- Former Three Lions defender Ray Wilson has passed away at the age of 83 after battling with Alzheimer’s disease for several years
- The former defender featured for Everton and Huddersfield, before wrapping up his career at Bradford City in 1971
- He was a member of the English team that won the 1966 FIFA World Cup which was hosted in England
England legend Ray Wilson has passed on at the age of 83 after battling with a terminal disease for several years according to the Sun.
The former Huddersfield Town and Everton defender was a part of the team that won the FIFA World Cup for the Three Lions in 1966.
During his playing days, Wilson was a composed and strong personality on the pitch, and will not be easily forgotten for his exploits that helped them win the global title under Sir Alf Ramsey, although he was never one to seek the limelight.
He is featured on many of the iconic pictures from that day at Wembley, helping to hoist skipper Bobby Moore aloft, and is also in the Upton Park Champions statue of the winners down in London.
Wilson started out as an apprentice on the railways after leaving school but was unable to hide his talent as he was spotted playing amateur football by Town.
He started out as a forward in his early seasons at Leeds Road, it was during a practice match that Roy Goodall suggested he fill in for Laurie Kelly at full back.
Having impressed in the new role assigned to him, Bill Shankly and Goodall - an England full back himself - suggested Wilson take up the position permanently.
While Ray himself wasn’t keen, the path to national and international glory had been set.
He had signed for the club after National Service and emerged into the first team in the 1955-56 season, making his debut in a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United under manager Andy Beattie.
It was under Shankly, in 1957-58, that he became firmly established in the Town team, and by April 1960 he was ready to represent his country - making his England debut in a 1-1 draw with Scotland.
Over the next 12 months he became a fixture for the Three Lions and he was a shoo-in for the 1962 World Cup squad in Chile.
He played in all three Group games and England’s elimination by Brazil in the quarter-finals in Vina del Mar.
Brazil won 3-1 with the help of star winger Garrincha’s double and went on to lift the trophy by beating Czechoslovakia.
Wilson’s other two meetings with Brazil came at Wembley in May 1963, when England claimed a 1-1 draw, and May 1964, when the home side won 5-1 in Rio de Janeiro.
He joined Everton from Town the same year after making 283 appearances in blue and white stripes, and in May 1966, he led the Toffees to the FA Cup triumph, beating Sheffield Wednesday 3-2.
Just two months later, he featured in English football’s greatest day, that 4-2 extra-time victory over West Germany in the World Cup final.
While the crowd was registered at 96,924, the British TV audience peaked at 32.3 million viewers.
Two years later, Wilson was on the losing side in the FA Cup final as Everton were beaten by West Brom, 1-0.
Wilson was allowed to join Oldham Athletic in the 1969-70 season following series of injury that befell him.
A season after, he wrapped up his career at Bradford City after about two decades of active football.
Ray set up a successful undertaker’s business in Huddersfield after retirement from playing, and retired from that business in 1997.
One of Huddersfield Town’s legends, on the 50th anniversary of the World Cup win the club released an all-red second change shirt in his honour - similar to the one worn by England in the final in 66 – and it featured the tagline ‘Legends Are Rarely Made’.
His signature featured in white under the white badge on the front.
Pat issued a statement from their two sons, Russell and Neil, at the time, saying: “We are very grateful and humbled that Huddersfield Town have chosen to honour our father with this kit.
“We have spoken to him about it and he is absolutely delighted.
“Ray often reminisces about his playing days and in particular his enjoyable time at Town, and we’d like to thank the club for doing this tribute and it is lovely to know that Ray is so well thought of at Town.”
He remains Town’s most capped England international while with the club, having played with the Three Lions 30 times while on the Leeds Road books.
NAIJ.com earlier reported that the English national team has named the 23-man squad for this summer FIFA World Cup staging in Russia.
As part of their preparations for the championship, the Three Lions have lined up a friendly game against the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the prestigious Wembley Stadium on June 2.
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