The FWA sends condolences to family, friends and fans of Ray Wilson, the former Huddersfield and Everton full-back who won the World Cup with England in 1966 and has passed away at the age of 83.
Wilson was an unsung hero on Sir Alf Ramsey’s side that beat West Germany at Wembley to lift the World Cup, for which he was later awarded an MBE. He was a tenacious left-back with Huddersfield Town and Everton, who both posted messages of condolence.
Everton posted on Twitter: “Everton Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former player, FA Cup winner and World Cup hero, Ray Wilson MBE.”
Huddersfield Town said:
Huddersfield Town is devastated to learn of the passing of World Cup winner Ramon ‘Ray’ Wilson MBE at the age of 83.
Ray is arguably the most successful and best-known player ever to pull on a Huddersfield Town shirt, having been a key member of England’s World Cup-winning team in 1966.
He made 283 appearances for the Club between 1952 and 1964, scoring six goals, and is still Town’s most capped England player ever, representing his country 30 times as a Huddersfield player. Until very recently, he was a regular supporter of the Terriers at home match days alongside his eldest son Russell despite battling Alzheimer’s disease, which he was diagnosed with in 2004.
The thoughts of everyone at Huddersfield Town are with Ray’s wife Pat, his sons Russ and Neil and the rest of his family and friends at this difficult time.
A defender, Ramon Wilson was born in Shirebrook, near Mansfield, on 17 December 1934 . Named after pre-war film star Ramon Navarro, he was working as a railwayman when he was recommended to Town as a 17-year-old.
He signed for the Club as an amateur initially but was given his first professional contract by manager Andy Beattie just three months later. Ray broke into the team during the 1955/56 season as Town battled against relegation from the First Division, making his debut at Manchester United in October 1955. He became a regular under Bill Shankly the following campaign, with Shankly converting him from a left half into a left back, where Ray went from strength-to-strength. Wilson was part of a fantastic Town team that included the likes of Denis Law, Bill McGarry, Les Massie, John Coddington, Kevin McHale and many others.
The first of Ray’s 63 England caps came in April 1960 in a 1-1 draw with Scotland; the first of 30 he received as a Town player. To this day, he is the Club’s most capped England player and the last to feature in a World Cup whilst at the Club (the 1962 World Cup in Chile).
After flirtation with both promotion to the top-flight and relegation in following seasons, Ray left Town for Everton for £25,000 plus Mick Meagan in the summer of 1964. His final Town appearance came in a 3-2 win over Scunthorpe United at Leeds Road on 25 April 1964.
Two seasons later, Ray reached the pinnacle of his career with the Toffees as an FA Cup winners medal was followed by World Cup victory with England, when he was the eldest member of the team. His final England cap followed in the 1968 European Championships.
Ray eventually went on to join Oldham Athletic in 1969 before retiring in 1971, when he spent a short spell as Caretaker Manager of Bradford City.
He chose not to stay in football and enjoyed a career in a successful undertaker’s business in Huddersfield. Alongside several of his World Cup winning teammates, Ray was given an MBE for Services to Football in 2000 and was subsequently inducted into English Football’s Hall of Fame in 2008.