July 13, 2012 | Ron Flowers Sports
Ron Flowers, born 28th July 1938 is most famously know for being in the triumphant 1966 World Cup English football team. However, locally Ron is know for his persistence and rewarding 515 appearances for Wolverhampton Wonders, scoring an impressive 37 goals.
Ron Flowers was born on July 28th 1934 in Edlington, then still a mining village, four miles from Doncaster, South Yorkshire. He was the third son of five children (three boys, two girls) born to a family full of football tradition. Whilst his father didn’t play professionally, his uncle did, representing, Doncaster Rovers, Tranmere Rovers and Rochdale. His eldest brother was also a good player, although not playing as a professional; he did make the books for Sheffield Wednesday. His younger brother also played professional football representing Stoke City, Doncaster Rovers and finally Port Vale, but it was Ron who played professionally and went on to Captain England in the Home Countries Knockout in 1962
Ron started his career at the tender age of four playing out in the street with his siblings and anybody else that happened to be there. At Edlington Hill Top Infants School the career continued with playground matches, then on to Victoria Road Junior School continuing the playground theme and finally to Edlington Hill Top Senior School where unsurprisingly he not only made the football team but captained them as well! From these school matches he was picked to play for Doncaster School Boys and then Yorkshire School Boys but on leaving school at fifteen was no longer eligible to represent them.
By this time he had been noticed by Doncaster Rovers who approached his father Jack for permission to sign him. Jack Flowers, a miner, wouldn’t let his sons follow him down the pit and agreed to Ron signing for them only because Ron had by this time secured an apprenticeship with L.N.E.R. Locomotive sheds at Doncaster as an apprentice fitter and turner.
Fitting training commitments in at night after work, playing matches at weekends, Ron was soon picked up by a Wolverhampton Wanderers scout and asked Ron to sign for the Wolves. At that time Wolverhampton Wanderers were the number one club, top of the Northern Intermediate League which included Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Ever the cautious man, Jack wouldn’t let Ron sign, saying he had to finish his apprenticeship first. However as soon as Ron reached seventeen Stan Cullis , the Wolves manager, came to see him play and offered him maximum wages for a seventeen year old, meaning that Ron would be earning more a week than his Dad did. Reluctantly Jack gave in.
This now was the beginning of a big change in Ron’s life. With the signing came a move south to Wolverhampton, the first time away from home for the miner’s son. Placed in ‘digs’ consisting of a room in a family home offering bed and breakfast plus evening meal, Ron walked to and from training every day, from his new home in Whitmore Reans not only to training but also to matches, walking home again after the final whistle.
At eighteen there was more change, this time in the form of National Service. Applying for the R.A.F he completed his initial training at Hednesford followed by a posting Cosford. It was during the 6 weeks of initial training that Ron made his first team debut for the Wolves against Blackpool. Wolves lost but Ron had scored his first goal for the team that he represented for the next 17 years
During this time he captained The Wolves, scored ??? goals, played in the first floodlit match at The Molineux, played under three managers, won three first division winners medals, one F.A Cup winners medal and numerous charity shields. He also managed to clock up an impressive 100% record for penalty taking, placing him higher than David Beckham in the penalty taking ranks!
It was also during his Wolves playing career that he played for his country. His first match was against France in 1955, again he went on to represent his country on numerous occasions, as captain of them several times and playing in the Chile World Cup in 1962 which, according to Ron, England should have won. Having got to the final 6/8? Check Brazil knocked them out.
1966. By this time Ron was coming to the end of his career but still offered enough skill and experience to earn himself a place in the England Squad for the World Cup Finals. We all know the result but what we don’t perhaps know is the scenes behind.
The tournament began and England progressed through the group stages to the final. Ron didn’t play in any of these games and wasn’t down to play in the final against West Germany. The night before the game Jack Charlton began to run a temperature, Ron was given the nod that if Jack was still ill in the morning he would be on. Luckily for Jack, unluckily for Ron, Jack was passed fit and the rest is history. Almost. In 1966 there were no subs on the bench. FIFA awarded medals only to players, not to coaches or managers or other squad members, just those players who played in the final. Ron and all the other non playing squad members went home empty handed.
In 2009 FIFA finally awarded world cup winners medals to all of the remaining 1966 world cup squad.
After retiring from professional football Ron opened his shop in Wolverhampton and continued to work there for some years before letting his eldest son take the responsibility so that he could at last concentrate on lowering that golf handicap!
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