Friends

Bert is pictured with his good friend, Jack Taylor, who he considered to be one of the finest referees in the game.  Jack refereed the 1974 World Cup final and wasn’t afraid to award two penalties as Germany beat Holland 2-1.  Jack was known as the “Wolverhampton Butcher” and officiated at over 1,000 games.  I was fortunate enough to meet Jack at a football forum held in Lancaster many years ago and his views on the game and its personalities were both forthright and revealing.

Bert is pictured with Ron Atkinson, the boy who rolled the pitch before the Wolves versus Honved game in the 1950s.  Ron was on the ground staff at Molineux in 1954 and Ron and the other apprentices rolled the pitch after it rained.  He always said it was his contribution to the great victory over the Hungarian Magyars.

Bert with Wolverhampton Wanderers president, Sir Jack Hayward, handing over a new pair of boots.  Bert had read about Sir Jack’s brown boots which he always wore so he rang his wife and asked if he would like a new pair for his birthday.  Jack’s wife told Bert he had a wardrobe full but never wore them as he preferred his old pair.  Bert remembered his old RAF boots that had been given to him to play football but they were four sizes too big.  Sir Jack was highly delighted to receive them and donated them to the club as he could not go to a banquet in a pair of football boots.  They are now displayed in Billy’s Boot Room.

Bert’s friend, Telmo Zarra, the legendary Spanish centre forward who scored against Bert in the Rio World Cup in 1950.  Telmo invited Bert to his testimonial game in Bilbao in 1997 where he enjoyed the hospitality and being interviewed by Spanish television.

Bert & Telmo, friends off the pitch in 1997 almost 50 years after facing each other in Brazil

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Design: David Ainsworth