Bert Williams (footballer, born 1920)

Bert Williams
Personal information
Full name Bert Frederick Williams MBE
Date of birth (1920-01-31)31 January 1920
Place of birth Bradley, Staffordshire, England
Date of death 19 January 2014(2014-01-19) (aged 93)
Place of death Wolverhampton, West Midlands
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
Thompson's FC
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1937–1945 Walsall 25 (0)
1945–1959 Wolverhampton Wanderers 381 (0)
National team
1949 England B 1 (0)
1949–1955 England 24 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Bert Frederick Williams MBE (31 January 1920 – 19 January 2014) was an English international football goalkeeper. Nicknamed The Cat, he spent the majority of his playing career at Wolverhampton Wanderers where he won the League Championship and FA Cup. At the time of his death Williams was the oldest living England international.[1]

Early career

Williams started playing competitive football as a young man when he was a member of the 19th Wolverhampton Company of The Boys' Brigade (Bradley Methodist Church). He was then offered the chance to play for Walsall's reserves, whilst playing for Thompson's FC, the works team of the local factory he was employed at. He was taken on permanently and turned professional in April 1937.[2]

The outbreak of World War II halted his progress, after two seasons of playing, as he joined the RAF and also acted as a Physical Training instructor. He found time in between his duties to turn out as a guest for both Nottingham Forest and Chelsea in friendlies.[3]

Wolves and England

With the conflict over, Williams resumed his career by signing for First Division Wolverhampton Wanderers in September 1945 for £3,500. He immediately became first choice at the Molineux club, making his official debut when league football resumed on 31 August 1946 in a 6–1 win over Arsenal, a game that was also the Wolves début of Johnny Hancocks.[4]

He gained his first honour in 1949 as the team lifted the FA Cup after defeating Leicester City. His part in winning this prize saw him rewarded with an England call-up later that month, as he made his international debut on 22 May 1949 in a 3–1 friendly win in France. He held onto the goalkeeper's jersey through the 1950 FIFA World Cup, and at that tournament played in England's surprise defeat by the USA.[5]

He won the league title with Wolves in 1953–54. In total, he made 420 appearances for Wolves.[6]

After football

After ending his football career, he ran a sports shop in Bilston, a sporting centre and lived near Shifnal in Shropshire.[7]

Williams was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours for services to football and to charity.[8]



  2. Matthews, Tony (2001). The Wolves Who's Who. West Midlands: Britespot. p. 222. ISBN 1-904103-01-4.
  3. Lowe, Simon (2005). Match of My Life – Wolves. Warwickshire: Know The Score Books. ISBN 1-905449-56-9.
  4. Matthews, Tony (2008). Wolverhampton Wanderers: The Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 978-1-85983-632-3.
  5. "Defeat by US still hurts, says England old boy Williams". BBC. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  6. "Bert Williams". Wolves Official Website. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  7. "Bert Williams". Golden oldies. Wolves Official Site. 8 March 2011. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  8. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59446. p. 23. 12 June 2010.

External links

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