The Football Association today defended its decision to leave Wolves legend Billy Wright off an image released for its 150-year anniversary, as it emerged fans have formed an online campaign calling for the decision to be overturned.
Wolves supporters today labelled Wright’s omission from the picture as a “slap in the face” and 1,300 have joined a Facebook protest.
But the FA today insisted the picture was not the official FA crest for the anniversary and was simply an image created as part of a 150th anniversary video, which it says prominently features Billy Wright.
Wolves supporters said they were dismayed that Wright, a centre half who captained England a record 90 times in 105 appearances, had been left off the image.
David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney are all included along with women’s team manager Hope Powell and Geoff Hurst’s 1966 World Cup final hat-trick.
Chris Ward, a Wolves fan who set-up a petition page on Facebook, said: “This is a player that throughout his career didn’t pick up a single booking. He was a true gentleman and it is a travesty such a well thought of player is not included within the crest, yet Sven-Göran Eriksson and Don Revie have made the grade.”
Wright made 490 appearances for Wolves. He was awarded a CBE for services to football in 1959 and was appointed manager of the England Youth team a year later.
FA spokesman Scott Field said today: “The FA proudly displayed a prominent image of Billy Wright being held aloft and winning his 100th cap in our showpiece 150 years in 150 seconds video, which culminates with the use of this montage image at its finish. The montage is a small detail of the main video and is made of fewer iconic images. It is not the official crest, nor is it mean to be definitive of the 150 years. To suggest The FA would not recognise Billy Wright is unthinkable. He is one of our great players.
“To focus on one small element of the celebration is a shame, as Billy and others are featured throughout our wider materials.
“Given his prominence, Billy also has the elite changing room named after him at St. George's Park in Burton-upon-Trent, and we can only underline that we value his contribution to English football greatly.
“The FA's 150th celebrations are year-long and are not centred solely around the England team - which is not 150 years old - as it is, more importantly, a celebration of all of football, particularly grassroots.
“We have spoken with Wolves, who understand our sentiments and we will continue to enjoy nothing less than an excellent relationship with one of this country’s great football clubs.”