Although Wolves had a new manager in 1948-49, Stan Cullis, it was a similar story to previous years and they finished 6th in the First Division but Bert had received a lot of praise in the national press and this praise was fully justified as he performed miracles in goal.

The local Wolverhampton Chronicle asked the question, would Wolves win the FA Cup?

3rd round v Chesterfield won 3-0, attendance 46,272

4th round @ Sheffield United won 3-0, attendance 49,796

5th round v Liverpool won 3-1, attendance 54,983

6th round West Brom2wich Albion won 1-0, attendance 55,684

Semi-final @ Hillsborough v Manchester united draw 1-1, attendance 62,250

Replay @ Goodison Park v Manchester United won 1-0, attendance 72,631

Final @ Wembley v Leicester City won 3-1, attendance 100,000

The first semi-final against Manchester United took place at Hillsborough and a really tough game ended in a 1-1 draw.  Wolves suffered injuries in an unbelievable match but held out even when they went down to nine men following injuries to Kelly and Pritchard.  No goalkeeper could have played better than Bert Williams and he carried forward his form from this game to the replay at Goodison Park where he continued to make thrilling saves.  Bert’s goal came under immense pressure as Wolves had to bring in two full backs, Alf Crook and Terry Springthorpe, with no first team experience.  A goal from Sammy Smyth in the 85th minute was enough to send the Wanderers to Wembley and send Manchester United home.  The headlines such as “Williams - Hero of Defence” and “Williams foiled cup-holders” simply emphasised the part that Bert Williams was playing at the top of his game.  The newspapers said “A special medal should be struck for Bert Williams” while another said “He had a tremendous game with no thought for his own safety”.

After a very hard fought semi-final Wolves were going to Wembley for what was one of the biggest occasions in football - The FA Cup Final against “The Foxes”, Leicester City.

One of the many fans, young and old, who always received a friendly welcome
 from their hero whenever they visited Bert’s shop

This telegram from Walsall to wish Bert and Johnny Hancocks the best of luck

Pictured here is the timetable of arrangements for the final.  As can be seen the team was scheduled to leave Wolverhampton station at 10.25am and arrive at Wembley at 1.25pm in time for the 3.00pm kick-off.  Stan Cullis, for whatever reason, decided to travel by coach rather than by rail.  He announced the team on the coach at Oxford and sadly Lol Kelly, who had been injured against Manchester United, was not in the side, a terrible disappointment to Lol.

© Soccer Nostalgia 2017

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