Wilf Mannion

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Wilf Mannion
Wilf Mannion Statue MFC.jpg
Statue outside the Riverside Stadium of Middlesbrough F.C.
Personal information
Full name Wilfred James Mannion
Date of birth (1918-05-16)16 May 1918
Place of birth South Bank, Middlesbrough, England
Date of death 14 April 2000(2000-04-14) (aged 81)
Place of death Teesside, England
Playing position Inside forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1936–1954 Middlesbrough 341 (99)
1954–1956 Hull City 16 (1)
1956–1958 Cambridge United
Poole Town
Earlestown (player/manager)
National team
1939–1946 → England wartime team 4 (0)
1948 England B 1 (0)
1946–1951 England 26 (11)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Wilfred James "Wilf" Mannion (16 May 1918 – 14 April 2000) was an English professional footballer who played as an inside forward,[1] making over 350 senior appearances for Middlesbrough. He also played international football for England. With his blonde hair, he was nicknamed "The Golden Boy".[2][3] He was arguably Middlesbrough's greatest ever player.[4]

Early life[edit]

Mannion was born on 16 May 1918 in South Bank, the son of Irish immigrants Tommy and Mary Mannion, and one of 10 children.[3]


He joined his local team Middlesbrough F.C. in 1936 and went on to make 341 Football League appearances for them, scoring on 99 occasions.[5] He scored 110 goals in all competitions for Middlesbrough.

Mannion fought in France and Italy during World War II.[1]

At the end of the 1947–48 season he wanted a transfer, but Middlesbrough refused. In protest he did not play for them for much of the following season but he eventually backed down and started playing for Middlesbrough again.[6]

England International[edit]

He was capped on 26 occasions by the England national football team between 1946 and 1951, and his final appearance came on 3 October 1951.[7] He was a member of the England squad for the 1950 FIFA World Cup.[8] Along with Middlesbrough and England teammate George Hardwick, he was also part of the Great Britain football team that beat the Rest of Europe 6-1 in 1947.[9]

Later career[edit]

After initially retiring as a player in 1954, Mannion subsequently joined Hull City. However, the Football League suspended him for articles he had written,[8] and he left to play non-league football with Poole Town.[5] He also had an unsuccessful spell as manager of Cambridge United.[6]

After football[edit]

He was eventually awarded a testimonial match by Middlesbrough in 1983, alongside former Boro and England colleague George Hardwick.[3]

Journalist Nick Varley published a biography of Mannion called "Golden Boy" in 1997.

Mannion died on 14 April 2000 at the age of 81.[6] After his passing, Middlesbrough FC erected a statue of Mannion outside the Riverside Stadium.

In 2004 it was announced he was being inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum.[10]


  1. ^ a b English Hall of Fame Profile Archived 15 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ N. Varley (2002) Golden Boy: A Biography of Wilf Mannion, Aurum Press Ltd, ISBN 1-85410-879-4
  3. ^ a b c "The Original Golden Boy: The Wilf Mannion Story". This is the north east. communigate.co.uk. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/local-news/wilf-mannion-3859271
  5. ^ a b Football League Career Stats at Neil Brown
  6. ^ a b c Brian Glanville (15 April 2000). "Wilf Mannion". Obituary. The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "England's Players - Mabbutt to Murphy". England Football Online. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Wilf Mannion 1936-54". Middlesbrough FC. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  9. ^ http://www.11v11.com/matches/great-britain-v-rest-of-europe-10-may-1947-225424/
  10. ^ "Hero duo get footballing honour". BBC. 4 November 2004. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 

External links[edit]