Huddersfield Town goal legend Wheeler has died
Jan 13 2009 by Dougie Thomson, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
JACK WHEELER, the goalkeeper in Town’s famous unchanged defence of 1952-53, has died in hospital in Nottingham aged 89.
He was also a legend in the East Midlands city, having served Notts County as trainer for 26 years.
Born in Evesham in 1919, he started his football career with then non-league Cheltenham before signing for Birmingham in 1938.
He had to compete with talented duo Harry Hibbs and Gil Merrick in a decade at St Andrews interrupted by the Second World War.
If he hoped his transfer to Town in August 1948 would provide a passport to regular first-team football, he was mistaken.
Wheeler had to compete with Harry Mills for the No1 jersey, and it wasn’t until the 52-53 campaign that he became automatic first choice.
Town had been relegated from the top flight the season before, but booked an immediate return under Andy Beattie.
Wheeler, full-backs Ron Staniforth and Laurie Kelly, centre-half Don McEvoy and wing-halves Bill McGarry and Len Quested all played in each of the 42 games, creating a new Football League record, plus two in the FA Cup.
Winger Vic Metcalfe was also an ever-present as Town won promotion as runners-up to Sheffield United, losing only eight games. While Jimmy Glazzard top-scored with 30, Wheeler conceded only 33 goals.
He was an ever-present again in 1954-55 and in all, made 182 appearances in all competitions for the club before joining non-league Kettering in 1956.
After a short stint with hometown club Evesham, he joined Notts County, with whom he totted up more than 1,200 matches and had two spells as caretaker manager before retiring.
The club recently renamed the Meadow Club ‘Wheeler’s Bar’ in honour of a man who many feel is the club's greatest ever servant.
He was also president of the Notts Former Players’ Association at the time of his death. County held a minute’s applause before their League II game against Exeter on Saturday.