sadly passed away on Tuesday, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s and illness.

Slater captured the hearts of Wolves supporters during the club’s most successful period and he will be remembered with great fondness by many people in the city and beyond.

The thoughts of everyone at Wolves are with Bill’s family and friends at this sad time.