Former Workington Reds defender dies
Last updated at 11:54, Tuesday, 08 July 2014
One of Workington’s most popular former defenders has died at the age of 73.
Brian Wood made over 200 appearances for Reds in the Fourth Division, and even had a month as caretaker manager following the resignation of George Aitken.
He was actually told he hadn’t got the job on a permanent basis during an FA Cup tie at Darlington.
Supporters had heard it announced on the radio that Colin Meldrum had been appointed the new Workington manager.
Chairman Tony Perry left his seat in the directors’ box and went down to the dug-out and informed his caretaker manager that the club had appointed Meldrum.
Several years after that incident, Wood said that the insensitive manner he was treated on that day still rankled with him.
He was signed on a free transfer in 1970 by Brian Doyle, one of Workington’s most shrewdest managers when it came to picking up bargain basement recruits.
There was a bit of luck involved in the signing, though, as Wood (who had married a High Harrington girl) was visiting her family in the area and had called in at Borough Park on the off-chance of work.
He had spent two years with Colchester Unied and at 29 had already clocked-up over 270 League appearances, a fact noted by Doyle who quickly agreed terms.
Born in Hamworthy in Poole, Dorset, Wood had joined West Brom as a youngster but never actually played a first team game at the Hawthorns.
He moved to Crystal Palace and, despite breaking his leg twice, had five memorable years, making 143 appearances.
The highlight was playing against Real Madrid when they provided the opposition for the switching on of the new floodlights. Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento were all playing and Wood went home with Santa Maria’s shirt.
He was then sold for £6,000 to Leyton Orient and then for £3,500 to Colchester.
In six seasons at Borough Park, Wood made 204 League starts for the Reds, plus another 18 in the FA Cup and League Cup.
He was also part of a record-breaking defence in 1971/72 when Reds finished sixth in Division Four. In 23 home games they only conceded seven goals.
After retiring from the professional game he eventually moved to Ipswich where he managed a flourishing sports centre.
Wood’s father-in-law was Billy Elliott, from High Harrington, who played 182 times for West Brom and appeared in two war-time internationals for England.
First published at 11:20, Tuesday, 08 July 2014
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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