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Billy Wright, CBE (6 February 1924 – 3 September 1994) was an English footballer for Wolverhampton Wanderers. A statue of him stands by their stadium in his memory.
Born William Ambrose Wright in Ironbridge, Shropshire, he played in the wing-half and other defensive positions. Billy was the first ever player to represent his country a hundred times. He captained England during their campaigns at the 1950, 1954 and 1958 World Cup finals.
His association with Wolves began in 1934 when he was taken on as a member of their ground staff; he made his first-team debut in 1939, becoming club captain soon after the Second World War. With him they won the First Division title three times (1954, 1958 and 1959) as well as the FA Cup in 1949. During his 541 appearances for Wolves and his 105 games for England, his disciplinary record was second to none — he was never cautioned or sent off by any referee. Of his 105 International appearances, 90 were as captain (an all time record shared with Bobby Moore); 70 were consecutive games.
He retired as a player in 1959 and was awarded the CBE soon after. He became manager of Arsenal in 1962, but was unable to bring any success to the club.
Wright left management and later became a television pundit and Head of Sport for ATV and Central Television. He also joined the Board of Directors at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wright became a minor media personality, and his marriage to Joy Beverley of the Beverley Sisters (at a time long before the era of footballers being known for having celebrity girlfriends) was one of the most successful showbiz marriages.
Wright was made an inaugural inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his impact on the English game.
He was named the Midlands' greatest footballer by BBC Midlands Today following a public vote in May 2007. He died from stomach cancer in 1994, aged 70.
What else was happening in the year Billy won his first cap...
The year that was 1946…
• Following abortive mediation by the Americans, Chinese Nationalists and Communists fail to keep the peace, and civil war breaks out that lasts until 1949 • On 24 February, Juan Peron is elected president of Argentina • On 5 March at Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill coins the phrase 'Iron Curtain' in a speech attacking the Soviet Union • On 27 April, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East begins its work in Tokyo. On 12 November 1948, former prime minister Hideki Tojo and six others are sentenced to death • On 22 July, Zionist terrorists bomb the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 and injuring 45 • On 3 June, Italy becomes a republic • On 23 November, the bombardment by French troops of Haiphong in north- east Vietnam, killing about 20,000, starts the war of independence in Indochina (ends 1954) • The first digital computer is demonstrated at the University of Pennsylvania • Dr Benjamin Spock publishes The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, a book that has a profound effect on the upbringing of the products of the postwar baby boom •
• There were no Football League Champions in 1945/46 due to World War II • Derby County defeated Charlton Athletic 4-1 AET (after extra time) in the FA Cup Final • The Grand National winning horse was ‘Lovely Cottage’ • The Epsom Derby winning horse was ‘Airborne’ • Golf's British Open was won by Sam Snead • Oxford won the Boat Race by three lengths over Cambridge • Snooker’s World Championship Final ended Joe Davis (England) 78-68 Horace Lindrum (Australia) • The Wimbledon tennis singles tournament saw victories for Yvon Petra of France (mens) and Pauline Betz of USA (ladies) • American Sport – The first Super Bowl did not take place until 1967 – The first NBA Championship did not take place until 1947 – Major League Baseball World Series: St. Louis 4-3 Boston Red Sox •
What else was happening in the year Billy won his 100th cap...
The year that was 1959...
• On 1 January, Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro enters Havana and proclaims himself prime minister • The 17 March uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule is brutally suppressed. The Dalai Lama flees to India, arriving there on 31 March after a 300-mile trek • Soviet space probe Lunik 3 takes the first photographs of the dark side of the moon • Films include Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot, Jean-Luc Godard's A bout de souffle (Breathless) and Michelangelo Antonioni's L'avventura (The Adventure) •
• Football League Champions were Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Wolves leaving Manchester United in the runners up spot • Nottingham Forest defeated Luton Town 2-1 in the FA Cup Final (the big cup story this year was Norwich City’s giant killing run to the semi-final. The Canaries, who, at the time, competed in Division 3 South, defeated Ilford, Swindon Town, Man Utd, Cardiff, Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United before losing out, after a replay, to Luton Town in the semi) • The Grand National winning horse was ‘Oxo’ • The Epsom Derby winning horse was ‘Parthia’ • Golf's British Open was won by Gary Player • Oxford won the Boat Race by six lengths over Cambridge • F1 Champion was Jack Brabham driving for Cooper • The Wimbledon tennis singles tournament saw victories for Alex Olmedo of USA (mens) and Maria Bueno of Brazil (ladies) • American Sport – The first Super Bowl did not take place until 1967 - NBA Championship: Boston Celtics 4-0 Minneapolis Lakers – Major League Baseball World Series: Los Angeles 4-2 Chicago White Sox (MVP Larry Sherry) •