This Time It Is About Scoring Goals, Rather Than Stopping Or Making Them
It has taken 81 years and has come 26 years after his death but a new claim to fame for Billy Wright has surfaced.
Well done to lifelong Wolves fan and prolific author Steve Gordos in unearthing the strong possibility that the club’s most famous player of all time is also the youngest goal-scorer they have ever had.
Various newspaper articles – not just the Express & Star, where the writer’s decades of service included a substantial stint as sports editor – shows that Billy played in Wolves’ first team before he thought he had and was then among the marksmen in the match he wrongly thought was his debut.
We have spoken on this site before of how Billy was mistaken in regarding a friendly win at Notts County in 1939 – played 81 years ago this coming Wednesday – as the first game he played in at senior level.
A fixture against Albion a week earlier was actually his debut but the fact he then scored twice against County while aged 15 years and seven months opens up a new statistical avenue about goal-scoring youngsters.
Gordos has had his findings printed in the latest issue of Backpass under the headline Wright Place, Wright Time and attributes them to his detailed research among old copies of the Birmingham Despatch.
“In his books, it escaped his memory that he had scored two goals as a 15-year-old,” he writes in issue 71 of the football nostalgia magazine.
“Not a noted goalscorer in his post-war career (16 goals in 541 appearances for Wolves), Wright was seen as a forward in his early years at Molineux before switching to become a world-class wing-half and, later, central defender.
“A week after the Albion game (a 5-3 Wolves win) came the trip to play Notts County, which Wright always recalled as his debut.
“What he did not remember was the scoring prowess he showed in the game. He had it down as a 2-1 victory when it was in fact 4-1 and he grabbed two second-half goals in the space of two minutes.”
Billy struck in the 55th and 56th minutes at Meadow Lane as he, in the words of the Despatch correspondent, ‘cut in from the wing’. The Express & Star also carried a report of the early wartime friendly and referred to him as being well built at just over 5ft 8in and 10st 7lbs.
Gordos therefore asks: “The man who made football history by becoming the first in the world to win 100 caps may thus have set a new Wolves record – has there been a younger scorer in a first-team game for the club?”
Once more, we strongly recommend Backpass to our readers and hope they will support the publication in these difficult times.
The latest front cover has a photo of a diving Tony Waiters and mention of a lengthy interview inside with Wolves Heroes’ premier contributor, Charles Bamforth. Among the angles covered in that are the ex-Blackpool and Plymouth keeper’s long association in Canada with Les Wilson.
Elsewhere in the newly-published issue are an obituary of Gerry Harris, reference to a point-saving goal by Glenn Hoddle at Mansfield, an appraisal of how Wolves were squeezed out of the 1946-47 title chase by Liverpool, an appearance by Robbie Keane in a Coventry dream team and, also at the home of the Sky Blues, a photo of Tim Flowers.
To find out how to order this high-quality magazine, please click on the icon to the right that shows John Richards in colour.