Everton playing legend and 1966 England World Cup winner, Ray Wilson, has died at the age of 83 the club have announced.
Though he was signed after the Toffees' 1963 League title success, Wilson is remembered as an icon of that decade who starred in Everton's famous FA Cup success and on his country's road to the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966.
Success came late to Ray Wilson. By the time he won the FA Cup with Everton and the World Cup with England in 1966, he was already 31 years old. The success was well-deserved, however, as during his time at Huddersfield Town Wilson had established a reputation as the finest full-back in the country. Although lightly-built, he was strong in the tackle and blisteringly quick over short yardage. Not that he often needed to be — he had an uncanny sense of positioning which suggested a higher level of awareness. His qualities weren't limited to defending, and with his cool, imaginative distribution he fitted perfectly into the Everton passing game.
Wilson joined Huddersfield, his first club, as a forward, but after failing to impress either there or at wing-half, moved to left-back. He settled in the number three shirt and was honed as a full-back by the Huddersfield manager, a certain Bill Shankly, proving himself good enough to represent England and winning a significant proportion of his 63 caps while playing in Yorkshire.
The majority were gained in his time at Everton, for whom he signed in July 1964 in an exchange deal involving a payment of £35,000 and Mick Meagan. It wasn't the first time Wilson had tried to leave Huddersfield, nor the first time Everton manager Harry Catterick had tried to buy him — although his original advances were made when he was in charge at Sheffield Wednesday.
Things didn't go to plan immediately for Wilson at Goodison Park. In his first home game, v Nottingham Forest, he sustained a hip injury which kept him out for nearly four months. On his return he became a fixture in the Everton side, his play if anything improving, and his career peaked in 1966 with those two Wembley triumphs.
Two years later he was again injured, this time damaging a knee to the extent that it stripped him of much of his pace. It probably also precipitated his 1969 move to Oldham, from where he went to Bradford and served as player-coach and later caretaker-manager, before quitting football altogether — making a total career change and becoming an undertaker. He was finally awarded an MBE in the 2000 New Year's Honours.
Unquestionably one of the finest footballers to wear the royal blue jersey, Ray died on Tuesday evening, aged 83, at The Bell House care home in Huddersfield.
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1 Posted 16/05/2018 at 14:07:36
2 Posted 16/05/2018 at 14:14:50
3 Posted 16/05/2018 at 14:20:17
A true legend.
4 Posted 16/05/2018 at 14:22:15
5 Posted 16/05/2018 at 14:28:58
6 Posted 16/05/2018 at 14:31:44
He wished he'd been allowed to join Everton when he was 18 instead of waiting all those years
He once told me his epitaph will be "Ramon Wilson; Englishman, Yorkshireman, Evertonian"
A true legend
7 Posted 16/05/2018 at 14:40:35
8 Posted 16/05/2018 at 14:57:35
9 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:10:59
RIP -– a great player who endured health struggles in later life but is one reason why Evertonians of his era enjoyed watching their football team.
10 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:11:27
He was the best full-back I ever saw play, not just for Everton but for anyone. A quiet , modest man who was simply an all-time great.
I send my sympathy to his family and feel privileged that I saw him play and play for Everton.
11 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:17:19
12 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:17:22
13 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:23:16
14 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:23:49
One of the funniest things I have seen at Goodison Park was against Manchester United in about 1967. United had a corner at the Gwladys St End and Ray was on the left-hand post; Denis Law stood alongside him and, as the corner came in, Ray started feeling his backside... the pair of them were laughing, no elbows or whingeing to the ref, and the corner came to nothing.
RIP, Ray; another great man gone.
15 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:27:39
16 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:33:19
He was a friend of my family too and I had one of his Football League (v Scottish League in 1965) gold medals - until some scrote stole it from our house in Manchester.
A true, world cup-winning, Evertonian great.
This is a very sad day.
17 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:33:46
Class and quality personified. Never been a better left back play for Everton in my 50+ years of watching.
18 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:39:27
19 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:49:34
Sad, sad day. RIP, Ray.
20 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:51:16
Truly one of the Everton greats.
RIP – and thank you, Ray.
21 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:56:30
22 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:57:53
His achievement of receiving both FA Cup and World Cup medals, at Wembley is unlikely to be repeated. I feel privileged to have seen him in the 'Royal Blue' of Everton.
23 Posted 16/05/2018 at 15:57:54
Unlike many of the English World Cup squad, he was part of a squad that was acres ahead in talent and had a man at the helm who knew what he was doing.
24 Posted 16/05/2018 at 16:18:33
For those who did not see Ramon play, the comments above are not misty-eyed enhanced memories - he was, quite simply, magnificent. Every touch of the ball had an air of class to it, even when he passed the ball back to the goalkeeper he would chip it into their hands, he would not want his ‘keeper to have to stoop to pick up the ball.
He was lightning quick and hard into the tackle. I recall my Uncle Joe coming home from a match at Newcastle, he told us how he was standing in the paddock with his Geordie mates from army days, Ray dived into a tackle and a Newcastle fan shouted harsh words at him. “Shut up and dont be stupid” came another Geordie voice “thats Wilson, he doesnt foul”.
About 8 years ago we were celebrating my dads birthday at Formby Hall Golf Club, and I looked through a window into a lounge where most of the 1966 World Cup winning squad was having lunch. I ventured in and asked Ramon if he would mind coming in to see my dad, who was not too good on his pins. “Tell your dad to come in here if he wants to see him” said one player who shall remain nameless. Ramon just got up, said “itll be a privilege “, and in he came to make a fuss of the birthday boy.
Up until a few seasons ago I would occasionally meet the great man coming down the steps from the Main Stand after the match, always in the company of Derek Temple. I would say “How are you Mr Wilson?”. After a while he smiled and said “You can call me Ray, you know”. I replied “Oh, I could never do that Mr Wilson”.
Rest in peace Mr Ramon Wilson, without doubt the finest left back I have ever seen.
25 Posted 16/05/2018 at 16:25:38
26 Posted 16/05/2018 at 16:30:21
27 Posted 16/05/2018 at 16:44:47
28 Posted 16/05/2018 at 17:02:29
29 Posted 16/05/2018 at 17:31:55
30 Posted 16/05/2018 at 17:32:03
31 Posted 16/05/2018 at 17:33:34
A reference to his national service there, which he detested
32 Posted 16/05/2018 at 17:48:42
33 Posted 16/05/2018 at 18:21:17
As an Evertonian he was always the first player I mentioned when talking about the World Cup winning team.
I never saw him play but as ever, losing an Evertonian always cuts deep. Gone but never forgotten.
34 Posted 16/05/2018 at 18:30:44
35 Posted 16/05/2018 at 18:38:37
36 Posted 16/05/2018 at 18:39:30
37 Posted 16/05/2018 at 18:48:33
38 Posted 16/05/2018 at 18:49:47
39 Posted 16/05/2018 at 18:57:03
After all that's gone on, we should never forget that this club had a soul once upon a time, and players such as Ramon epitomised those qualities.
I feel blessed to have been able to see him play in royal blue, so thank you.
Rest in peace Ramon.
40 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:01:14
41 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:06:29
Best left back I have ever seen. His defensive
duties, tackling and attacking distribution second
I went to the Victoria ground where Ramon made
his debut against Stoke, first game of the season
in the 1964/65 campaign.
We won 2-0. RIP Ray
42 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:09:57
43 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:11:38
44 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:12:29
45 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:18:13
Exactly what I was going to say! Just told my arl feller the bad news. RIP, Ray Wilson.
46 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:24:23
My dad always raved about how good he was, a cut above the rest.
True class. Condolences to his family.
47 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:24:33
Here's an amusing anecdote straight from the horse's mouth. Whilst as I was sitting talking football with Ray, we got talking about how his transfer to Everton came about.
After a few reflective moment's he turned around and said' In all honesty, I wish I had played for Bill Shankly, as he would have got even more out of me than Catterick did'
We'll forgive you Ray.
48 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:25:35
One of the best players to grace Goodison and a world cup winner to boot.
49 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:33:39
50 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:34:09
51 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:35:42
52 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:45:30
It seems defending is a lost art nowadays, what we could do with another world class full back such as Ray now.
RIP Ray Wilson, truly a hero to many, many people.
53 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:47:23
54 Posted 16/05/2018 at 19:51:48
55 Posted 16/05/2018 at 20:37:25
This sentiment was also echoed by Sir Alf Ramsey I'm told.
56 Posted 16/05/2018 at 20:41:45
57 Posted 16/05/2018 at 20:50:54
58 Posted 16/05/2018 at 21:04:31
59 Posted 16/05/2018 at 21:41:12
He was so quick and a true world class player. Real class and, yes, he was great at the overhead clearances!
60 Posted 16/05/2018 at 21:54:10
This guy was gives some definition to the word legend for our club - a word that has been over-used for far lesser players in more recent years.
Condolences to his family at this sad time - a shame they had to see him through that horrible disease.
61 Posted 16/05/2018 at 21:58:39
62 Posted 16/05/2018 at 22:01:07
63 Posted 16/05/2018 at 22:12:10
64 Posted 16/05/2018 at 22:13:07
Sincere condolences to the family.
65 Posted 16/05/2018 at 22:20:37
Condolences to his family.
66 Posted 16/05/2018 at 22:24:11
67 Posted 16/05/2018 at 22:44:53
68 Posted 16/05/2018 at 23:13:39
He would be worth £70m today. RIP Ray.
69 Posted 16/05/2018 at 23:13:40
70 Posted 17/05/2018 at 00:37:27
RIP, Ray, the Only Evertonian World Cup Winner (while playing for us).
71 Posted 17/05/2018 at 01:08:45
End of an Evertonian era today. You were the best we had. Played for us winning the World Cup for England.
72 Posted 17/05/2018 at 01:35:42
Whilst Bally is always his best ever Everton player, Dave Hickson his all-time idol, the vision the player he loved the most, Ray Wilson is the one other player he always mentions other them three lads when he talks about EFC greats.
On a footnote, my Dad has made something of a comeback at Goodison Park in recent years (Mum wants him out the house) and whilst he likes Bainesy as a fellow Kirkbyite, he assures me our Leighton is not in Ray's class.
73 Posted 17/05/2018 at 05:35:07
75 Posted 17/05/2018 at 14:31:55
One of the most cool, skilful, stylish tacklers and footballers ever employed by Everton fc.
76 Posted 17/05/2018 at 16:02:30
That 1966 England team has not faired well in the mortality stakes.
Wilson had Alzheimer's for a few years before he died and of the starting 11 I think Moore (1993 - aged 52), Wilson and Ball (2007 - aged 61) are all dead and Nobby Stiles and Martin Peters both also have Alzheimers and Jack Charlton I heard had some form of dementia/memory issues. That's 6 out of 11. Wilson was the oldest, and Nobby Stiles for example is in his mid 70s, so they are not all "that" old.
Gordon Banks has survived kidney cancer. Cohen has also battled cancer. Stiles has cancer (in addition to Alzheimers). All very sad.
77 Posted 17/05/2018 at 19:33:04
We had five word-class players in the team that day, and Ray was one of them.
81 Posted 18/05/2018 at 01:59:28
I always remember my aunts & uncles saying about getting older, as another friend, or family member had passed on! With me only being a teenager, I had no earthly clue what they meant, but being 67 this year, I've now seen way too many Everton players leave this earth in the last decade or two.
It's just life of course, but it doesn't make it any easier, when one of the truly great Everton, Huddersfield & England players leaves this earth. Thankfully we were blessed with being able to see him during his 5-year stay at Goodison Park.
I used to go on about how Ray deserved a League Champions medal from the 69-70 season, even though he was no longer with EFC!
RIP, Ray, a true gentleman and a fabulous footballer.
82 Posted 19/05/2018 at 02:20:22
83 Posted 20/05/2018 at 12:29:54
Rest in Peace, Ray.
84 Posted 20/05/2018 at 14:23:04
By the way, Roger (#77), we never conceded a goal before the 1966 FA Cup Final, Sheffield Wednesday's first goal was the first we had conceded in the competition that season. You might be getting mixed up with the year we beat Man Utd, I think the only goal we conceded that year was the penalty v Spurs in the semi-final.
85 Posted 20/05/2018 at 15:03:56
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