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Ray Wilkins

Our tribute to Ray Wilkins

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It was with great sadness that Manchester United were informed that former Reds and England star Ray Wilkins has passed away. He was 61.

Everyone at Manchester United extends their sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Wilkins family and friends at this most distressing time. 
 
He will always be remembered with great affection by all those who knew him during his five years at Old Trafford. Ray ‘Butch’ Wilkins was the consummate midfielder who possessed brilliant footballing skills and a brain to match. He will always be held in high esteem at all the clubs for which he played and in particular Manchester United and Chelsea. He will also command a high place in the all-time list of those who pulled on England’s white shirt adorned with Three Lions.
 
Raymond Colin Wilkins was born in Hillingdon, West London, on Friday 14 September 1956 the son of George, a former professional footballer who also had three others sons, Graham, Dean and Stephen, who followed in his footsteps. With a pedigree like that Wilkins was always going to make the grade and it wasn’t long before the hereditary talent began to show through.
 
He was to represent his country at every level from schoolboy to the senior national side, for whom he collected 84 caps.
 
He made his name with Chelsea playing 179 times for the Stamford Bridge club and scoring 30 goals in all competitions. In the summer of 1979 he swapped the all-blue of Chelsea for the red and white of United when he transferred for £85,000. He was also re-united with manager Dave Sexton for whom he had played under for the Pensioners.
 
News of his arrival at Old Trafford was greeted with great excitement because he had gained the reputation of being one of the most accomplished midfield players of his generation. He joined United at a time when the club was still striving to capture the glory days and the earlier years of success.
Gordon McQueen and Ray Wilkins
Ray gets to know new team-mate Gordon McQueen after signing in 1979.
The addition of Wilkins provided Sexton’s side with a quality and intelligence in the centre of the field that could only be beneficial. He possessed wonderful passing skills and could spot an opening that many would have missed.
 
His crowning glory in a United shirt was during the 1983 FA Cup final against Brighton & Hove Albion at Wembley. The game was level at 1-1 when, in the 74th minute, he took a pass from Dutch Master Arnold Muhren. Wilkins steadied himself before unleashing an incredible 30-yard shot that curled majestically into the top corner of Graham Moseley’s net.
 
It was a goal that looked to have won the FA Cup for the Reds, but a late equaliser from Gary Stevens saved the day for Albion. However, Wilkins and his team-mates were not to be denied their winners’ medal after United won the midweek replay with a great performance and a resounding 4-0 win.

Three months later and United were back at Wembley to face Liverpool in the FA Charity Shield and it was another day to celebrate as the Red Devils, including Wilkins, lifted the trophy following a 2-0 victory.

Ray scores late screamer at BrightonVideo

Wilkins went on to make 194 (three as substitute) appearances in a United shirt, scoring 10 goals, before being transferred to Italian giants AC Milan in 1984. He proceeded to give service to several clubs, including Paris St Germain, Rangers, Queens Park Rangers and Hibernian.
 
At the close of his playing career he went into management and coaching to impart his vast knowledge and experience at various clubs.
 
Ray Wilkins will always be remembered as a top player and a wonderful man who everyone couldn’t fail to like.

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