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In the summer of 1945 Bert was duly transferred to Wolverhampton Wanderers and the reported fee varied from £3,500 to as much as £7,000.  If we pause for a moment and fast forward to the present day (2016) what transfer fee would the best goalkeeper in the world command?  Pure conjecture but I would think a figure approaching £40 million would not be far wide of the mark.

Ironically Bert’s first appearance for the team in “Old Gold” would be against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and true to form he ensured that Wolves picked up a point from a 1-1 draw with some outstanding saves.  The headlines proclaimed “Great play by Williams” and 35,000 spectators saw Chelsea equalise with almost the last kick of the match.  Wolves couldn’t grumble as there were times when only the goalkeeping of Bert Williams kept out Chelsea.

An early game against Plymouth Argyle shows Bert gathering the ball with a safe pair of hands wearing his dad’s cap, no track suit bottoms and RAF issue gloves.  Note the condition of the pitch with hardly a blade of grass in sight.

Let’s look now at Bert’s contract which shows that from September 15th 1945 to May 4th 1946 he earned £4 per week.  From May 5th 1946 to August 24th 1946 this figure was increased to £7-10s-0d and from August 25th 1946 to May 3rd 1947 he was on top money of £10 per week.  Bert said that he was over the moon to be playing the game that he loved and being paid for it.

An early team photograph of Wolves when Ted Vizard was the manager
Ted brought in Jesse Pye and Johnny Hancocks as well as Bert and this group of players
would be priceless in 2016 as eight of them went on to reach international status

A home game against Chelsea when Wolves won 1-0 shows the old stand
with the clock which was saved and I believe is now above the Stan Cullis stand

Having become a Wolves player, representative honours continued to come to Bert at an even quicker rate and in November 1945 he was selected to play for a Football Association XI against the Combined Services in Dusseldorf.  In front of a 40,000 crowd Bert helped his side win a thrilling game 5-2.

The team sheet of the Dusseldorf game with autographs of many of the players
and even the team attendant was asked to sign the sheet, a lovely gesture

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Design: David Ainsworth