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Beyond the Centrefold – An England XI 1959

By on 4 August 2017

Some England players become household names. Some make just a few appearances for the Three Lions before their international careers are confined to the history books, a fact well illustrated in this centre spread from Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, February 1960.


Although this picture appeared in the February 1960 edition of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, it was taken before England played Northern Ireland at Wembley in November 1959. The fact that it was the only time that Ken Brown pictured in the back row ever played for England means that this England XI never played as a team again. SoccerAttic has provided some more information on each of the players in the line-up. Hover or tap the player’s face to see the write-up. Some need very little introduction; others we knew very little about. We’d love to know more if anyone has further information on some of the more obscure names here.

England 1959

England 1959

Johnny Haynes Ron Flowers John Connelly Joe Baker Tony Allen Ron Clayton Ron Springett Ray Parry Ron Clayton Ken Brown Don Howe Eddie Holiday

Johnny Haynes

Haynes is widely regarded as the best player ever to play for Fulham where he spent 18 years. An old fashioned inside forward, he was capped 56 times for England, 22 of them as captain and often when Fulham were still in the Second Division. Pele once described him as the best passer of a football he had ever seen. He is also famous for becoming the first £100 a week player following the abolition of the £20 maximum wage in 1961.

Ron Flowers


A Wolves legend, Flowers spent 15 years at the club before leaving for Northampton Town in 1967. It is often forgotten that he was a non-playing member of Alf Ramsey’s 1966 World Cup squad but earned 49 caps in total throughout his career. He won the First Division title three times with Wolves and the FA Cup once. The sports shop he opened in Wolverhampton when he retired from the game is still trading under his name.

John Connelly


He played 20 times for England, his last cap being in England’s first game of the 1966 World Cup against Uruguay before Ramsey changed to his preferred ‘wingless wonders’ formation. He began his career at Burnley where he made 256 appearances between 1956 and 1964 and won a championship medal. He also had spells at Manchester Utd (where he also won the league), Blackburn and Bury. He died in October 2012 aged 74.

Joe Baker

Under modern rules he could have played for Scotland or England as his mother was Scottish. He did in fact begin his career at Hibs. But by the rules then, due to being born in England, he was eligible only for England. He spent a year at Torino in 1961-62 but made only 19 appearances before joining Arsenal where he scored 93 goals in 144 appearances between 1962 and 1966. He was a fairly prolific goal scorer at every club he played for but was only capped eight times for England. He died aged just 63 in 2003 from a heart attack.

Tony Allen


Born and bred in Stoke, Allen spent 13 years at Stoke City making 417 league appearances. He left The Potters in 1970 to join Bury where he spent a year. After only three caps for England, Allen was unfortunate to be playing at the same time as the perennial Ray Wilson who was always favoured at left back ahead of him.  He retired from the game in 1973 and opened a newsagents.

Ron Clayton


Ronnie Clayton played league football only for Blackburn Rovers for whom he made 581 appearances in 19 years. He played 35 times for England, five of them as captain and was part of the 1958 World Cup squad. He won his last cap in 1960 against Yugoslavia. He died in October 2010 aged 76.

Ron Springett


Best known as a Sheffield Wednesday player where he spent nine years from 1958, Springett began his career at QPR where he played 88 times. When he left Wednesday in 1967, he returned to QPR making a further 45 appearances. He was England’s first choice keeper for the 1962 World Cup but had been surpassed by Gordon Banks by the 1966 tournament, though he was still a member of the squad.  In total he was capped 33 times by England. He died in September 2015 aged 80.

Ray Parry

He was the youngest player ever to play in the First Division when he made his debut for Bolton Wanderers against Wolves in 1951 aged 15. He was a member of Bolton’s 1958 FA Cup winning side when they beat the Munich Air crash depleted Manchester Utd 2-0. He was capped just twice for England. He died in May 2003, aged 67.

Ron Clayton


Ronnie Clayton played league football only for Blackburn Rovers for whom he made 581 appearances in 19 years. He played 35 times for England, five of them as captain and was part of the 1958 World Cup squad. He won his last cap in 1960 against Yugoslavia. He died in October 2010 aged 76.

Ken Brown

Joined West Ham in 1953 where he stayed for most of his career until 1967 when he left for Torquay Utd. His only cap for England was on 18 November 1959, a 2–1 victory over over Northern Ireland at Wembley. He played alongside Bobby Moore for West Ham in the 1964 FA Cup final victory and the 1965 European Cup Winners Cup win.

Don Howe


Known for being a highly successful and influential coach, Howe’s playing career consisted of 342 league appearances for West Brom and 70 appearances for Arsenal between 1952 and 1966. He was capped for England 23 times. He became Arsenal’s first-team coach under Bertie Mee in 1967 and was a major factor behind the 1971 double winning success. He was part of the England coaching set up under Ron Greenwood and Bobby Robson.  He was less successful as a manager with spells at West Brom, Galatasaray, Arsenal, QPR and Coventry. He died in December 2015 aged 80.

Eddie Holiday


Began his career at Middlesbrough in 1957 where he stayed for five years making 134 league appearances. He also had spells at Sheffield Wednesday, Hereford, Workington and Peterborough. He retired from the game in 1970 due to injury. He won three caps for England.

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