Friday, June 6, 2014

6 June 1955 - The Golden Boy Gets Banned

On 6 June 1955, the English Football Association banned forward Wilf Mannion for life.

Mannion, nicknamed "the Golden Boy" due to his blonde hair, was born in Middlesbrough and joined Middlesbrough F.C. in 1936 at the age of 18. He went on the become one of the club's greatest players, making 368 appearances and scoring 110 goals for Boro before moving to Hull City in 1954.

He was capped 26 times for England between 1946 and 1951, scoring 11 goals for the national team, including three in his national team debut (a 7-2 win against Northern Ireland) and two in England's 6-1 win in the 1947 "Match of the Century" against a Rest of the World XI.

Mannion's football career was interrupted by World War II, in which he spent six years with the British Army's Green Howards regiment. He served in Europe and the Middle East and was one of the servicemen evacuated at Dunkirk.

Throughout his career, Mannion was frustrated by the league's wage structure, which set a maximum salary of £10 per week. In 1954, Mannion gave a series of newspaper interviews claiming that several players were receiving illegal payments. The F.A. challenged him to provide evidence, but he refused. As a result, he received a lifetime ban from League football.

The F.A. lifted the ban in 1957, but Mannion, who had been playing with non-League side Cambridge United, decided to stay there until his retirement in 1959.

Mannion died on 14 April 200 at the age of 81.

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