Enormous crowds

There were occasions when games were delayed due to incidents like the goalposts coming down but the crowds always laughed and there was a feeling of happiness, laughter and enjoyment that made it great to play football.  Maybe it was because the war was over and people could enjoy their lives again without fear and in safety.

These sorts of incidents did happen, although very rarely, but I’m not sure
how they repaired the crossbar in this game to allow the match to continue

Before the season started though Bert had to get permission to own a car as the rules governing players were very strict.  Prior to getting his first car Bert caught the bus to play at Molineux.  His first car was a Ford Anglia from Billingham’s of Wolverhampton and Tony Guy, Chairman of Billingham’s, can be seen handing over the keys to a proud footballer - how times have changed.

The first game of the 1946-47 season was against Arsenal and almost 51,000 packed into Molineux to see Wolves win handsomely, 6-1, with the headlines describing it as a “Piece of Pye” after Jesse Pye’s hat trick.  The 1946-47 season was tremendous for Wolves although after picking up two points against Arsenal they only managed one point in the following five games.  The next 17 matches saw them pick up an incredible 31 points to lead the table at Christmas by 4 points from Liverpool.  On Christmas Day Wolves travelled to Roker Park and beat Sunderland 1-0 and then on Boxing Day they entertained the same opponents at Molineux in front of an enormous crowd of 53,834 and collected another two points when Johnny Hancocks scored the winner in a 2-1 victory

A day off and then a journey to Highbury on December 28th to face Arsenal in front of 63,000 with another 20,000 locked out earned Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw.

Predictions were abundant and some were expecting Wolves, who were known as “Vizard’s Wizards”, to go and win the next 17 games but then came injuries to Tom Galley, Jimmy Mullen and Bill Morris.  Wolves were top of the league and it seemed to be turning into a 4 horse race with Manchester United, Liverpool and Stoke City. Wolves travelled to Stoke and a superb display of goalkeeping by Bert Williams cemented a 3-0 victory but after seven victories in a row came a defeat at Maine Road, 1-3, against Manchester United (Old Trafford was still closed due to bomb damage).

The month of April would decide who would be champions as Wolves entertained Chelsea and won a thriller, 6-4 but then draws against Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth followed by a defeat at the hands of Everton left everything on the final game of the season at Molineux against Liverpool.

Nearly 51,000 fans were at Molineux for the Liverpool game played in heat of 96 degrees Fahrenheit.  It would be the last game for Stan Cullis as he had announced his retirement at a meal shortly before kick-off.  With the title in their grasp, Wolves were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool, and, as Stoke City lost at Sheffield United, Liverpool were crowned champions in one of the closest finishes in years.

Wolves, league leaders for most of the season were deprived of championship honours
when they lost their final game against Liverpool

Back Row (L-R):
Ted Vizard (secretary/manager), Tom Galley, McClean, Bert Williams, Billy Crook,
Billy Wright, Jack Smith (trainer), Jack Howley (assistant secretary)

Front Row (L-R):
Johnny Hancocks, Jesse Pye, Dennis Westcott, Stan Cullis (captain), Forbes, Jimmy Mullen

Stan Cullis, assistant manager,
would often be seen sat alongside chief scout,
George Noakes, following his retirement

Bert is seen showing his neighbour
Cyril Sidlow round his garden

In September 1945, Bert made his first appearance in goal for Wolves taking the place of Cyril who departed for Liverpool.  Cyril, who played well in that final game, had called to see Bert to show him his championship medal.  The two men were very good friends but Bert would have to wait a few years before he won his own championship medal.

The final table of 1946-47 shows that an equalising goal in that last game would have clinched the title for Wolves and Bert Williams

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Design: David Ainsworth