England

Queen honours ex-England keeper Bert Williams

  • 12 June 2010
  • From the section England

England's 1950 World Cup goalkeeper, Bert Williams, has been appointed MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The 90-year-old, who played more than 400 times for Wolves, was honoured for services to football and charity.

The retired goalkeeper, from Shifnal, Shropshire, described it as the "icing on the cake" of a wonderful life.

Williams, who played in the infamous 1-0 defeat against the USA at the 1950 World Cup, has raised more than £100,000 for the Alzheimer's Society.

'Very, very lucky'

His late wife had the condition.

Williams, a former petrol tank factory welder who left school at 14, was honoured for more than seven decades of service to charity and football.

He played 28 matches for England during a career in which he won both the FA Cup and the League Championship.

Williams, who was born in Bradley, near Bilston, West Midlands, in 1920, played for Walsall's first team aged just 16 and went on to play for Wolves between 1945 and 1959.

Image caption Williams, pictured in 1951, said he realised how fortunate he had been

At 5ft 9in (1.75m) tall, the former England goalkeeper earned his nickname of "The Cat" while starring in a victory over Italy in the late 1940s.

He began raising money for charity while still playing professionally and continued his fundraising efforts after his retirement.

Williams organised celebrity cricket matches until age forced him to switch to other ways of helping good causes.

Asked how he felt after being appointed MBE, he replied: "I am thankful, I am grateful and I am proud - I am a very, very lucky and fortunate person.

"It's very rare that people's dreams come to fruition.

"I was fortunate I had very, very good parents and I consider myself to be the luckiest bloke in the world.

"As a lad, you have a dream, you visualise yourself as a famous bloke and you never think it can happen to you.

"I realise how fortunate I have been and this latest thing has just crowned it all."

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