Football royalty pay tribute to Ray Wilkins after his tragic death

Football royalty pay tribute to Ray Wilkins after his tragic death

A host of footballing legends today remembered Ray Wilkins following the former England captain’s death at 61.

England manager Gareth Southgate joined the likes of John Terry and his wife Toni, Frank Lampard and his wife Christine, Les Ferdinand and Dennis Wise for the memorial at St Luke’s and Christ Church in London‘s Chelsea.

Also present were former England bosses Glenn Hoddle, Roy Hodgson and Kevin Keegan, ex-footballers Trevor Brooking and Gianfranco Zola, and TV sports presenters Ed Chamberlin, Jim White and Simon Thomas. 

John Terry pictured outside St Luke’s and Christ Church in London, while attending the memorial service for Ray Wilkins 

Frank Lampard pictured with his partner Christine Bleakley outside St Luke’s and Christ Church for the memorial service

John Terry and his wife Toni (left) joined Frank Lampard and his wife Christine (right) at the church in Chelsea today

The family of the former Chelsea star from left to right: Ross, Jade and Jackie Wilkins pictured outside St Luke’s and Christ Church

Former England and Manchester United captain Bryan Robson (pictured centre) was among those who attended the service

Current Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was pictured in earnest conversation with current England boss Gareth Southgate (left), while Christine Bleakley seemed upset by the occasion (right)

Frank and Christine Lampard arrive with former Chelsea player Jody Morris (right) at the church this morning

England manager Gareth Southgate (left) and Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson (right) arrive at St Luke’s and Christ Church

Former Liverpool star Jamie Redknapp (left) and BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker (right) arrive at the church today

A bouquet with a message of condolence to Wilkins’s family is held outside St Luke’s and Christ Church today

Former England managers Glenn Hoddle (left) and Kevin Keegan (right) arrive for the memorial service this afternoon

Dragon’s Den investor Theo Paphitis (left) arrives with Dennis Wise, while Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola (right) is also there

Bob Wilson (centre, with his wife Megs, left) and Tony Adams (right) arrive at St Luke’s and Christ Church this afternoon

BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker also made an appearance at the service this afternoon along with Sky Sports presenter Chris Kamara, former Arsenal defender Tony Adams and Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, the club’s chairman Bruce Buck and Dragon’s Den investor Theo Paphitis also attended, along with ex-footballer Trevor Sinclair and Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor.

Wilkins, who died at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, on April 4, won 84 caps for the national side and continued working as a pundit for talkSPORT and Sky Sports before being taken ill a week before his death.

Wilkins – known in the game by his childhood nickname ‘Butch’ – played for 11 clubs and was on the coaching staff of several more. The former captain of Chelsea was described as an ‘absolute gentlemen’ and a ‘fierce winner’.

Wilkins, who leaves behind his wife Jackie and children Jade and Ross, became the fourth player sent off while playing for England when he was dismissed in the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico in a game against Morocco. 

As reported by Mail Online, Wilkins was living apart from his wife of nearly 40 years at the time of his death but was believed to be close to patching things up before his tragic passing.

According to the Mirror he was given a secret family funeral near his £1.2million home in Cobham, Surrey, attended by his spouse and children. 

Crystal Palace manager and former England boss Roy Hodgson, right, also attended the memorial today

Former Chelsea player and manager Gianluca Vialli (pictured) was also among the footballing luminaries at the memorial service

Former Chelsea striker Mark Hughes, centre, was also among the football elite to pay their respects to Wilkins today

Ex-footballers Andy Gray, far right, Peter Reid, centre, and Alex McLeish, far left, were also among the invited guests to the memorial

Former Manchester United teammate Steve Coppell and ex-QPR teammate Les Ferdinand were both at the church in Chelsea

Sky Sports presenter Geoff Shreeves, far left, also joined the mourners at the moving memorial service

In the months before his death Wilkins had moved into a rented top-floor flat in Kingston-upon-Thames, South West London, nine miles away.

A close friend of the family said: ‘Ray and Jackie had been having a tough time and he had been living away from home the last few months.

‘But they were still in contact and it was obvious neither of them had ever stopped loving each other.’

The couple were due to celebrate their 40th anniversary at the end of the year.

His son Ross said of the secret funeral: ‘Everyone has their demons, but they’d found a way to deal with their problems. They were on the verge of getting back together, which makes it all the more tragic.’ 

Sports presenters Jim White (left), Ed Chamberlin and Simon Thomas (both right) are pictured arriving at the church today

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck (right) stands outside St Luke’s and Christ Church ahead of the memorial service today

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte (left) and Frank Lampard Senior (right) are among those paying tribute to Ray Wilkins today

Former England footballer Trevor Sinclair, who played for West Ham United and Manchester City, arrives for the service 

Former England footballer Les Ferdinand (left) and Sky Sports presenter Chris Kamara (right) arrive for the service today

A memorial programme for the service for Wilkins is pictured outside St Luke’s and Christ Church in London’s Chelsea

Former footballer Trevor Brooking (left) and Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor (right)

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini also attended the service at the church in London today

Former footballers Peter Beardsley (left) and Paul Canoville (right) also attended the memorial this afternoon

Ray Wilkins was a regular football pundit over the past few years and media personalities such as Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler (far right) also attended the service

During his career as a player, Wilkins won the FA Cup with Manchester United in 1983, scoring a memorable goal in the first tie against Brighton at Wembley, which ended 2-2. He also won the Scottish title with Rangers in 1989.

AT A GLANCE: The career of Ray Wilkins

Born: September 14, 1956

Died: April 4, 2018

Playing career: Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers, QPR, Crystal Palace, Wycombe Wanderers, Hibernian, Millwall, Leyton Orient

Honours: FA Cup (1983), FA Charity Shield (1983), Scottish League Cup (1988), Scottish Premier Division (1989)

England caps: 84 (10 as captain) 

International goals: 3 

Managerial career:  Queens Park Rangers, Fulham, Chelsea (assistant), Watford (assistant), Millwall (assistant), England U21 (assistant), Chelsea (assistant), Fulham (assistant), Jordan, Aston Villa (assistant)

Following his death, his family said in a statement: ‘It is with great sadness we announce that Raymond Colin Wilkins (has) passed away. We would like to thank St George’s staff for the amazing work they have done to care for our beloved Ray.

‘We would also like to say thank you for the many goodwill messages we have received from Ray’s friends, colleagues and members of the public. Ray leaves behind his loving wife Jackie, daughter Jade, son Ross, and his beautiful grandchildren Oliver, Frankie, Ava, Freddie, Jake and Archie.’

Among the tributes to Wilkins, Gary Lineker said on Twitter: ‘Deeply saddened to hear that Ray Wilkins has passed away. A wonderful footballer and a delightful man. It was a pleasure to have played alongside him with England.’

Fellow England footballer Terry Butcher added: ‘He was just an absolute gentleman but a fierce winner.’ And Sir Alex Ferguson said: ‘Ray was a great football man who was well respected and liked by all who knew him.’

Wilkins enjoyed a playing career that spanned three decades and he starred for clubs in four different countries. After retiring from football in 1997, he became a manager and coach, most recently at Aston Villa .

He battled poor health including ulcerative colitis over the last few years and was given the all clear after a double heart bypass operation last July.

Two years ago he checked into the Priory Hospital in Woking for a five-week rehabilitation programme after being banned from driving for four years for drink-driving. 

Chelsea assistant manager Wilkins (left) celebrates lifting the FA Cup with manager Guus Hiddink (right) in May 2009

Wilkins poses his wife Jackie as they hold their son Ross, in the colours of his father’s club AC Milan, in September 1984

Wilkins on the pitch in 1990 playing for Queens Park Rangers, for whom he made more than 150 appearances

Wilkins fights for the ball against Scotland’s Asa Hartford in midfield at Wembley Stadium in London in May 1981

Wilkins poses in his Chelsea kit in July 1976. He left the club in 1979 for £800,000, joining Manchester United

Yet the popular former Chelsea, Manchester United and AC Milan midfielder continued to work in the media on a regular basis and was held in the highest regard by everyone in football.

GLENN HODDLE: Ray Wilkins’s wife and family will know how much love we all felt for him

I was 17 when a certain Ray Wilkins came into my life. At the European Under 18 Championship in 1975 we ended up rooming together, two Londoners who immediately hit it off.

We had a real laugh together. I was a bit younger than him but he always seemed five years older he was so mature. And we won that tournament for England, the first of many trophies for Ray.

He had a wonderful sense of humour. Later, when we worked together on television, he was fun to be around.

He adored football. He was such a fantastic player at keeping the ball and had superb vision.

I was on the bench when he scored a stunning goal against Belgium at Euro 1980, chipping the defenders and then curling the ball past Jean-Marie Pfaff in goal.

We played together at the World Cup in 1986, when he was sent off against Morocco and suspended.

His leadership qualities stood out and he was fantastic around the team. He was probably bitterly disappointed, but in front of us it was team first.

The news of his death last week was terrible. He was a much-loved team-mate, colleague and friend.

His wife Jackie and his family will know how much love we all felt for him and for them as they now grieve the loss of a fine man.

He had carried out media duties on talkSPORT and Sky Sports, performing as a regular pundit on both platforms shortly before suffering the cardiac arrest.

Born in Hillingdon, Wilkins came through the ranks at his boyhood club Chelsea and made his first-team debut against Norwich City at the age of 17 in 1973.

He would go on to play 179 league matches for the club over the next six years having been appointed club captain at just 18.

After relegation in 1978-79, Chelsea accepted an offer of £800,000 from Manchester United and Wilkins was on his way north.

He made 160 league appearances for the Old Trafford club and helped them win the FA Cup in 1983, defeating Brighton and Hove Albion in the final.

In 1984, United sold Wilkins to Italian giants Milan for £1.5million and he spent three years with the club before a brief spell at Paris Saint-Germain and two years at Rangers.

Wilkins returned to London in 1989, spending five seasons with Queens Park Rangers and amassing over 150 league appearances.

He also represented Crystal Palace, Wycombe, Hibernian, Millwall and Leyton Orient in the twilight

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