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William "Bill" Ridding (4 April 1911 – 1981), also known as Nibbler Ridding, was an English football player and manager, most notably in a 17-year period managing Bolton Wanderers between 1951 and 1968, during which time the club won the 1958 FA Cup.

Bill Ridding
Personal information
Full name William Ridding
Date of birth (1911-04-04)4 April 1911
Place of birth Heswall, Wirral, Cheshire, England
Date of death 1981 (aged 69–70)
Playing position Centre forward
Youth career
Heswall PSA
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1928–1930 Tranmere Rovers 17 (13)
1930–1931 Manchester City 9 (4)
1931–1934 Manchester United 42 (14)
1934 Northampton Town 0 (0)
1935 Tranmere Rovers 1 (0)
1935–1936 Oldham Athletic 1 (0)
Teams managed
1942–1946 Tranmere Rovers
1950–1968 Bolton Wanderers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Playing careerEdit

Ridding started his playing career at Tranmere Rovers in 1928, where he had his most successful run, scoring 12 goals in 13 games, before being transferred to Manchester City in early 1930, for £3,500. He only made a handful of appearances for City before, in 1931, he was transferred to cross-town rivals Manchester United, then playing in the Second Division.

In the 1932–33 season he was United's top scorer with eleven goals. He would go on to score league 14 goals for United in 42 matches before retiring due to injury in 1934 (aged 23), although he subsequently had brief spells at Northampton Town in 1934, Tranmere Rovers and Oldham Athletic in 1935.

Management careerEdit

Tranmere RoversEdit

In 1942, Ridding was appointed manager of Tranmere Rovers.[1] However, due to the Second World War he only took charge of twenty matches in his four-year spell as manager.[2]

Bolton WanderersEdit

Ridding replaced Walter Rowley, who resigned due to ill health, in October 1950 as manager of Bolton Wanderers. The 1950–51 season saw a significant improvement in Bolton's league performance, finishing eighth, six places higher than the previous season. The following season 1951–52 they finished three places higher in fifth. An FA Cup Final appearance followed a year later; however they lost a thrilling encounter against a Stanley Matthews inspired Blackpool team 4–3. Another fifth-place finish came in the 1953–54 league season as well as a run to the quarter finals of the cup. The 1954–55 season saw Bolton struggle for form in the league, narrowly escaping relegation, finishing the season in eighteenth place. Bill Ridding's men bounced back the following season to finish in a respectful eighth position, following that up with a ninth place in 1956–57.

The 1957–58 season saw Bolton win their fourth and, to date, last FA Cup with a victory over a post Munich Manchester United. Nat Lofthouse scored twice in a 2–0 win. The team that won the cup had cost just £110 in signing-on fees.[3]

The FA Cup victory inspired Bolton in the league as they embarked on their finest league performance in 33 years, finishing the 1958–59 season in fourth position. The 1959–60 season saw Bolton finish sixth, a position it would take another forty five years to replicate. A slow and gradual demise in Bolton's fortunes started from here, linked somewhat to Lofthouse's retirement and respective finishes of eighteenth, eleventh and eighteenth foreshadowed what was to come. Ridding also missed out on signing Alan Ball, who joined Bolton on a trial in 1961. Ridding rejected Ball on the grounds that, at 5 ft 6 ins, he was too small to make the grade as a footballer, advising him that "You'll make a good little jockey!"[4]

The 1963–64 season proved to be the nadir of Ridding's times at the club as a twenty first-place finish condemned Bolton to relegation, their first time out of the top flight since 1935. In the 1964–65 season Bolton narrowly missed out on promotion back to the top flight, finishing the season in third position. Positions became gradually worse, with Bolton finishing ninth, twice, and then twelfth, at the time the club's worst ever position. Ridding left Bolton just before the start of the next season and was replaced by Lofthouse.[5]



Bolton Wanderers


  1. ^ a b "Tranmere Rovers Managers Since 1912". Tranmere Rovers official website. 12 May 2010. Archived from the original on 21 June 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Managers – Bill Ridding". Soccerbase. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  3. ^ "FOOTBALLING FIFTIES, THE GREAT POLL: MANAGERS (Bill Ridding)". footballingfifties. Archived from the original on 4 July 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  4. ^ Glanville, Brian (25 April 2007). "Dynamo who terrorised world's best defences (Alan Ball obituary)". London: Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  5. ^ "Bolton Wanderers FC Football Years 1966–1970 Overview". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2007.

External linksEdit