At 31, he stepped up to perform the unenviable task of replacing his mentor, the legendary Sir Matt Busby, as United manager. Although the Reds reached three cup semi-finals, patchy league form meant Wilf's reign only lasted 18 months, before he reassumed his role of trainer.
Wilf's passion for United remained unaffected and, after over a decade co-commentating for Manchester United Radio, he continues to provide expert opinion for the club's media channels.
Even though it didn't make the top 100 list, Wilf treasures one particular memory from his many years at Old Trafford - United's 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers in September 1995.
"To me it was the birth of Fergie's Fledglings," he says. "The outstanding moment was the second goal in a 3-0 win, and there was a brilliant flowing move which culminated in a young lad called Terry Cooke putting the ball across for Ryan Giggs to finish it off.
"Bolton were just cut to shreds, and I remember seeing Bobby Charlton afterwards and we both said: 'that was like watching the Busby Babes'. Fergie had got it right with the young players, Eric Harrison had done some great work with the youth team and it was all gelling together into an incredibly exciting young team."