Ray Wilkins The Last True Gentleman in Football

Written by Johnny Mckeown
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Raymond Colin Wilkins 14th September 1956 -4th April 2018.Yesterday the football world lost an absolute Legend and Gentleman as Ray ' Butch ' Wilkins sadly passed away. The one man I could watch all day on TV as his knowledge of football was second to none. One of a limited few pundits I'd never mute the TV for.

As I watched the news filter through that he'd sadly passed, days after he'd suffered a heart attack, another Legend passing away before his time. Too many to mention and as I watched the tributes pour in from the Football world I received an incredibly humbling request to write an article/tribute to Butch. ' Fancy doing a short tribute to Butch?' As this is my first ever article, in the emails that followed the request I tried to be as professional as I could, but inside was the 13-year-old Rangers fan who probably seen every game he played after he joined us for a brief stint during the Souness era. My excited unprofessional answer to the first message would have been ' Has Pinocchio got wooden balls?' 

I couldn't possibly add to the tributes flooding in yesterday, but I do have quotes from a few friends that remember the good old days when jumpers were goalposts and you were lucky if you only trailed mud back into your parents’ house. Football pitches back in those days were always littered with dog shit. Dragging that through your house usually resulted in a good old hard smack on the arse!

Johnny Proctor Author! Ninety! 

Scottish football at times can rival Ice Hockey as the fastest team sport in the world and generally when someone joined our league they had to adapt to the speed of our game. Scottish football instead had to adapt to Butch Wilkins pace. In a country with a hate of all things Rangers and Celtic, Butch was a player you couldn't help but admire. Dundee United and Scotland fan!

Derek Adams Physio

Scott Nisbett's first game with Butch was all the education he needed from him. ' When you see I'm about to receive a pass son (after a few that Scott missed ) start your run down the wing. Next, move one pass to Wilkins, one-touch followed by a pinpoint pass to Nisbett's feet. Cross,Goal,Simple Football and Butch was a masterful midfielder. Rangers and Scotland fan!

Colin Burns Liverpool and Scotland fan

My first international game 1-0 v England I watched his future captain at Rangers score the winner, Butch was as classy on the pitch as he was off it, a true football man and Legend!

Alan Johnston Liverpool and Scotland fan

I was lucky enough to meet him as a star-struck 13-year-old and he took time to speak to me and what he said I'll never forget. ' If you say please son you'll get anything in this life' Then he signed my autograph book. Brilliant to watch on Football Italia as well!

John McKeown my little cousin (6'6") Towers over me

I had the pleasure of being in hospitality for his final game as a Rangers player. The reception he got that day as he played his final match was incredible, in Hospitality he had been so overwhelmed by his send-off he was reduced to tears as the club meant that much to him. Rangers fan.

Billy McNeill Celtic manager

 "There's as much chance of ( Frank ) McAvennie moving as there is of Rangers beating us 5 - 1 tomorrow"

My own special memory of him is the aforementioned game Billy McNeill insisted wouldn't happen. Butch scored the famous volley that if Ian Andrews had a phone box next to him with the ability to turn into Superman he still wouldn't have got near it. To be honest, that goal I have seen thousands of times but only once directly opposite in The Copland rear row E seat 56, as the split second it took to hit the back of the net sent 45 thousand Rangers fans into delirium. The thing that really sticks in my mind about that day though is the fact that Souness, The Magnificent Bastard came on during the second half and ordered the team the "take the pish". 5-1 up with 21 minutes remaining 45 thousand fans screaming "we want 8" and we would have got it too. But having an Italian background like Butch, The Magnificent Bastard orchestrated a Harlem Globetrotters type ending as we proceeded to keep the ball off them for the rest of the game. The one other game I would loved to have found out Butch's reaction after the infamous Souness tackle where he virtually decapitated his Romanian opponent, then tried to con the Ref by showing him his own imaginary injury. I think Butch would have said something along the lines of  " Come on Gaffer young chap, calm down and don't go so high next time or it's an early bath for you"

Any parent with a young kid that doesn't have their phone stuck in their face 24/7 watch videos of the modern day Butch, Xavi Barcelona Legend! In the days of Messi and Ronaldo who end up getting all the accolades and awards at the end of the season, Butch and Xavi are the type of players that make a team tick. The type of player who knows who he's passing to next before they even receive the ball in the first place. Like a world-class chess player that's three moves ahead of anyone else.

My final tribute to the Legend that is Raymond Colin Wilkins, if every man conducted themselves in the manner of Football's Last True Gentleman, the world would be a much better place. Rest easy Legend!


Read 133848 times Last modified on Thursday, 05 April 2018 16:39
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Johnny Mckeown

Johnny Mckeown

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