Hugh Wilson – A Man Amongst Men

Hugh Wilson

W - Hugh Wilson“Captured” by Samuel Tyzack from Newmilns, Ayrshire, it is doubtful whether, at his peak there was a more famous player in the United Kingdom than Hugh Wilson.

Regarded as the greatest half back Sunderland ever possessed before he was transferred to Bristol City, eventually making back home to his native Scotland and Third Lanark.

But it was on Wearside that he became famous, in a 9 year red and white career, of 256 appearances.

He started his career at half back, but in time became a forward and scored some 45 goals for the club. He was a very large man and dominated the Sunderland team, an outfit that was Scottish in all but name, and had a massive throw in.

His main strength though lay in his powers of perception and anticipation that had more than one opposing forward cursing in frustration. He had an almost telepathic understanding with Johnny Campbell and used his massive kick to great effect, planting long passes perfectly into his fellow Scotsman’s path.

That he would in time make the transfer to centre forward was no surprise, and is probably the earliest exponent of what would become total football, he was at home in any position. On one occasion he even took over from an injured Sunderland goalkeeper, and typically didn’t concede.

He eventually retired and played for Third Lanark at Cathkin Park, but never lost his love of Sunderland.

Described as a “man amongst men” he was a true great of the game and an early pioneer, a fine ambassador for his native Scotland.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *