Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Death of Outstanding Wednesbury Footballer

I thought this obituary of our Norman in the Guardian said it all. A man who won two championship medals and won the FA Cup scoring two goals in the final and won England caps. Who went on to play for Darlo! And ended up as a steward for the Saddlers. Modern players with far lesser talent and all their cash and status could not lace his boots. Those where the days our Norman scored his first goal for the club in a pulsating 4-4 draw with West Bromwich Albion in the FA Charity Shield. Yes Wolves and Albion shared the shield for six months each. The 1954 Champions and FA Cup Winners. Bill Shankly was wrong football is just a game and there are things in life that are more important but Normans life shone trough his football career.

Who would have thought that it would be so long before Wolves won the FA Cup again. Maybe they need more lads from Wednesbury in the team!

"Norman Deeley was a tiny ball of high-octane energy and verve that never lost its bounce during his medal-rich prime with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of the 1950s.

An irrepressibly dynamic goal-scoring winger versatile enough to thrive on either flank, he excelled as part of the second thunderously powerful combination moulded by the formidable disciplinarian Stan Cullis, helping to lift two consecutive League titles and the FA Cup, and earning England recognition along the way.

There was never very much of the effervescent Midlander. When he made his entrance onto the international stage at schoolboy level during 1947/48, he stood a mere 4ft 4in and was said to be the smallest ever to play for the team. Indeed, he was to grow only a foot taller, but he compensated amply in skill, determination and bravery for what he lacked in physical stature." Wrote Ivan Ponting in the Independent.

Norman Deeley
Goal scorer in Wolves' FA Cup victory of 1960

Brian Glanville
Wednesday November 28, 2007


Norman Deeley, a tiny winger for Wolverhampton Wanderers in their championship winning sides of the 1950s, whose pace, skill and opportunism made light of his size, has died aged 73. At 4ft 4in, he became the smallest ever schoolboy international for England in 1947, and even when full-grown, he was little more than a foot taller.
Born in Wednesbury, West Midlands, he attended Holyhead Road school. Wolverhampton Wanderers was a natural, local club to join and he served them well for 11 years. Perhaps the peak of his achievement was to score twice in the FA Cup final of 1960, though admittedly it was against a Blackburn Rovers team cut down to 10 men when their full-back, Dave Whelan, now owner of Wigan Athletic, was carried off with a broken leg. Already an own goal down, Blackburn still proceeded to play largely the better football, but as they tired, Deeley, operating on the right flank, but always ready to move into the middle, swooped twice.

Altogether, he played 235 First Division matches for Wolves, scoring 75 goals and winning two Championship medals in successive seasons. The first came in 1957-58, when, in 41 appearances, thus missing but a single game, he scored 23 goals. The following season he scored another 17 in 38 appearances.

When things were going wrong for Wolves, he would do his energetic and intelligent best to put them right. As when, in the absence of the team's playmaker, Peter Broadbent, in a game lost 1-0 at Tottenham in September 1961, one wrote: "Deeley did his best to supply the lack of generalship but, well as he played, neatly as he controlled the ball, cleverly as he passed, a winger can do only so much, even when he wanders."

Deeley won two caps for England, on the ill-starred summer tour of South America: a 2-0 defeat in Rio de Janeiro by Brazil, when he was inevitably overshadowed by the explosive brilliance of his Brazilian opposite number at outside right, Julinho; the second in Lima, when Peru humiliated England, beating them 4-1.

In 1961-62 he left Wolves, and helped Leyton Orient to gain promotion to the top division, coming second in Division 2; he scored two goals in 14 games. Later he drifted into non-league, playing in turn for Worcester City, Bromsgrove Rovers and Darlaston, before retiring in 1974. He later worked at a community centre in Walsall and as a steward for Walsall FC. He lived on his at his late mother's home in Wednesbury.

· Norman Victor Deeley, footballer, born November 30 1933; died September 7 2007

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007ituary