Ray Wilkins 1956-2018
Raymond Colin Wilkins MBE, often known as “Butch” Wilkins at the start of his career, was an English former footballer and at present a television pundit. He was a key midfielder for the England national football team during the 1980s, and enjoyed success at various clubs including Chelsea, Manchester United, A.C. Milan, Queens Park Rangers and Rangers. He went on to manage QPR & Fulham as well as being an assistant coach at Chelsea, Watford & Aston Villa. Sir Alex Ferguson said “Ray was a great football man who was well respected and liked by all who knew him and he always had a kind word and time for people’.
This British football legend and sports speaker Ray Wilkins MBE spent his career playing for some of the biggest teams in the UK & abroad. Wilkins played for England for the first time in 1976 and was so successful he went on to secure himself a position on the team for the next ten years, earning an impressive 84 caps. Once retired as a player, Wilkins worked as a coach and a football speaker. Gary Lineker said of Ray ‘A wonderful footballer and a delightful man. It was a pleasure to have played alongside him with England. No team-mate was more helpful and supportive. I’ll be forever grateful’.
Wilkins was a prolific sports pundit, speaker and journalist, he worked as both co-commentator and lead anchor on several specialist football shows for Sky Sports, commentating on some of the biggest games in the football season; alongside his work as a football speaker Wilkins contributed journalistic writing to a number of publications about contemporary football.
Outside his work as a specialist football and after dinner speaker Wilkins coached the Chelsea team and the England under 21’s. Wilkins is truly dedicated to football, his father George was a professional footballer whilst his brothers Graham, Stephen and Dean have all also worked as professional footballers or football speakers in some capacity.
As an after dinner speaker Ray Wilkins MBE also talked about his various physical problems and mental illnesses; citing the pressure of professional football Wilkins admitted to depression and alcohol related issues as well as suffering from bowel disease. Frank Lampard said “He was a great player and an even greater man. Full of kindness and humility, with impeccable manners at all times. He had respect and time for everyone and to me he was a mentor and a friend. I’m not sure they make them like Ray anymore. You will be sorely missed fella.”
As a football speaker Wilkins was fascinating, passionate and enigmatic; he provided a unique insight into the world of football, having worked as both player and coach, whilst his journalistic and commentator career provided him with an excellent opportunity to hone his eloquence and presentation abilities. The game of football will miss him.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.