Ray Wilson, who has died elderly 83, had the bottom profile of any participant in England’s 1966 Global Cup final-winning workforce, and typically appreciated to stay it that method. He was once a quick, professional, cellular left-back who was once capped for his nation 63 occasions, performed in each England sport within the 1966 finals, and was once one of the crucial best possible defenders his nation has produced. But he saved firmly out of the limelight and, not like maximum of his friends, made no try to make a residing from soccer after retiring from the sport – who prefer as an alternative to pursue a occupation as an undertaker.
Wilson was once crucial member of the 1966 Global Cup workforce, now not just for his resilient defensive qualities, his tempo and his powers of restoration, however for the additional pressure he gave to the assault. Within the absence of true wingers, he and his right-back spouse George Cohen presented the England supervisor Alf Ramsey some extent of velocity and penetration at the flanks.
Thus, within the semi-final in opposition to Portugal at Wembley, it was once Wilson’s shrewd, lengthy go to Roger Hunt that arrange England’s first objective. Costa Pereira, the Portuguese goalkeeper, raced out desperately, attaining the ball at complete stretch, handiest to play it directly to Bobby Charlton, who promptly despatched it into the web. Within the last, too, undeterred by way of an early error when he contrived to transparent the ball weakly to the ft of Helmut Haller, who drove it house to present his workforce the lead, Wilson was once keen to sign up for in assaults.
He was once one in all handiest 8 within the 1966 squad who performed each tournament within the finals, and was once at the pitch for all 570 mins of England’s marketing campaign. Such was once his prowess that even the supremely confident England captain, Bobby Moore, declared that “it was once a convenience to play along him”. Of the 37 England suits that Wilson and Cohen performed in combination as a full-back partnership, they misplaced simply 3.
Wilson had additionally figured in all of England’s video games within the 1962 Global Cup in Chile, however even he may just do little in opposition to the outstanding wiles and devastating tempo of Brazil’s right-winger, Garrincha, who tormented the England defence within the quarter last, which they misplaced Three-1.
Even supposing at 31 Wilson was once the oldest member of the 1966 Global Cup squad, he persisted to carry off more youthful challengers for his England position till 1968, when he was once nonetheless first selection and ever-present in his place on the Ecu Championship in Italy as England completed in 0.33 position. Alternatively, the third-place play-off tournament in opposition to the us in that match proved to be Wilson’s final look for England, as an increasingly more tough knee and the emergence of the younger Leeds United full-back Terry Cooper mixed to deliver the curtain down on his global occupation.
A Derbyshire guy, born in Shirebrook, Wilson changed into an apprentice railwayman after faculty, and when Huddersfield The city signed him he was once enjoying as a left-half. He made scant affect in that place – such a lot in order that he was once eager about giving up the sport. Known as for nationwide provider within the military, he was once posted to the Heart East and detested it. On his forearm he sported a tattoo that learn “Egypt by no means once more”.
As soon as demobilised, he was once bedevilled by way of a chain of accidents, however the the most important match in his occupation was once his translation to left-back by way of Huddersfield’s then supervisor, Invoice Shankly. Having made simply 1/2 a dozen league appearances within the 1955-56 season in Department Two and handiest 13 the season after, Wilson changed into an ordinary member of the workforce from 1957-58 onwards, and made his debut for England, in opposition to Scotland, as a 2d Department participant in 1960.
Within the 1964-65 season, after 266 league appearances for Huddersfield, he was once transferred to First Department Everton for what was once then the really extensive sum of £40,000. In 1966, in a while earlier than the Global Cup finals, he was once a member of the Everton workforce that beat Sheffield Wednesday within the FA Cup last. He was once at Wembley once more two years later in the similar festival, even though that last was once misplaced to West Bromwich Albion.
By means of 1969, after greater than 100 league video games for Everton, he had moved to Oldham Athletic in Department 4. However he was once there for only a season. He gave the impression two times within the 1970-71 marketing campaign for Bradford Town, the place he had a 10-match spell as caretaker supervisor, however then left soccer altogether to arrange an endeavor industry in Huddersfield along with his spouse’s father.
He ran the company till retirement in 1997 and, possibly as a result of his a few years within the occupation, was once famous for his gallows humour. When his previous England colleague Cohen was once suffering via a bout of most cancers in later lifestyles, Wilson phoned him to invite how he was once getting on. Cohen spoke back that he was once doing simply high-quality, however, detecting a slight air of unhappiness in his buddy’s voice, requested what the subject was once. “Smartly, I used to be ringing to provide you with a deal,” he spoke back.
Like all different contributors of the victorious 1966 England workforce, Wilson needed to wait a few years earlier than receiving any honour for his achievements, however sooner or later, in 2000, he was once appointed MBE. In 2004 he was once identified with Alzheimer’s illness.
He’s survived by way of his spouse, Pat, whom he married in 1956, and their two sons, Russell and Neil.
• Ray Wilson, footballer, born 17 December 1934; died 16 Might 2018