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Ray Wilson, superb left back

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Not a lover of that arrogant prick, Steve Curry, but he was on TalkSport the other day and the subject came up about left backs. As we know, Cashley Cole is now the record holder for left back appearances taking over from Kenny Samson in an England shirt.

Curry went on about how many left backs he's watched over the years and Ray Wilson's name came up. Curry then went on to say that Wilson was superb for England and not as good as he was for his club Everton. Now this confused me a bit, as my dad who passed away in 2002 aged 72 loved Ray Wilson and believed for many years that Ray Wilson was the best ever left back for Everton.

His Everton buddies were of the same thinking and wherever I've gone, our older fans can only give their memories of how great Ray Wilson was for Everton. I've been to functions and watched fans queue for a photo and autograph. I've been at Wembley and again, watched fans rush up to him and praise him for what he did at Everton.

I've heard so many fans over my 48 years tell me how great Ray Wilson was. So who was Curry watching in a Royal Blue jersey? If any of our older fans on here would like to put their view on here, or any fan who has heard great tales of Ray Wilson, then please put your story on here and shut that prick up. Ray Wilson was superb for England, and to nearly all our fans who had the pleasure to watch him, he was also 'EQUALLY' superb for Everton.

Rant over and I look forward to your stories that will prove that Ray Wilson is a Royal Blue Legend.

Thank You.

Dave Charles, Liverpool     Posted 10/02/2011 at 09:43:20

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David Thomas
1   Posted 10/02/2011 at 14:38:16

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Ray Wilson was the best full back I have ever seen. Any Everton follower of that era will tell you the same.
Mike Byrne
2   Posted 10/02/2011 at 14:39:01

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Got my confused head here ? you say 'Curry then went on to say that Wilson was superb for England and not as good as he was for his club Everton'.

I read that as he was superb for England (he was) but not as good as he was for the Blues ? ie he was even better for us.

Sounds like a very very big compliment for Ray ? or am I missing something?
Dave Wilson
3   Posted 10/02/2011 at 14:45:36

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Geoff Hurst recently said, of all the players who have played for England since the 1966 World Cup Final, only Brian Robson would have gotten into that team.

Some joker rang talk sport and said what about Cashley? ... nearly crashed me car!
Michael Kenrick
4   Posted 10/02/2011 at 15:01:57

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That's how I read it too, Mike. Perhaps Dave is miffed that he wasn't remembered as being absolutely stonking brilliant in all his England games...
John Barnes
5   Posted 10/02/2011 at 16:15:28

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Best left back I've ever seen. Sansom, Cole? Please, don't make me laugh!
Trevor Lynes
6   Posted 10/02/2011 at 16:13:18

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My best team for EFC ALWAYS contained RAY WILSON without a second thought. He was calm, quick and error free. Full backs were much more defensive in his time so positionally he was excellent. I would say that Alex Parker was our best ever right back. Southall best goalkeeper by a mile.
Dave Charles
7   Posted 10/02/2011 at 16:15:14

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No Mike, not miffed at all. Just a bit annoyed in Curry's view that Wilson did not play as well for Everton as he did for England. He was superb for both and why is Curry speaking such crap.

Mike. If I read it properly, I'm saying that he was equally good for both. I found Curry's view a bit too much in saying that he (Ray Wilson) played better for England than he did for Everton. A pathetic view when he must have only watched him a few times in an Everton shirt compared to fans who had watched for many a game.
Dennis Stevens
8   Posted 10/02/2011 at 16:30:35

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I read it that the comment meant Ramon wasn't quite as good for Everton as he was for England. The only explanation for that view that I could come up with is that he left Huddersfield Town much later in his career than he should (not allowed to leave, really) & so Everton didn't get perhaps all the very best of his playing career. Either way, he was a magnficent player for all three, imo.
Christopher McCullough
9   Posted 10/02/2011 at 17:04:51

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I didn't hear the interview but I guess the interviewer implied that Wilson was better for England, based on your annoyance.

However, you're wording suggests that the interviewer implied Wilson was better for Everton.

So which is it? Are you more of an Everton or England fan?
Ray Roche
10   Posted 10/02/2011 at 17:19:12

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Trevor Lynes

Spot on, Trevor: Southall, Parker and Wilson would be in my choice for the greatest Everton side that I've ever seen. Gary Stevens, for his athleticism or Tommy Wright would run Parker fairly close, but Wilson and Southall were peerless.

Can you remember what you did yesterday?

John Keating
11   Posted 10/02/2011 at 18:33:55

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Have to agree, Wilson was absolute class.

Thing I always remember about Wilson was that he never "wasted" a tackle. He had a knack of sliding in, hooking his leg around the ball, the winger would go arse over tit and Wilson would be up and away on the attack.

Most defenders at that time and before just had a tendancy to go through the man and main stand and into Goodison Road. Yes, classy stuff too!

Trevor Lynes
12   Posted 10/02/2011 at 18:43:15

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Cheers, Mr Roche for backing me up on defensive choices... I seem to remember I had sex yesterday... or was it a haircut???
Dave Charles
13   Posted 10/02/2011 at 18:47:06

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Chris McCullough, what are you on? It's obvious what I'm saying.

I love a smart arse.
Andrew Gilbert
14   Posted 10/02/2011 at 19:33:16

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Yes, it is almost obvious what you are saying Dave but you just didn't write it correctly...

"Curry then went on to say that Wilson was superb for England and not as good as he was for his club Everton."

You need to take the 'as he was' bit out.

Andrew Gilbert
15   Posted 10/02/2011 at 19:39:30

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Pedants rule ok!
Andy Crooks
16   Posted 10/02/2011 at 19:41:28

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Dave, Ray Wilson is the best full back I have ever seen. There is a tendency to believe that the Premier League represents the best in football and that football has moved on. Ray Wilson would have looked good in any era for any club or country.

I am no misty-eyed Evertonian but if I was picking an all-time team to save my life, Ray and Alan Ball would be in it.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
17   Posted 10/02/2011 at 19:54:30

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Uh? ... Er, thanks Andrew.... maybe. I've been confused all thread, and your clarification would make it clearer... except that Dave insists what he meant is what he said.

Dave: please carefully re-read your OP and then answer this re what Curry said:.. or is it the other way around?

a) That Ray Wilson played better for Everton than England;

2) That Ray Wilson did not play as well for England as he did for Everton.

Which is it?
Andrew Gilbert
18   Posted 10/02/2011 at 20:12:11

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Michael, I don't think it's either of those!
Mike Allison
19   Posted 10/02/2011 at 20:48:32

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The way the OP writes it, it sounds like Steve Curry said Ray Wilson was superb for England and even better for Everton.

I share the confusion of Mike Byrne, Chris McCullough and Michael Kenrick, and don't understand Dave Charles' post 13 at all.

Dave, you write one thing, then react to it as if it was something else, so no, it isn't obvious what you're saying.

On another note, I was just thinking how good Leighton Baines is, and considering my personal experience of understanding football properly begins in earnest in 1990, I've never seen a better Everton left back. Anyone got an opinion on how he compares to the likes of Wilson, Van Den Hauwe, and others who actually won trophies? (Don't bother including Gary Ablett...)
Michael Kenrick
20   Posted 10/02/2011 at 20:55:53

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Mike, thanks for helping to clear that up...

I think re Baines, he's rather good... but he might not be as good for Everton as Ray Wilson was for England.

No wait....

Oh, I've done it again, haven't I.
Sean McCarthy
21   Posted 10/02/2011 at 22:15:06

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Anyone got a couple of paracetemol?? My head hurts!!
Christopher McCullough
22   Posted 10/02/2011 at 22:32:59

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I wasn't being a smart arse, Dave Charles. It was a question! Maybe I'm thick but I still don't understand.
Dick Fearon
23   Posted 10/02/2011 at 22:19:33

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So good was Wilson we used to hope our opponents would attack down our left. Ray would remove them from the ball as easy as taking candy from a baby.

If memory serves me right, he won a trophy at a World Cup for being the most accomplished player. Not sure if it was the one in 66 or 62. Everyone probably already knows that he was the only member of England's WC winning team to have been transferred, and that was to us. Before anyone jumps the gun, I know Bally started his career elsewhere before as a youngster he followed his dad who joined Blackpool as a coach/manager.

Dick Fearon
24   Posted 10/02/2011 at 22:36:16

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Er... for the sake of accuracy I should have said that Ray removed THE BALL from our opponents as easy as taking candy from a baby. I should also have clarified that Ray was the only member of England's WC winning team to have been transferred PRIOR to the 66 WC.
Jay Harris
25   Posted 10/02/2011 at 22:43:09

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Trevor Lynes, absolutely spot on.

Southall was the best GK in the world and Ray Wilson and Alex Parker were two of the best full-backs I've ever seen.

Excellent in the tackle, great on the ball, and perfect crosses every time.

If only we could find a video of them both and send it to Mikky to learn how to cross a ball properly and at the right height.
Tony McNulty
26   Posted 10/02/2011 at 23:03:29

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Much was made of Wilson's age ? 29 ? when he signed for us. Players were then seen as in terminal decline at that sort of age.

Interesting how modern diet, fitness levels etc, seem to mean that players of 29 now are expected to have a good four or more years ahead of them.
Dick Fearon
27   Posted 10/02/2011 at 23:40:34

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In today's game Alex Parker would not get away with his typical two-footed flying-through-the-air tackles.

On the other hand, Ray's tackles were applied with precise expertise that left opponents unhurt yet wondering what the hell had just happened.

Peter Bourke
28   Posted 11/02/2011 at 01:25:53

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Dave Charles, take it easy on Chris Mccullough.
I too was confused because you are contradicting yourself the way it is written.
He wasn't being a smart arse and one wonders what you might be on given your reaction.
Marcus Choo
29   Posted 11/02/2011 at 01:48:06

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Hi guys,

I actually didn't see anything wrong with Dave Charles' original post initially, but after reading the rest of the comments, I'm beginning to understand why other posters felt he was contradicting himself.

Perhaps changing the ?and? to ?but? would help, i.e:

?... Curry then went on to say that Wilson was superb for England BUT not as good as he was for his club Everton ??

Dave, maybe that will help you to understand the confusion that came about... but hey! Have a smile cos some people do understand you the first time round :)
David Ellis
30   Posted 11/02/2011 at 04:10:04

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Michael Kenrick (20) ? lol.

For great left backs what about Pat Van Den Hauwe. Great skills going forward, great tackler, good in the air, complete psycho at times (but me thinks reputation pre-ceded him a bit more than the reality).

He was definitely better for Wales than he never played for Belgium.

In the 70s we had Mike Pejic who put in a good shilft ? at least compared to the calamatous left backs we had around that time ? step forward Tiger McLaughlin ("oh no don't give it to Tiger" was a common exasperated cry at the time).
Peter Anthony
31   Posted 11/02/2011 at 04:30:02

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Dave's Orginal Post is confusing as it is ambiguous. His moan seems to be about Steve Curry thinking Ray Wilson was not as good for Everton as he was for England, but the the words he states Steve Curry said actually portray the opposite.

Marcus Choo your assertion appears incorrect.

I'm too young to have seen Ray Wilson play but it is great to read from the likes of Trevor Lynes and Ray Roche how brilliant he was from people lucky enough to have seen him play in the Royal Blue.

What a contrast to today's financial madness when the likes of Ashley Cole stated in biography that he nearly crashed the car when he heard Arsenel were 'only' offering him 50,000 pounds a week wages! To think Ray Wilson, a better left back and World Cup Winner, went on to be an undertaker after his playing days to earn a living...
Adam Fenlon
32   Posted 11/02/2011 at 06:23:47

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Regardless of whether Steve Curry thought Ray Wilson played better for either Everton or England, I?m at a loss as to why either view should?ve annoyed the original poster so much. Especially if his name has apparently come up while discussing the best English left backs of all time.

Unless he suggested that he could only really be arsed playing his best in a national team strip, which no-one is suggesting for a second.
Peter Dry
33   Posted 11/02/2011 at 08:06:00

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Dave Charles, you write a confusing intial post, confuse things even more when asked for clarification then get arsey because a poster was understandably confused. Is your middle name opaque?
Andrew Clare
34   Posted 11/02/2011 at 08:50:37

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Without any question, Ray Wilson was the greatest Left Back that England have ever had.

TalkSport is a horrible programme with a complete bias towards London football teams, hosted by people who have no idea about football whatsoever.

In a music poll their stupid listeners would probably vote for The Spice Girls as being the greatest vocal group of all time!

Paul Moorhouse
35   Posted 11/02/2011 at 08:52:28

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I heard the interview Dave is referring to, and my take on it at the time was that Curry said Ray Wilson was not as good for his club as he was for England. It came across more of a slight than a compliment and I shouted some expletive at the radio (a habit I really need to stop). However, having read all the different interpretations, even I'm not sure what I heard or Curry meant anymore.
Mark Murphy
36   Posted 11/02/2011 at 10:18:21

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Can't comment on Ray Wilson's play as I'm just too young (that's something I don't get to say much these days)! But, whilst I think Cashley Cole is a total and utter knob and poor excuse for a man, I have to say he IS the best left back in the country and IS a very good footballer.

I like Baines but Moyes got it spot on when he said Baines is second best to Cole. (But he still shouldna said it in public!)

Richard Tarleton
37   Posted 11/02/2011 at 11:13:12

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I agree, Ray Wilson was simply the best fullback I've ever seen, his mastery of George Best in games against United was total. However, if he was not (and I stress 'if') quite as magnificent for Everton as he was for England (that misheader in the 66 World Cup Final excepted), it was because Everton were one of the last teams to go for four men at the back; the back three were Parker (Wright), Labone and Wilson, John Hurst did not become a regular till the 67-68 season, whereas with England Bobby Moore played as the fourth man at the back, thus giving the back four more leeway.
Duncan McDine
38   Posted 11/02/2011 at 11:42:36

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Hang on a minute... we're forgetting all about Rhino ? surely Wilson wasn't a patch on him?
John McFarlane [Senior]
39   Posted 11/02/2011 at 12:34:33

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Dick # 27, I feel that you are doing Alex Parker a disservice, his forte was the sliding tackle, acceptable even in today's game, which is rapidly becoming a non-contact sport.

Your assessment of Ray Wilson's expertise is equally applicable to that of Alex Parker's. Many opponents were left feeling just as bemused after an Alex Parker special.

I had the privilege of meeting Alex at one of the Hall of Fame dinners at the Adelphi and, when I complimented him on his tackling, he modestly said, "I was faster on my arse than on my feet." The photo I had taken alongside Alex that evening, has pride of place among my football souvenirs.

Ray Wilson was indeed an excellent left back but, as with any other player, greatness is a matter of opinion; he certainly (along with Terry Cooper of Leeds United) was as good as any left back I have seen in my 63 years of watching football.

Howard Don
40   Posted 11/02/2011 at 13:31:52

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Without doubt, Wilson was the best left back we have had in my time watching Everton. Worth noting that he had debuted for England in 1960 while a Huddersfield player (under one Mr Shankly for a while), but we didn't get him until 1964 and he had a bad injury for a lot of his first season.

Do I remember correctly, he became an undertaker after retiring?
Robert Workman
41   Posted 11/02/2011 at 14:18:04

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I agree with earlier post. Ray Wilson ? best ever Everton left back. Alex Parker vying with Gary Stevens and Tommy Wright as best ever right back. I would also suggest that Baines is second best left back. I would put him ahead of Pat van den Hauwe for many reasons, but mainly because he is left-footed.
Vince Hindson
42   Posted 11/02/2011 at 21:25:42

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Might be wrong here but is that Steve Curry the guy who sounds identical to the character Count Arthur Strong on Radio 4? His croaking, strangled tones mix perfectly with his mixed metaphors ? comes across as an absolute idiot.
Trevor Lynes
43   Posted 11/02/2011 at 23:53:11

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Alex Parker ran a pub after he finished playing. It was the Swinging Sporran in the Runcorn shopping city.

Don't forget Derek Mountfield... he was a fine centre half and scored 14 goals in a season for us.
Anthony Lamb
44   Posted 12/02/2011 at 00:14:10

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Dick Fearon,
I am not sure what full back named Alex Parker you watched "flying through the air with his two-footed tackles" but it CERTAINLY was not the great Alex Parker, who joined us from Falkirk! I would certainly like to hear from those who watched him and who agree with you!

For in my humble opinion he was the finest exponent of the strong, perfectly timed sliding tackle that it has been my privilege to witness. His ability in this area of the game was quite remarkable, as was the fact that the worst drubbings of his career ? again in my humble opinion ? were administered by a young man rarely able to wear the red shirt of Liverpool in a competitive match ? namely one young Johnny Morrissey in the Floodlit Cup Finals that brought the two clubs together before both were in the old First Division.

To say Alex Parker was a "flying two-footed tackler" is beyond comprehension for he was the consumate full-back. Any comments from other oldies would be warmly welcome!

Also have to agree with Dennis Stevens (hard working inside-right?!) that the tragedy for Everton was that the great Ray Wilson came to Everton just too late for the club to enjoy the riches of his talents for as long as they should/could have? Neverthless, after 13 years with Huddersfield, in his four full seasons at Everton he continued to grace the game, he was a great athlete, beautifully balanced and graceful yet tenacious in his defensive play ? he was a true star.

Ray Roche
45   Posted 12/02/2011 at 10:08:27

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I have to agree with you, Anthony Lamb, Parker was a great exponent of the sliding tackle which was, of course, regarded as a fair tackle in those days when football was still a man's game. I don't remember flying two-footed tackles as being the norm from him. As I remember, he'd slide in, take the ball cleanly, and pass or attack down the right flank.
Lee Courtliff
46   Posted 12/02/2011 at 12:03:42

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Fuckin' hell!! I gave up after reading the first 25 or so posts so I don't know if you boys have got your heads around this yet so here goes. Pay attention... the guy on the radio yesterday morning (Curry) said that... "Ray Wilson played better for England than he did for Everton"! That simple!
John McFarlane [Senior]
47   Posted 12/02/2011 at 11:51:07

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Anthony (#44) and Ray (#45) ? It's heartening to see someone coming to the defence of Alex Parker; he was indeed a master of the slide tackle. Alex and Jimmy Armfield (Blackpool) were regarded by many as the finest right backs of their era.

Anthony, I did not see the Floodlit cup finals you refer to, as I was serving in the army (Cyprus 1957-59), but I have had many Red friends tell me about them.

Incidentally, shortly after Alex Parker was signed by Everton (June 1958), he too was posted to Cyprus and didn't make his debut until November of that year.

I came home on leave in December and by that time Alex was playing at right-half, I believe his international career was ended prematurely by his being asked to play out of position, as he never represented his country again.

Greg Anderson
48   Posted 13/02/2011 at 00:01:39

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Howard Don (#40). Yes, he did become an undertaker after retiring, back in Huddersfield, I think. Vaguely remember seeing him with his hearse and grim black regalia in a feature on Nationwide (?) about two thousand years ago.

I never saw Alex Parker, but Ray Wilson was the best left back in all of world history, at both ends of the park. Somehow can't imagine Cashley following him into the mortuary business...

Derek Thomas
49   Posted 13/02/2011 at 03:28:32

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Short version: Curry is an idiot.

In the early 60s, some really well respected sage ? again the age memory thing, who he was defeats me, but he was a 'name' ? said (remember football was a bit different then): "Give me Parker and Wilson as fullbacks and I will give you a League Championship."

Just as there are now rankings for everything, there was and maybe still is (though money, hype and publicity rule) an 'unofficial' consensus that 'xxxxxx' is the best (fill in position / type ) in the world... eg: Pele, Lev Yashin, Puskas Gento, etc etc.

So, for a period of time, Ray Wilson was the Best Left Back in the World.

And, in my opinion, Southall and Ratcliffe were the best in the world for a few.

Just as for an all too brief moment in time, we were the best Club side in the world.

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