Transfer Speculation

While playing during the war years Bert played for the RAF at Hednesford and in the Midlands area league.  This made it easier for fans to watch top class football on their own doorstep.  Bert was playing with some of the best players in the country and this helped his game develop and mature and these abilities did not go unnoticed by many top clubs in the country.  With continued glowing reports in the press it was only a matter of time before major clubs made a move to sign him.  These are some of the headlines that Bert Williams, the England goalkeeper, inspired and remember he was playing for Third Division Walsall.  The Walsall manager at the time was Harry Hibbs the former Birmingham & England goalkeeper and his advice to Bert was to remain patient and it would only be a matter of time before he was transferred, wise words and sensible advice.

Stories continued to abound about Bert’s possible moves to different first division clubs and it became common knowledge that Chelsea were after his services as he had verbally agreed to join them after the war while guesting for them.

In August 1945 the Walsall chairman called Bert into the boardroom and introduced him to Jack Howley (Secretary) and George Noakes (Chief scout) from Wolverhampton Wanderers.  They wanted him to sign but Bert explained his verbal agreement with Chelsea.  They immediately suggested that Bert should return home and talk it over with his wife.  He went straight home and found his wife had hurt her eye making Bert wonder what would have happened if he had been in London.  He returned to Walsall three hours later after getting treatment for his wife’s injury and the Wolves’ contingent were still waiting so Bert signed on the dotted line, the best decision he ever made.

This wonderful cartoon was supplied by Edwin Hall
who often wrote to Bert and was a Stoke City supporter

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Design: David Ainsworth