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There are those who remember Ray Wilkins for his commentary on television but many would easily point out that he was a footballer who later became a coach after his playing days came to an end. The English footballer played for popular football clubs in England including Chelsea, Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers, and Rangers (in the Scottish league).
He also played for the country’s national team in two World Cups and one European competition. If you check his records, you will find that he made his last appearance (84th) for England against Yugoslavia sometime in November 1986.
Life and Death of Ray Wilkins
We mentioned earlier that Football in England, like in every country where a sport is popular and followed by a majority of the citizens is a bonding element between families. The story was the same for the Wilkins family who had all the four men in the family actively involved in the sport. He was born as Raymond Colin Wilkins on the 14th of September 1956 to George Wilkins in Hillingdon, Middlesex. The name of his mother is unknown.
Ray Wilkins started his career at Chelsea, where he eventually became a legend. He joined the club in the 70s as a teenager, playing at the apprentice level before he graduated to make his first-team debut at the age of 17 against Norwich City. In the game on the 26th of October 1973, he came in as a substitute in Chelsea’s 3-0 win.
Two years after his first game for the club, after many established players had left the club due to the club’s relegation to the lower division, Wilkins, who was 18 years old at the time was made the captain of the team by the club’s new manager, taking over from former player and longtime captain, John Hollins. He stayed Captain for four years, during which time he became one of the best players on the team and helped the team back to the first division in the 1976-1977 season.
After another relegation season for Chelsea in 1979, Ray Wilkins joined Manchester United for a fee of £825,000, which at the time of the transfer was the highest ever received by the London Club for a player. Ray Wilkins went on to justify the outlay during his career at United, scoring 10 goals for United during his time at the club and was named the player of the year by the fans in the 1983-1984 season.
His pedigree at United drew the attention of Milan, one of Italy’s top teams and they paid United £1.5 million for his services. However, at the time of the transfer, Milan was just coming off a relegation season. During his time at Milan, he helped the team to victory over their bitter rivals Inter Milan and he played 105 games for the team with 74 of it in the Serie A.
He spent a brief period at PSG before he moved to Rangers where he won two league titles and one Scottish League Cup. He later retired at Leyton Orient, playing for a total of 12 clubs during his professional career.
His international career spanned 10 years, playing 84 games for The Three Lions and scoring 3 goals. He played in two World Cups in 1982 and 1986.
After his active football career, he became a coach and pundit. He coached 8 teams as an assistant manager and was the manager of Jordan, coaching them for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
He was working as a pundit at the time of his death on 4 April 2018.
How Did He Die?
Ray Wilkins was publicly admitted to suffering from alcoholism and depression while he was alive. However, it was a cardiac arrest induced fall that landed him a hospital on the 28th of March, 2018. He was placed in a coma to help his recovery at St. George’s Hospital in Tooting but he eventually died on the 4th of April 2018.
Who Was His Wife?
Ray Wilkins was married to one woman throughout his lifetime. He married Jackie Wilkins in 1979 and were married for over 40 years until his death in 2018. Jackie was Chelsea Manager’s secretary when Ray met her and fell in love. The two had two children – Jade Wilkins and Ross Wilkins.
At the time of his death, Ray Wilkins was worth $4 million. It was a wealth gathered from his career as a player and a coach.