Wayne Hennessey: Wolves legend Bert Williams was a big part of my career

Former Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey today paid a heartfelt tribute to his mentor - the late, great Bert Williams for being a "big part of his career".

Hennessey, who signed for Crystal Palace for £3m on Friday, was back in Wolverhampton yesterday, joining 500 mourners at St. Peter's Collegiate Church for the memorial service held in honour of the Wolves and England goalkeeping great.

The 27-year-old got to know Bert, who died last month at the age of 93, through their mutual friend, former Wolves keeper Matt Murray, and went to see him at his home in Shifnal.

Wolves fans are still unhappy at the way Hennessey left the club after refusing to play at Gillingham.

But the Wales international felt he had to be at the service to pay tribute to Bert in thanks for the advice he received down the years.

"Bert was a great goalkeeper who was always there for us at Wolves," said Hennessey.

"He was a big part of my Wolves career and he helped me through a lot of different things.

"He was always a phone call away and he'd always help anyone.

"I'd always go and see him which was nice but I felt very privileged to be part of his book launch which I know was a very exciting moment for him.

"I was very proud to have known him.

"He was fantastic towards us and when I was playing here, that meant a lot to me.

"He used to tell us stories of when he played and myself and Matt Murray used to go and see him.

"He gave me a load of good advice as a goalkeeper – with all his experience, he could tell you a lot.

"But even more interesting were his stories because he'd done so much in the game and had so much experience, what with being away with England and so on, so I really enjoyed my times with him."

Hennessey believes Bert ranks alongside the finest England goalkeepers have produced.

"He was up there with the best in terms of goalkeepers," he said.

"I wasn't old enough to have seen him play but I've seen photos and clips of him and he was a fantastic goalkeeper."

Hennessey was joined by World Cup winner Gordon Banks and former Wolves keepers through the ages Malcolm Finlayson who succeeded Bert Molineux - Fred Davies and Phil Parkes at the service.

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