Ron Wilson (footballer, born 1941)

Ronald Wilson (born 6 September 1941) is a Scottish former footballer who played as a left-back. He played 300 games in an eleven-year career in the Football League, scoring five goals.

Ron Wilson
Personal information
Full name Ronald Wilson[1]
Date of birth (1941-09-06) 6 September 1941
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Playing position Left back
Youth career
Tynecastle Athletic
Musselburgh Athletic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1963 Stoke City 11 (0)
1963–1970 Port Vale 264 (5)
1971–1977 Hellenic
Total 275+ (5+)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

After playing for youth sides Tynecastle Athletic and Musselburgh Athletic, he signed with Stoke City in 1959. He failed to make much of an impact, and was sold on to Port Vale in 1963 for a £12,000 fee (in a package deal that also included Jackie Mudie). He spent seven years with Vale, winning the club's Player of the Year award in 1968–69, and helping the club to win promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1969–70. He departed for South Africa in December 1970 due to his son's ill health, and spent five years with Hellenic, later returning to the UK with Caverswall and Lambourne.

Playing career

Stoke City

Wilson played for Tynecastle Athletic and Musselburgh Athletic, before joining Second Division Stoke City in 1959. He made seven appearances in 1959–60, though Wilson played just the one game in 1960–61, after Tony Waddington replaced Frank Taylor as manager. He was used just once in 1962–63, as the "Potters" won promotion to the First Division as champions of the Second Division. Having failed to displace Tony Allen as left-back, Wilson left the club in November 1963, after making two top-flight appearances in 1963–64.

Port Vale

Wilson signed for Stoke City's rivals Port Vale in November 1963 for a £12,000 fee (in a package deal that also included Jackie Mudie).[2] Vale were then in the Third Division under manager Freddie Steele. He made 24 league appearances in 1963–64, and also played four games in the "Valiants" march to the FA Cup Fourth Round, where they took Liverpool to a replay after a goalless draw at Anfield. However Vale suffered relegation in 1964–65, and Mudie replaced Steele as manager.

Having only played 23 games in 1964–65, Wilson enjoyed regular football in the Fourth Division, and missed just ten games of the 1965–66 campaign. He played 36 games in 1966–67, and also scored the first goal of his professional career on 28 March 1967, in a 5–0 demolition of Rochdale at Vale Park. Four days later at Kenilworth Road he doubled his goal tally, helping Vale to record a 1–1 draw with Luton Town.

Vale struggled under new manager Stanley Matthews (who was also a former teammate at Stoke) in the 1967–68 season, though Wilson played 45 games, missing just four league encounters. Vale improved under Gordon Lee in 1968–69, and Wilson posted 52 appearances, more even than club stalwart Roy Sproson. He also found the net against Southend United and Brentford. For his consistency he was named as Port Vale F.C. Player of the Year, becoming only the second winner of the award after Sproson.[3]

The club won promotion in fourth place in the 1969–70 season, with Wilson playing fifty games in an extremely consistent defence along with Sproson, Clint Boulton, and goalkeeper Keith Ball. Wilson opened the 1970–71 campaign by scoring the first goal of a 2–0 win over Swansea City at Vetch Field. He made a further sixteen appearances before December 1970, when he emigrated to South Africa due to his son's ill health.

Later career

Wilson played for South African side Hellenic from 1971 to 1976. The Cape Town based club were an attractive side of the period, and in the 1970s players such as Gordon Banks and Bobby Moore guested for the club.

He later returned to the UK, and played for Caverswall and Lambourne.


Wilson returned to the mines after his football career ended; he later worked for a telephone repair company.[4]

Career statistics


Club Season Division League FA Cup League Cup Total
Stoke City 1959–60 Second Division 700070
1960–61 Second Division 10000010
1961–62 Second Division 00000000
1962–63 Second Division 10000010
1963–64 First Division 20000020
Total 1100000110
Port Vale 1963–64 Third Division 2404000280
1964–65 Third Division 2102000230
1965–66 Fourth Division 3604020420
1966–67 Fourth Division 3323000362
1967–68 Fourth Division 4201020450
1968–69 Fourth Division 4625010522
1969–70 Fourth Division 4603010500
1970–71 Third Division 1610010171
Total 2645220702935
Career total 2755220703045


Stoke City
Port Vale


  1. "Ron Wilson". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  2. Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 313. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
  3. Kent, Jeff (1990). The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. p. 305. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7.
  4. Fissler, Neil. "Port Vale – W". Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  5. Ron Wilson at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  6. Kent, Jeff (1990). "Surviving on a Shoestring (1969–1979)". The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. pp. 227–257. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7.
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