A case for 5 extra caps

Like everyone else who follows football, I have always known that Billy Wright won 105 caps for England. HOWEVER, during my research I learned that he played in a further 5 full international matches, called the Victory Internationals. These matches should be classed as official, taking his total to 110 caps and his 'match minutes' played to 9930 min. (Please read 'The boys deserve caps' - Victory Internationals section on this site).

Furthermore, it would mean that at 110 caps, his record would have actually stood for over 30 years. Even more amazingly, let's remember that Billy served his country during the war, which cut his career short by 7 full seasons. He only played professionally for 14 seasons (1938-39 and 1946-59), so all of his caps were won in a relatively brief career.

Following 'Victory in Europe Day' (VE Day) 8th May 1945, a series of celebratory post-war full international matches were played called the Victory Internationals. Billy played in 5 of these games prior to his official full international debut, which was on 28th September 1946. They were huge matches, attracting attendances of up to 140,000.

England fielded full strength all English teams wearing England shirts for these post-war, spirit-raising games. They featured the big stars of the day: Joe Mercer, Frank Swift, Len Shackleton, Bert Williams, Neil Franklin, Denis Compton, Stanley Matthews, Tommy Lawton, Jimmy Hagan, Raich Carter, Billy Wright, etc.

A complete list of the 10 Victory International matches appears on this site. I believe that all the players that played in these games 'should be credited' with full international caps and I explain why in the Victory International section.

In any event, let us not forget… most of these lads had been serving King and country, some since 1939. Their lives and careers had been shattered. Also, names that might have been on the England team sheets, like Bolton's brilliant young prospect Walter Sidebottom and Wolves Joe Rooney… are not there because those particular boys didn't make it home. Arsenal alone lost 9 great young players and players from many clubs gave their lives.

The lads who played in the Victory Internationals deserve their caps and if awarded them it will bring Sir Stanley Matthews international caps total up from 54 to 61 (Plus he played 26 wartime internationals 1939-45), Sir Tom Finney's total up from 76 to 78, Tommy Lawton's total up from 23 to 31 (Plus he played 20 wartime internationals 1939-45), Billy Wright's total up from 105 to 110, etc.

Billy's 5 missing caps