Outside the Box: Time to do the Wright thing and make England great 'Sir Billy'

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The Independent Football

Fifty years to the week since Billy Wright won the last of his 105 England caps, a campaign is under way to secure a posthumous knighthood for him. The former Wolves and England captain was awarded the CBE a few days after leading his country for the 90th and final time on 28 May 1959 in the 8-1 trouncing of the United States in Los Angeles. There have been more than 1,000 visitors to the website, www.sirbillywright.com, who have given their support to the proposal to have him further honoured, 15 years after his death. Organisers are hoping shortly to add the name of another England captain, David Beckham, who in marrying a pop star was only following a trend: Wright's wife was Joy Beverley, one of the Beverley Sisters, who had a number of hits in the fifties.

Dons ahead of the times

Posthumous recognition of a different kind for Wimbledon FC: a time capsule has been buried on the site of the old Plough Lane ground, containing a 1988 FA Cup Final dvd, 1989-90 centenary season shirt, scarf and programmes. The site now consists of apartment blocks named after former heroes including Dave Bassett, Alan Cork and Lawrie Sanchez. Supporters claim in any case that the club live on in the form of the hugely successful AFC Wimbledon, who after a fourth promotion in six seasons are now just one step away from (re)joining the Football League.

Shearer's pointless

Having had the occasional gentle dig at Match Of The Day pundits for prematurely announcing that clubs were in no danger of relegation, it is only right that this column should tip its trilby to Mark Lawrenson for assuring us as long ago as mid-December that Hull City, in the time-honoured phrase, "will be fine". Well they were, sort of, thanks to securing one win and five draws from the subsequent 21 games. Lee Dixon can be exonerated for saying the same of West Bromwich Albion in March; he was presumably being satirical. Not even Lawro, who once fulfilled the genuinely heroic role of defensive coach to Newcastle under Kevin Keegan, was prepared to stick his neck out for his old employers. On the other hand, former MOTD man Alan Shearer said after the match last Sunday: "I expected to turn them around." Don't beat yourself up, Al; the rest of us didn't expect you to. After all, six points from eight games to stay up was a tough ask. Wasn't it?

Top flight is average

The grim picture at the bottom of the Premier League reminds us that the statistical definition of a poor team is one that cannot manage to average even a point per game. For the second season running there were no fewer than five, in what we constantly remind ourselves is the world's strongest League. A depressing feature about the opposite end of the final table, of course, was its predictability. Not only were the top four the same as ever, so were eight of the top 10; all that happened in 12 months was that Fulham and Tottenham replaced Blackburn and Portsmouth. Meanwhile, Stoke and Bolton are the pair who need to be aware of our note last week about the fate awaiting teams who finish 12th and 13th. Bolton's Gary Megson has clearly taken it on board, warning already that his club will be relegated unless they spend heavily this summer.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk

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