Express & Star

Rare salver from Wolverhampton Wanderers’ legend going to auction

A rare silver salver presented to Wolverhampton Wanderers' legend Billy Wright CBE in 1959 for becoming the first-ever footballer to make 100 international appearances is going under the hammer next week.

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The rare silver salver which will be going to auction. Photo: Graham Budd Auctions

Northamptonshire-based Graham Budd Auctions will auction off the salver which is expected to sell for an estimated £30,000-£50,000.

The sports memorabilia auction will take place on December 5 and 6 online and at the auction house.

David Convery, head of sporting memorabilia at Graham Budd Auctions, said: “This is a unique piece of sports memorabilia from a Wolverhampton Wanderers’ legend.

"Billy Wright had a sensational career – he was never booked or sent off and made 105 appearances for England.

"This salver is a testament to Billy Wright’s career and is a rare piece for any sports memorabilia collector.”

Wright was born on February 6, 1924 and joined Wolves ground staff straight from school, turning professional in 1941.

In the war years he made guest playing appearances for Leicester City and as a corporal in the Shropshire Light Infantry he made his first appearance for England in the unofficial "Victory" match against Belgium on January 19, 1946.

He played a further two "Victory" internationals matches before making his first full international against Northern Ireland played on September 28, 1946 at Windsor Park, Belfast, with England defeating Northern Ireland 7-2.

Just a year later after a full season in League football Wolves manager Ted Vizard made him club captain and one year on from that at 24, England manager Walter Winterbottom made his captain of the international side.

Wright made 59 appearances for England at wing-half before being moved to centre-half during the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland and this move has been widely accepted as prolonging an already exceptional career.

Settling into the new position was comfortable for Wright and he was able to display his defensive capabilities to their best advantage.

At this stage in his domestic career he had already captained Wolves to their 1948-49 FACup victory and later in 1953-54 to the club's first-ever league championship.

He was awarded the Footballer of the Year in 1952.

His international career spanned almost 13 years and he made his final appearance for his country in a 8-1 victory against the USA played on May 28, 1959.

Wright is unique as he was the first-ever player to make 100 appearances at international level and that milestone was reached in the match against Scotland played on April 11, 1959.

This salver was presented to him for this, then unique achievement.

His last 70 appearances were consecutive a then record – until bettered by legendary Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta – and all were as captain, another record.

After playing in excess of 500 matches for Wolves he retired from playing in August 1959 and became manager/coach of England's youth team in October 1960, finally managing his boyhood club Arsenal until 1966.

Other Billy Wright memorabilia will also be up for auction, including autographs, shirts and caps.

And his silver-gilt and enamel CBE Commander Of The Order Of The British is estimated to fetch between £600 and £800.

There are also a number of items which belonged to Dudley-born Manchester United star Duncan Edwards.

They include a rare Duncan Edwards white No.6 England v France International Tour match worn short-sleeved shirt from 1955 which is expected to fetch up to £15,000.

There are also autographs from the player.

Edwards was just 21 when the plane carrying the Manchester United team crashed on February 6, 1958.

The rising Manchester United star was killed in the Munich air disaster.

Bids can be made at