David Wheelwright: Memories of a Football Career

Whilst playing football for the works team, I was approached by a scout from the Walsall Football Club and asked if I would go along for a trial at Fellows Park. The Walsall team manager at this time was the famous England international and Birmingham City goalkeeper, Harry Hibbs. I received a postcard on 15 April 1949 informing me that I had been selected to play in a match against the Alliance team at 6.00 p.m. on 19 April.

As a result of this game I received a telegram on the 22 April asking me to report to Fellows Park at 1.15p.m. the following day, Saturday 23 April, to play for the Alliance team.

My passion was still to play for Birmingham City Football Club, so in the closed season I approached their chief scout and asked if they would give me a trial. They did and I played in a practice game at St Andrew's one Sunday morning in late August of that year. As a result of the trial I received a card dated 8 September 1949, inviting me to play for the 'A' team against Stratford.

After doing well in that trial match, I was signed by the then manager Bob Brocklebank on amateur forms and played a number of games for their youth team, St Andrew's Athletic. This required training two evenings a week at the St Andrew's ground. One memory I cherish from this time was when one of our fixtures was postponed due to bad weather and we returned in time to watch Birmingham play Blackpool. Birmingham lost 2-0.

This was the weekend of 5 November 1949. It was a very special occasion because we were allowed into the dressing rooms and able to mix with the likes of Stanley Mathews, Stan Mortensen, Jackie Mudie, Bill Perry and their Captain Harry Johnston. All of these players would go on and play for Blackpool in the famous FA Cup Final of 1953 when Blackpool beat Bolton Wonderers 4-3. This final was dubbed the 'Matthews Final'. Also playing in this game was the Birmingham right-winger, Johnny Berry, who was later transferred to Manchester United and died in the Munich air crash. Birmingham were relegated that season!


David Wheelwright obituary | Database Entry