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Ray Wilson dead: England 1966 World Cup winner dies, aged 83

Mirror logo Mirror 4 days ago Mel Booth

Bobby Charlton standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Credits: Daily Mirror © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Daily Mirror England World Cup winner Ray Wilson has died aged 83.

The outstanding left back, who spent most of his career with Huddersfield Town and Everton, was revealed two years ago as having battled Alzheimer’s disease for several years, reports the Huddersfield Examiner.

Composed and strong on the pitch, he will always be remembered as a member of the successful 1966 side 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.

Born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire on December 17, 1934, Ramon Wilson — believed to have been named after a Mexican silent-movie idol — became an apprentice on the railways after leaving school but was quickly spotted playing amateur football by Town.

An inside 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.

Bill Shankly watched the match and, together with 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.

a man standing in front of a group of people posing for the camera: Credits: PA © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: PA

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 was transferred from Town to Everton a month later, having made 283 appearances in blue and white stripes, and became a fixture for over 100 matches at Goodison Park, winning the FA Cup with them in May 1966 in a 3-2 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

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.

a man standing on a baseball field © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited

With injuries starting to take their toll, Wilson was granted a free transfer to Oldham Athletic for the 1969-70 season and finished his career the following season at Bradford City.

Having always lived in Huddersfield, Ray set up a successful undertaker’s business after retirement from playing, living in Calderdale and, in more recent years, in Slaithwaite with his loving wife Pat.

He 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 tag line ‘Legends Are Rarely Made’.

a group of young men playing a game of football: Credits: Mirrorpix © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Mirrorpix

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.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited “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.

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