Former England goalkeeper Bert Williams dies at 93

Bert Williams made 420 appearances for Wolves and 24 for England. Picture: Hulton Archive
Bert Williams made 420 appearances for Wolves and 24 for England. Picture: Hulton Archive
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Former Wolves and England goal­keeper Bert Williams has died aged 93.

The Midlands club announced that Williams died yesterday morning at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital, surrounded by his family.

Williams made 420 appearances for Wolves, including their 1949 FA Cup final success, and was a member of the 1953/54 league championship-winning side.

He won 24 England caps, appearing at the 1950 World Cup Finals in Brazil, and was the oldest living England international prior to his death.

“Bert was not only a fantastic footballer both for club and country, but also a true gentleman who loved Wolves,” said Wanderers chairman Steve Morgan.

“His footballing ability speaks for ­itself, but there was so much more to Bert than just his career alone.

“He remained heavily involved with Wolves and the community after his retirement, and the fundraising he has carried out since losing his wife was incredible when you consider his advancing years.

“Legend is a word which may be over-used these days, but in the case of Bert Williams it simply doesn’t do him justice.

“He will be sadly missed at Molineux, but will never, ever be forgotten.”

Williams received an MBE in 2010, having a year earlier been inducted into the Wolves’ Hall of Fame.

Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey said: “When you come and work for a club like Wolves, with all its illustrious history, it is a privilege to be able to meet some of the players who once helped make the club one of the very best in the world. And Bert was one of those who was right at the very top of that list.

“Such a humble character despite all his successes, Bert not only achieved so much during his time as a goalkeeper for Wolves, he gave so much back to the club after his career came to an end.

“The Wolves and football family are united in sadness at today’s news. However, nowhere more keenly will this loss be felt than with his family and friends, and everyone at Wolves sends them our sincere condolences at this time.”

Williams was England goalkeeper when the team arrived for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil as one of the favourites but left after being on the receiving end of one of the tournament’s biggest shocks when they were defeated 1-0 by the United States.

Joe Gaetjens scored the only goal in the first half to clinch the win.

“It’s been 60 years. It’s taken a lot of forgetting as far as I am concerned,” Williams later recalled before England played the United States at the 2010 World Cup. “We thought the score should have been 8-1, 10-1 even – and I was virtually one of the spectators.

“There was no shaking of hands after the game, but no animosity at all. Just utter, sheer dejection.”