No 32 (in a series of several): Sir Billy Wright (1924 – 1994)
Billy Wright became the first footballer in the world to play 100 times for his country when he captained England to a 1-0 victory over Scotland at Wembley Stadium on April 11th, 1959. He would win a further five caps to round off a record breaking international career that included 70 consecutive appearances – a record that remains unbroken- and a total of 90 as captain – a record that he shares with Sir Bobby Moore.
Wright spent his entire career with just one club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, with whom he won three League Championships (1953–54, 1957–58, 1958–59) and an FA Cup (1949). He made his league career at the age of 15 under then manager Major Frank Buckley who was initially unimpressed with the young Wright. Buckley threatened to send him home because, at 5’ 3”, he thought he was too short to become a professional. Fortunately he had a change of heart and Wright went onto make nearly 600 league and cup appearances for the Wolves.
Wright played alongside Stan Cullis from whom he inherited the Wolves captaincy and who he would later play under when Cullis took the reigns at Molineux in 1948. When Wright turned thirty Cullis persuaded him to switch from wing-half to centre-half a change that no doubt helped extend his career. The change gave Wright a new lease of life as the linchpin of the defence and playmaker and it was in this position that he excelled for England in the 1954 World Cup finals in Switzerland and again in Sweden in 1958.
Thanks to wolvesheroes.com for the picture.