Peter Swan: Ex-Sheffield Wednesday & England defender dies aged 84

Peter Swan
Peter Swan played 19 games for England before his career was halted following a ban for betting

Former England international Peter Swan has died at the age of 84, his old club Sheffield Wednesday have confirmed.

Swan made 301 appearances for the Owls and won 19 caps for England, in a career which was limited by his involvement in a betting ring.

He served four months in prison and missed out on playing in the 1966 World Cup, which England went on to win.

He had initially been banned for life but successfully appealed, allowing him to return to Hillsborough in 1972.

After leaving Wednesday in 1973, Swan played for Bury, Matlock Town and Worksop Town.

From 'top of the list' to out of the game

Born in 1936, in the South Yorkshire village of South Emsall, Swan joined Wednesday in 1952 and made his debut the following year.

He was part of an Owls side that challenged double-winning Tottenham Hotspur for the title in 1961, and had earned England recognition alongside team-mate Tony Kay, travelling to the 1962 World Cup in Chile only for illness to deny him an appearance.

However, Swan, Kay and fellow team-mate David Layne would bring an abrupt halt to their careers when they placed a bet on reigning champions Ipswich Town to beat their Wednesday side in December 1962 after being approached by Jimmy Gauld - a leading member of a betting ring.

The story was eventually uncovered and publicised by an ongoing investigation by the Sunday People newspaper two years later, in which Gauld had sold his story, and all three players received four-month sentences and lifetime bans as a result.

"We lost the game fair and square," Swan told The Times in a 2006 interview about the incident. "But I still don't know what I'd have done if we'd been winning. It would have been easy for me to give away a penalty or even score an own goal. Who knows?"

Swan said England boss Sir Alf Ramsey told him he was "top of the list" for the World Cup, coincidentally the Ipswich manager that day in 1962, but that dream was never realised.

He remains one of Wednesday's most-capped England internationals with only Alf Strange, Ernest Blenkinsopp and Swans former team-mate Ron Springett winning more caps.

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC