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William John Slater CBE (born 29 April 1927), also commonly known as W. J. Slater, is an English former professional footballer. Slater made the majority of his appearances for Wolverhampton Wanderers, with whom he won three league championships and the FA Cup.

Bill Slater
Personal information
Full name William John Slater[1]
Date of birth (1927-04-29) 29 April 1927 (age 91)
Place of birth Clitheroe, England
Playing position Inside forward, left half, full back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1944–1951 Blackpool 30 (9)
1951–1952 Brentford 7 (1)
1952–1963 Wolverhampton Wanderers 310 (24)
1963–1964 Brentford 5 (2)
Northern Nomads
Total 352 (36)
National team
1950–1953 England Amateurs 20 (7)
1952 Great Britain 1 (0)
1954–1960 England 12 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Slater started his career as a 16-year-old amateur at Blackpool in 1944 and played in the 1951 FA Cup Final in which Blackpool lost to Newcastle United,[2] becoming the last amateur to play in an FA Cup Final at Wembley.[3] Another record he jointly holds is Blackpool's fastest-ever goal: 11 seconds into a game against Stoke City on 10 December 1949.[3] This was matched by James Quinn in 1995.[4] Slater made his Blackpool debut on 10 September 1949, in a goalless draw at Aston Villa.[3] As a nippy inside-forward, he competed with Allan Brown for the number 10 position for the majority of his time at the seaside.[5]

After finishing college, in December 1951 he moved to Brentford where he made 8 appearances and then,[6] in August 1952, joined Wolverhampton Wanderers as a part-time professional.[3] He remained at Molineux until 1963, making 339 total appearances and scoring 25 goals.[7][8] He won three Football League championships (1953–54, 1957–58, 1958–59), as well as being runners-up (1954–55, 1959–60).[3] He also won an FA Cup (1960, against Blackburn Rovers, in the year he was voted Footballer of the Year).[3] He gained 12 caps for England (including four in the 1958 World Cup) and 20 amateur caps.[9]

At the World Cup he played all four of England's matches at left half.[3] The Brazilian match observer Eduardo Santos named him the most "perverse player" he had ever seen. Slater's game basically consisted of stamping his opponents heels and pulling them to the ground. This caused Brazil to renounce the use of their right attacker Garrincha to protect him in the group match against England, which ended 0–0.[10] Slater also represented Great Britain at the 1952 Summer Olympics.[11][12] He also played cricket for Warwickshire's second XI, in both the Second XI Championship and the Minor Counties Championship.[13]

In July 1963, he returned to Brentford and later played for Northern Nomads.[6] In 1982, Slater was appointed an OBE for his services to sport.[2] A CBE followed in 1998.[2] In February 2009, his daughter Barbara Slater was chosen to be the first female Director of Sport at the BBC.[14]



  1. ^ "Bill Slater". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Bill Slater OBE, CBE | Wolverhampton Wanderers | Club | Golden Oldies | Golden Oldies". Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Wolverhampton Wanderers FC". Retrieved 3 January 2018. 
  4. ^ Gillatt, Peter (30 November 2009). Blackpool FC On This Day: History, Facts and Figures from Every Day of the Year. Pitch Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-905411-50-2. 
  5. ^ Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992. Breedon Books Sport. ISBN 1-873626-07-X. 
  6. ^ a b Haynes, Graham; Coumbe, Frank (2006). Timeless Bees: Brentford F.C. Who's Who 1920–2006. Yore Publications. p. 146. ISBN 978-0955294914. 
  7. ^ "Player Appearances". Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  8. ^ "Goalscorers". Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2017. 
  9. ^ "Bill Slater". Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Ruy Castro: Estrela Solitária – Um Brasileiro Chamado Garrincha, Companhia das Letras, São Paulo, 1995, Cap. 5.
  11. ^ "Bill SLATER". FIFA. Retrieved 9 November 2009. 
  12. ^ "William Slater". Sports Reference. Retrieved 9 November 2009. 
  13. ^ Bill Slater – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  14. ^ Barbara Slater appointed new Director of BBC Sport 25.02.2009