Wilf Mannion

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Wilf Mannion
Wilf Mannion Statue MFC.jpg
Statue outside the Riverside Stadium of Middlesbrough F.C.
Personal information
Full nameWilfred James Mannion
Date of birth(1918-05-16)16 May 1918
Place of birth South Bank, Middlesbrough, England
Date of death 14 April 2000(2000-04-14) (aged 81)
Place of death Teesside, England
Playing position Inside forward
Senior career*
1936–1954 Middlesbrough 341 (99)
1954–1956 Hull City 16 (1)
1956–1958 Cambridge United
Poole Town
Earlestown (player/manager)
National team
1939–1946 → England wartime team 4 (0)
1948 England B 1 (0)
1946–1951 England 26 (11)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Wilfred James Mannion (16 May 1918 – 14 April 2000) was an English professional footballer who played as an inside forward, [1] making over 350 senior appearances for Middlesbrough. He also played international football for England. With his blonde hair, he was nicknamed "The Golden Boy". [2] [3] He was arguably Middlesbrough's second greatest ever player, the first being George Washington Elliot who played at the same time. [4]

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Middlesbrough F.C. Association football club

Middlesbrough Football Club is a professional association football club based in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England. They are currently competing in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. Formed in 1876, they have played at the Riverside Stadium since 1995, their third ground since turning professional in 1889. They played at the Linthorpe Road ground from 1882 to 1903 and at Ayresome Park for 92 years, from 1903 to 1995.

England national football team Mens association football team representing England

The England men's national football team represents England in senior men's international football and is controlled by The Football Association, the governing body for football in England.


Early life

Mannion was born on 16 May 1918 in South Bank, the son of Irish immigrants Tommy and Mary Mannion, and one of 10 children. [3]


He joined his local team Middlesbrough F.C. in 1936 and went on to make 341 Football League appearances for them, scoring on 99 occasions. [5] He scored 110 goals in all competitions for Middlesbrough. [4]

Mannion fought in France and Italy during World War II, [6] [1] and in Italy his commanding officer was the England cricketer Hedley Verity. [6]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Hedley Verity Cricket player of England.

Hedley Verity was a professional cricketer who played for Yorkshire and England between 1930 and 1939. A slow left-arm orthodox bowler, he took 1,956 wickets in first-class cricket at an average of 14.90 and 144 wickets in 40 Tests at an average of 24.37. Named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1932, he is regarded as one of the most effective slow left-arm bowlers to have played cricket. Never someone who spun the ball sharply, he achieved success through the accuracy of his bowling. On pitches which made batting difficult, particularly ones affected by rain, he could be almost impossible to bat against.

At the end of the 1947–48 season he wanted a transfer, but Middlesbrough refused. In protest he did not play for them for much of the following season but he eventually backed down and started playing for Middlesbrough again. [7]

England International

He was capped on 26 occasions by the England national team between 1946 and 1951, and his final appearance came on 3 October 1951. [8] He was a member of the England squad for the 1950 FIFA World Cup. [9] Along with Middlesbrough and England teammate George Hardwick, he was also part of the Great Britain football team that beat the Rest of Europe 6-1 in 1947. [10]

1950 FIFA World Cup 1950 edition of the FIFA World Cup

The 1950 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil from 24 June to 16 July 1950, was the fourth FIFA World Cup. It was the first World Cup since 1938, the planned 1942 and 1946 competitions having been cancelled due to World War II. It was won by Uruguay, who had won the inaugural competition in 1930. They clinched the cup by beating the hosts Brazil 2–1 in the deciding match of the four-team final group. This was the only tournament not decided by a one-match final. It was also the first tournament where the trophy was referred to as the Jules Rimet Cup, to mark the 25th anniversary of Jules Rimet's presidency of FIFA.

George Hardwick English association football player and manager

George Francis Moutry Hardwick was an English footballer, manager and coach. During his time as an active player, he was a left-sided defender for Middlesbrough. He was also a member of the England national football team, playing in 13 international matches and serving as the team's first post-World War II captain.

Later career

After initially retiring as a player in 1954, Mannion subsequently joined Hull City. However, the Football League suspended him for articles he had written, [9] and he left to play non-league football with Poole Town. [5] He also had an unsuccessful spell as manager of Cambridge United. [7]

After football

He was eventually awarded a testimonial match by Middlesbrough in 1983, alongside former Boro and England colleague George Hardwick. [3]

Mannion died on 14 April 2000 at the age of 81. [7] After his passing, Middlesbrough FC erected a statue of Mannion outside the Riverside Stadium. [3]

In 2004 it was announced he was being inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum. [11]

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  1. 1 2 English Hall of Fame Profile Archived 15 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. N. Varley (2002) Golden Boy: A Biography of Wilf Mannion, Aurum Press Ltd, ISBN   1-85410-879-4
  3. 1 2 3 4 "The Original Golden Boy: The Wilf Mannion Story". This is the north east. communigate.co.uk. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
  4. 1 2 http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/local-news/wilf-mannion-3859271
  5. 1 2 Football League Career Stats at Neil Brown
  6. 1 2 "Wilf Mannion". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  7. 1 2 3 Brian Glanville (15 April 2000). "Wilf Mannion". Obituary. The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  8. "England's Players - Mabbutt to Murphy". England Football Online. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  9. 1 2 "Wilf Mannion 1936-54". Middlesbrough FC. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  10. http://www.11v11.com/matches/great-britain-v-rest-of-europe-10-may-1947-225424/
  11. "Hero duo get footballing honour". BBC. 4 November 2004. Retrieved 25 August 2013.