Ron Wylie R.I.P.
I started watching Blues in 1967 and the first Blues captain I saw was Ron Wylie who sadly passed away last week, aged 86. Ron epitomised everything you’d want from a team captain – leadership, drive, commitment and skill. Born in Glasgow in 1933, he’d started his career with Clydesdale Juniors before joining Notts County as an inside-forward in 1948 before joining our friends over the Expressway in 1958.
He joined Blues in July 1965, just after we’d been relegated to the old Division 2 – by then he’d converted into a powerful central midfielder. Some suggested that he was past his best when he joined us – nothing could have been further than the truth. He’d been voted Midlands player of the year in 1965 and went on to spend 5 seasons at Blues before retiring at the age of 37. During that time he was a consistent performer- winning the ball, holding it and distributing it intelligently – and an inspirational captain, leading us to an FA cup semi-final in 1968 against West Brom, beating Arsenal and Chelsea on the way (He’d missed the league cup semi final with QPR the year before through injury). In all he played 149 games for Blues, scoring twice.
Although he’d played for Scotland schoolboys he never gained a full cap – probably due to the other high quality Scottish midfielders around at the time. Off the field Ron was approachable and friendly – I still can still recall the excitement of two of my ten year old classmates who met him watching Sunday league football and got his autograph in 1967.
After leaving Blues he went into coaching at Coventry City and then abroad before returning to the UK to manage West Brom for a couple of years. Sadly for him this was unsuccessful and he later returned to coaching, scouting and community liaison officer work in the Midlands.
Although he only spent the tail end of his playing career with Blues he created a very positive impression in that attractive cup fighting side of the late 60s and is fondly remembered by Blues fans of that era. RIP Ron.
Main memory of Ron is against QPR in a league game with Rodney Marsh at his best,,,,,,Marsh was warned by the Tilton,, “Ronnie,s gonna get you ! as he was flying down the wing towards the Tilton, the only part of the pitch not frozen,,,,,,the next thing is Marsh doing a complete circle in mid air with the Tilton telling him, “We warned yah, we warned yah, now get off yer arse” as he slid about10 yards away from the tackle,,,,,,,you didnt give Ron time enough to get one of his “Special” tackles on,,,,,,all perfectly legal but a player knew about it and tried to keep well clear of him for the rest of the game
I remember Ron Wylie as one of the best captain’s and midfielders that ever played for Blues. I specifically recall the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park, against the baggies, in 1968, at Villa Park. We lost 2 -0 but Ron played his heart out for the team. When I remember great midfielders for the Blues, I think a few may be 4 or 5, I would always include Ron Wylie, along with the likes of Howard Kendall.
Main thing I remember was John “Bionic” Osborne playing the game of his life for the Baggies,,,,,on chances alone we should have gone to Wembley,,,,,,they broke away twice and scored,,,,,,every Blues player bar one deserved to go to the “Twin Towers” on their performance,,,,the execption ?,,,,,Barry Bridges,,,,he got Whacked in the first 10min and spent the rest of the game playing as a “Left Back”[ in the dressing room],can,t remember if it was Cohen or Wilson who scared him but they did a good job of it
Yes , I agree. I was at the QPR game in February, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Who should come out at half time, yes Barry Bridges. I do not wish to criticise him too much because he was a great player for Blues, but he did not perform in that semi-final. Along with Ron Wylie, I also remember Freddie Pickering playing his heart out for Blues that day.