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PersonalFullname: William Corbett
aka: Willie Corbett
Born: 31 Aug 1922
Died: 31 July 2011, Bonnybridge
Signed: 7 May 1941
Left: 1942 (Royal Navy); 26 June 1948 (perm to Preston NE)
Debut: Celtic 4-2 Albion Rovers, Regional League, 16 Aug 1941
International Caps: 1 (wartime cap)
International Goals: 0
BiogWorld War Two interrupted the Celtic career of Willie Corbett. He was a motor mechanic by trade before getting his chance for Celtic.
The centre-half was signed by the Bhoys in May 1941 from Maryhill Juniors and he made his debut in a 4-2 Regional League win over Albion Rovers at Celtic Park on August 16th. By 1942 Willie was a member of the Royal Navy and played for various English clubs on wartime loan deals. He played at West Ham where two of his brothers were players.
A fine centre-half with a cool head Corbett was an asset to any side and he was rightly called up by the Scotland squad in 1942 when he put on a great display at Wembley as the visitors held England to a 0-0 draw. (Note: there were no Scotland-England full internationals between 1940 and 1946; this may have been a forces match played at Wembley where Willie's direct opponent was Tommy Lawton)
In season 1947-48, Celtic were threatened with relegation, he stepped up and scored a crucial penalty to win us the game against Falkirk in Feb 1948 in the 89th minute(!) and with the way things over coming months went it was a very valuable set of points.
There is little doubt Corbett's talents would have been better recognised if he had not been at the club during a time when the world and football (esp Celtic) were in turmoil.
Willie Corbett made 99 first team appearances for Celtic and scored three goals. He departed the Bhoys for Preston North End in June 1948.
He passed away in July 2011.
|APPEARANCES||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP|| REGIONAL LEAGUE || REGIONAL LEAGUE CUP ||EUROPE||TOTAL|
Honours with Celticnone
Death of former Celt, Willie CorbettBy: Joe Sullivan on 04 Aug, 2011 07:07 FORMER Celt, Willie Corbett, who played for the club during the 1940s, has passed away at the age of 88.
The centre-half joined the Hoops from Maryhill Juniors on May 7, 1941 but also played down south with many clubs on loan during the war including West Ham United, Cardiff City, Southampton and Swansea Town until moving to Preston North End on June 26, 1948.
In between times he had played 39 wartime games for the Hoops before going on to score three goals in 60 appearances after the hostilities.
He made his debut in a 4-2 home win over Albion Rovers on July 16, 1941 and on his first spell with West Ham in 1942 he linked up with his two brothers who also played there.
A few weeks before the infamous game against Dundee in 1948 when the Hoops were threatened with relegation for the first and only time, Brockville was packed to the rafters when Celtic were awarded a last-minute penalty against Falkirk.
It was Willie Corbett who took responsibility and netted the spot-kick to give Celtic a very valuable two points.
Willie passed away in a nursing home on Sunday, July 31 and the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic Football Club are with the Corbett family at this sad time.
Willie Corbett 1922 - 2011
08 Aug 2011 - 23:03:47
Preston North End RSS news feed
It has been announced that one of the oldest surviving PNE players Willie Corbett has passed away in Scotland a month prior to his 89th Birthday. William Corbett was born in Falkirk on 31 August 1922 and played for Dunipace Thistle and Maryhill Juniors before joining Celtic in 1941. Willie made his debut in a 4-2 Regional League win over Albion Rovers at Celtic Park on 16 August. By 1942 Willie was a member of the Royal Navy and played for various clubs on wartime loan deals. He played at West Ham where two of his brothers were players as well as ‘guesting’ for Cardiff,Swansea and Southampton. The centre half played for Scotlandin a wartime international against England in 1942.
The 1947/48 season saw Celtic struggled near to the bottom of the table and in danger of suffering relegation for the first time. But an 89th minute penalty scored by Willie gave Celtic a 1-0 win over Falkirk and finally finish in twelfth position in the sixteen team division. He made 99 appearances for Celtic, scoring 3 goals In June 1948 saw him move south from Glasgow to Deepdale for a fee of £10,000, he made his debut on the opening day of the season on 21 August in a 2-2 draw at home to Portsmouth. Willie played in 18 of the first 20 matches. The 5-3 defeat at Boltonon 4 December led to him being replaced by Paddy Walters.
His nineteenth and last appearance came in another 5-3 away defeat, this time at Chelsea on 5 February. In August 1949 Leicester manager Jonny Duncan signed Willie for £7,000. But shortly after his arrival Duncan was replaced by Norman Bullock, losing his place in the team and after 16 appearances and one season he left. After a spell with non-league Yeovil he returned north with Dunfermline and Morton. He passed away in Scotland on 31 July 2011.
William Corbett: 1922-2011
Posted on: Mon 08 Aug 2011
William, born near Falkirk in 1922, started his footballing career at Dunipace Thistle before moving on to Maryhill Juniors while still a youngster.However, hissolid performances soon attracted scouts from near and far.
In May 1941 he was snapped up by Celtic, but within twelve months he enlisted with the Royal Navy. During the wartime period, as well as playing for Celtic, he also guested for Cardiff City (one app), Southampton (one app), West Ham (31 apps) and Swansea Town (51 apps). Two of his seven brothers also played for West Ham.
At one stage, Billfeatured for Scotland in awar-time international against England. He was up against Tommy Lawton and for a 22-year-old, gave a very polished performance in agoalless draw.
After the war, Bill played two seasons for Celtic before being transferred, in June 1948, to Preston North End, for £10,000. He was first choice centre-half until December when the Club hit rock bottom of the First Division.
With Scottish international Bill Shankly in his last season, and English international Tom Finney out injured for a good part of the campaign, the team were relegated to the Second Division.
Corbett was then transferred to Leicester City for £7,000. After a season with the Foxes he joined Yeovil Town prior to returning home to Scotland. Spells with Dunfermline and Morton followed before hanging up his boots.
Preston North End would like to send its deepest regards toWilliam's family at this sad time.
Bill Corbett Published on Tuesday 16 August 2011 00:09 http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/obituaries/bill-corbett-1-1790030
Bill Corbett, footballer. Born: 31 August, 1922, in Falkirk. Died: 1 August, 2011, in Bonnybridge, aged 88.
Bill Corbett could have had a glittering career as Scotland’s centre-half, especially after his incredible performance against the deadly Tommy Lawton in front of 75,000 fans at Wembley in October 1942. The 20-year-old Celtic centre-half played Lawton out of the game, and one national reporter said he had never seen a Scottish centre-half handle the centre-forward so well.
That his career didn’t take off in the expected way was down to the fact that Bill’s best pal, Jimmy Warner, had joined the Navy – and Bill signed up too.
“I quite fancied that uniform,” he said. The two had been great friends ever since they played together in the 1st Camelon BB team and at Carmuirs School in Falkirk. They spoke of endless games in the public park, and it came as no surprise when the young Corbett signed for the crack Dunipace Thistle side. Bill later recalled the 1939 final of the Juvenile Cup played against Armadale West BC at Easter Road, and the infamous slope.
He moved to Maryhill Juniors and was soon attracting the attention of senior clubs. Corbett remembered the days of going through to Maryhill, where one of his seven brothers was a policeman, and waiting for a lift to the ground.
As the war clouds gathered, he trained at Brockville Park, Falkirk along with several of his former Dunipace team-mates and played in trial games with the Bairns. Their manager at the time was the ex-Rangers and Scotland star Tully Craig, and Corbett couldn’t quite understand why Mr Craig seemed to lose interest in his progress. Perhaps a contributing factor was the fact that Corbett had just signed for Celtic.
Corbett settled into the side at Parkhead but then came the war years and his service in the Navy. He was always a popular figure at West Ham, where his brother Norrie played, and he was often available at the last minute and went straight into the side. His war service took him to several faraway places, but as a professional footballer he always had time for football. He captained the Royal Navy side against the Army, and the naval team included Bobby Brown, the former Scotland goalie and manager.
Corbett teamed up with Tommy Walker in India and had a huge respect for the Hearts legend.When he was on shore leave he also turned out for Cardiff, Swansea and Southampton.
After the war was over, he returned to Parkhead, having amassed a wealth of experience and went back into the Celtic team. It seemed that he was destined to regain his international place, but the selectors visited Shawfield when Celtic were hammered 6-2 by Clyde in a League Cup tie and Corbett didn’t have his best game.
He must have had mixed feelings when, on 28 February, 1948, his adopted team faced his town team at Brockville Park. Celtic were relegation candidates and were awarded a last-minute penalty. Corbett stepped up to face his old pal Jerry Dawson and scored the only goal of the game. All in all, he played more than 100 games for Celtic before he moved to Preston North End, where his team-mates included Bill Shankly.
His later career took him to Leicester and Yeovil before he returned to Scotland with Dunfermline and Morton.
He had qualified as a mechanic at the Alexander Bus factory in his native Camelon and he worked in the petro-chemicals industry after retiring from playing. Corbett loved to reminisce about what he called the good old days, “when we were young”, and he was never happier than when the discussions turned to those exciting but dangerous war years.
It was hard to imagine that a young 20-year-old lad from Camelon was facing such illustrious opposition – Eddie Hapgood, Cliff Britton, Stan Cullis, Joe Mercer, Stanley Matthews, Tommy Lawton, Jimmy Hagan and Denis Compton. It was a far cry from the park in Camelon and the kick-abouts with his brothers and his pals.
And that Scotland team? Legends every one of them – and they held the great England side to a 0-0 draw at Wembley. Corbett was the undoubted star of the day. I well recall him pointing to the match programme which we managed to track down for him on e-Bay. “Bill Shankly, Bill Corbett and Matt Busby – not a bad half-back line, eh?”
He was a lovely man, kind, gentle, modest and unassuming. His stories and anecdotes made for many happy hours in his company and he will be sadly, sadly missed by all who knew him. His cheery smile could light up a room and he was a real gentleman. He is survived by his daughter Ginny.
The Heartbreaking Story Of Former Celtic Star William Corbetthttp://www.sabotagetimes.com/football-sport/the-football-memories-project-and-the-story-of-former-west-ham-and-celtic-star-william-corbett/
By Tony Jameson-Allen
William Corbett was a central defender for Scotland in the 1930's and 40's. Here is the story of how he, and countless other dementia suffers in their old age, have been helped by the Football Memories Project...
The Football Memories Project And The Story Of Former West Ham And Celtic Star William Corbett
You’re getting older, your memory starts to fade and you are diagnosed with dementia. The next steps may well be that you attend a day centre or move into a care home. Here you may well be encouraged to participate in activities such as those traditionally offered; sing-alongs, crafts or exercises, you’ll probably be encouraged to reminiscence about your school and work life and your holidays within a group.
Personally I’d rather talk sport thanks and that is what my fellow director, Michael White discovered with a group of men with dementia near his hometown club of Falkirk. From this spark of an idea, the Football Memories project was born. This is run by the network on behalf of Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Football Museum.
There are now 16 groups operating across Scotland, working with guys who may not be able to remember what they had for breakfast or what they did yesterday, but boy can they remember the line ups of their favorite team or the stand out games from the 50’s & 60’s.
The groups not only provide stimulating activities that help improve participants well-being they sometimes uncover some remarkable hidden stories.
The group of men were sitting waiting for me. A man was coming to talk about football. They gathered round the table and quickly started examining the old photos I had brought. Names of players were enthusiastically shouted out and soon the stories about games, players, goals and incidents were told with great fondness. The recall was impressive, by any standards. All of these men had dementia.
One well-dressed man sat contentedly reading his paper. “Come on, Bill” said one of the helpers, “you like football, don’t you?” Somewhat reluctantly, Bill joined the group. I hadn’t seen anything yet. Bill took me back to the 1930s and 1940s as if it was yesterday. Along with his boyhood pal, Jimmy, they rattled off scores, line-ups and goals and spoke of legendary figures. All I had to do was produce the images. As the session was ending, Jimmy leaned across to me and whispered, ”Bill was a grand player, I saw him play for Celtic.”
Armed with this information, I looked up my books to see if this modest old man was in fact a former professional player. I discovered that Bill was in fact William Corbett, formerly of Celtic, Preston, Leicester, Dunfermline and Scotland. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to build up a picture of the man and his career. And what a career it was.
October 1942. England 0 Scotland 0, at Wembley. The match reports all said that Bill was the man of the match. “I have never seen a Scottish centre-half play [Tommy] Lawton as well as young Corbett did this afternoon” said one. All of them sang the praises of the 20 year-old and predicted a bright future for him in the navy blue of Scotland.
By sheer fluke, I was able to bid for a programme of the match which became available on e-Bay and I looked at the line-ups. I looked and I looked. This young man had faced the might of English football: Hapgood, Britton, Cullis, Mercer, Matthews, Lawton and Compton, all in their prime. A crowd of 75,000 had seen a tremendous struggle and young Corbett was the star man.
Bill was ever so proud when I showed him the programme. Pointing to the Scotland line-up, he showed me the names: Shankly, Corbett and Busby. “Not a bad half-back line, eh son?” I had to smile.
He became an amazing source of stories about war-time football, when he played for various clubs as a guest. He had a twinkle in his eye when he recounted arriving at Upton Park. “My brother Norman played for West Ham. Their manager was a right Cockney and he told me anytime I was near London, just come along and I’ll get you a game.”
By then Bill was in the Navy and he never knew where his travels would take him. I had a mental picture of some poor guy stripped ready to play, when a bright young naval man would come in and take his place. When I asked Bill how he thought the West Ham player would have felt, he answered with a lovely smile: “Ah suppose he wisnae best pleased”.
Bill came along to the Football Reminiscence sessions, even after he went to a care home, and he loved the talk about the old days, “when we were young,” as he would say. He was an absolute joy to be with and I learned more from him than in any football history book.
I last saw Bill alive three weeks before he passed away. We had a great session, laughing and joking and recalling the great players he had played with and against. As his carer wheeled him out of the room to the waiting transport, he turned to me and said, “Son, that was the best day of my life”. I struggled to keep my emotions in check as he went away. Little did I realise that we would never meet again.
Whenever anyone asks me if the Football Reminiscence Project is effective, I think of Bill’s comment to a university researcher who was assessing the effectiveness of the programme. “See this,” he said, pointing to his handkerchief, “it’s soaking wet with tears. Tears of joy.” Bill said it all.
His journey to the end of his illness was difficult, but for these few hours, Bill was back at his brilliant best. He loved football and he loved reminiscing. And we all loved Bill.
Having witnessed the remarkable impact football reminiscence has had, we are now introducing new sports, including Golf Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Track & Field, Boxing & Motorsport. The work has gained the support of some top stars from the world of sport including Sir Alex Ferguson, David Coulthard, Sam Torrance and Liz McColgan. Each supporter has shared a memory on the Replay website, where fans, stars and journalists can add stories, either to be used by our group facilitators or are just damn good reading that encourages more stories to be submitted. There are almost 400 to read on the site and this figure is growing by the day.
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