By Harry Mottram. They often say you can be fat and fit. Well that was certainly true of Bristol City’s most capped international footballer William John Wedlock.
Born in October 1880 ‘Fatty’ Wedlock as he was known remains the club’s most-capped player appearing in the England team’s line up 26 times and scoring two goals for his country.
The stout and short centre-half had a natural talent for the game as well has having that low centre of gravity possessed by players such as Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.
He was with the club in the 1905/06 season when the Bristol Babes won the Second Division title with the club and then wove his magic on the pitch the following season when City were runners up in the top flight in Edwardian England. It was a golden era for the club which has rarely been matched since although supporters live in hope that the Robins will one day rival those heady days.
In 1909 the team came close to achieving the ultimate dream of clubs when they reached the FA Cup final losing out by a single goal to Manchester United, which they lost 1-0.
In total the one time city skipper made 391 appearances for the team, bagging 17 goals. Bristol City was his only club in professional football.
He retired from the game in 1921 before running a pub near the ground at Ashton Gate which sadly has long since been demolished.
Wedlock’s name lived on after his death in 1960 with the Wedlock stand (now gone) and in the personality of humorist folk singer and entertainer Fred Wedlock.
The man behind the 1981 chart hit ‘The Oldest Swinger in Town’ was a regular fixture in venues and theatres across Bristol until his passing in 2010.
Truly two greats who blessed the city with their diverse talents.
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Harry Mottram is the news editor of South Bristol Voice monthly magazine and a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/