On This Day In 1959: England Legend Billy Wright Becomes The First Player To Win 100 Caps For His Country

Martin Cloake

11th, April 2016


The first player in world football to make 100 appearances for his country was England’s Billy Wright, and he achieved the feat on 11th April 1959 when he appeared in a 1-0 victory over Scotland at Wembley.

Shropshire-born Wright captained Wolverhampton Wanderers during the club’s glory years, leading the old gold to three league titles in 1954, 1958 and 1959, and an FA Cup in 1949. In the nine years between 1950 and 1959, he only missed 31 games for Wolves.

He also captained England in 90 of the 105 appearances he made for his country. Perhaps more remarkably for such a combative and tough defender, he was never sent off once at either domestic or international level.

Wright was also one of the first players to become something of a cross-over showbiz personality, with his marriage to Joy Beverley of the Beverley Sisters an early portent of footballers’ fascination with pop stars.

After a brief spell in management, Wright went on to work as a TV pundit before taking the role as head of sport for the old ATV regional independent television company.

He died, aged 70, in 1994.

You can follow Martin Cloake on Twitter at @MartinCloake and find more about his books and writing at www.martincloake.com