Of all England’s 1966 World Cup winners, Ray Wilson is probably the least celebrated.
Ray, now aged 77, played at left back on that memorable July afternoon at Wembley when England defeated West Germany 4-2 to lift the glittering Jules Rimet Trophy.
The celebration scene of the red-shirted Bobby Moore being carried shoulder high by his victorious team-mates and holding the trophy aloft has become one of sport’s best-loved images but little is ever made of Ray’s contribution to that magnificent achievement.
Ray was born in Shirebrook in 1934 and after being admitted to the England Hall of Fame four years ago it is only right and proper that he is accepted into the North Derbyshire’s own version for post-war sporting heroes.
After leaving school he became an apprentice railwayman but it was his footballing talents that got him noticed and he was spotted by a scout from Huddersfield Town.
And following his National Service, the then-manager of Huddersfield - the legendary Bill Shankley - signed him up.
He made his debut in the mid-1950s and quickly established a reputation for himself as one of the best full-backs in the business, playing his first game for England in 1960 and competing for the Three Lions in the 1962 World Cup which was staged in Chile.
While at Leeds Road, Ray made 30 appearances for the national team and he remains the club’s most capped England player. In 1964, he moved to Everton and helped the Goodison Park club win the FA Cup two years later which meant that 1966 was a significant double-winning year for the man from north Derbyshire.
At 32 he was the oldest member of the England World Cup winning team.
His semi-final appearance against Portugal was his 50th cap and in all he represented his country 63 times.
His replacement as full back in the national team was Leeds United’s Terry Cooper. Ray collected an FA Cup runners-up medal in 1968 and moved to Oldham Athletic in 1969, retiring from the game in 1971.
Briefly, he was caretaker manager at Bradford City but instead of continuing to pursue career in football management or coaching, Ray became an undertaker in Huddersfield.
He has now retired and received an MBE in 2000.
Welcome to the North Derbyshire Sporting Hall of Fame, Ray. Who would you like to see added to the Hall of Fame?
Send your nominations of post-war men and women sporting heroes to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (01246) 504528.