A week ago Wolves lost another superstar, a legend the likes of which we’re not likely to ever see again at Molineux, certainly not in the foreseeable anyway. Bert Williams passing has come during a season that has seen a turnaround of the slide we have seen at the club over the last few years, but has also seen the loss of several of our old gold stars of the past.
Bert is the fourth former player, along with Dave Wagstaff, Barry Stobart and Peter Broadbent to have been lost this season and is arguably the greatest footballer of them. The greatest goalkeeper the club has ever known from the greatest era the club has ever known. The minutes applause ahead of the Bristol City game today should only begin the outpouring of respect and remembrance for such a great servant and ambassador of Wolverhampton Wanderers. I feel he should be recognised with a stand renaming or a statue outside Molineux. But also deserves a more simple mark of remembrance – a blue plaque on the house where he grew up.
As someone who grew up in Bradley I knew all about Bert and his time at Wolves and the 50s era and the games against Honved et al simply because my grandmother grew up at a similar time to him. My gran was born in 1912 and he was born in 1920 and I know she followed his career because I can remember her telling me stories when I was a wee boy about how he lived in Bank Street and (according to her story) his father would pay people pennies if they could score a goal past him (the goal being the gully between the houses) I cannot confirm or deny this story as my gran is no longer with us but she was a straightforward kind of person and had no reason to make it up. She used to talk about how players would travel on the buses with the fans and how fans would walk miles and miles to get to Molineux to support the club and its players who were Black Country or adopted Black Country folk. Players and fans really were all part of the community back then, it truly was one humongous team effort from stands to pitch and back again.
When you look at the life of Bert Williams he is certainly more than a Wolves and England footballer, a legendary footballer. He was also a man who served his country in the RAF in the Second World War and has also been a businessman and a charity fundraiser, especially in his later years for Alzheimer’s after he lost his wife to that terrible condition.
It’s been said already that legend is banded around as a term for players who have failed to achieve the promise that they showed early in their careers, but legend is barely good enough a word to describe the man and the footballer that Bert Williams was.
He’ll be missed, but he’ll never be forgotten. May you rest in peace Bert.
The above image is larger if you click on it, its an old newspaper clipping featuring our Bert.