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RAY WILSON MBE
Ray Wilson is perhaps best remembered for his significant contribution in helping England win the World Cup in 1966. His numerous appearances, both in League football and at International level, confirmed his place in history as one of the game's most gifted players.
Wilson was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire in 1934 and began his football career playing with Langwith Boys Club and Langwith Junction Imps. In May 1952, he joined Huddersfield Town working as a member of their ground staff and turned professional with the club the following August. It was under the guidance of Bill Shankly he made an excess of 250 League appearances for the club and played for England on many occasions, before joining Everton in 1964 for £25,000 and another player. He made over 150 appearances for the club and helped to bring the F.A.Cup to Everton in 1966. He also played for the Merseyside team in the F.A.Cup final in 1968.
1966 was a good year for Wilson, both at club and International level, with a small matter of the World Cup tournament being held on home soil. His outstanding performances for England during the games played at Wembley confirmed his position as one of the World's most gifted full-backs. After suffering a knee injury in 1969, Wilson signed for Oldham Athletic before becoming player/coach for Bradford City in 1970. In 1971 he retired as a player but continued to work as the team's assistant manager until the end of the season.
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England started the 1966 competition as one of the favorites, due partly to the fact that the tournament was held on home soil, and began their group qualifying games with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay. In the two remaining group qualifying matches England defeated Mexico and France 2-0 in both games. In the quarter-final match against Argentina Geoff Hurst scored the only goal of an explosive match thirteen minutes from the end. England's opponents in the semi-final were Portugal who had the wonderfully gifted Eusebio in their side. In a very entertaining match, England were worthly 2-1 winners.
In the final, played on 30th July 1966 before a crowd of just under 100,000, Haller scored for West Germany in the thirteenth minute, but six minutes later Geoff Hurst scored his country's equaliser. For the best part of the next hour, neither side dominated the match but with twelve minutes remaning Hurst had an optimistic shot at goal which spun up in the air for Martin Peters to knock it home for what would appear to have been the winning goal. However, with seconds remaining, a hotly disputed free-kick from West Germany found its way across the England goal and Weber knocked the ball into the net for a dramatic equaliser which took the match into extra-time.
After ten minutes of extra-time, England scored their third, and without doubt, the most controversial goal that has featured in any football match. Alan Ball chased a long ball towards the corner flag and pulled it back for Hurst, who shot from the edge of the six-yard box with the ball crashing against the underside of the bar. The ball bounced down and then upwards and out of the goal area. Roger Hunt could possibly have knocked the ball in the net, but he turned away raising his hands in jubilation, convinced that the ball had crossed the line. The ball was then cleared for a corner without a 'goal' being given and the Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst ran over to consult the Soviet linesman, Tofik Bakhramov who awarded the goal. This goal is still argued about today and film evidence of the match is totally inconclusive. However, in the last minute, the match was finally settled when England's captain, Bobby Moore, found Geoff Hurst in the centre circle with a long pass. Hurst then set off on one of his long runs and with the immortal words of match commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme 'and there are some people on the pitch. That think it is all over.....it is now!' ringing in the nations ears, Hurst smashed the ball into the net for hid side'd forth and his hat-trick