Ray WILSON’S involvement in English football’s finest hour has been well documented.

But less known is how close Mick Meagan, the man who replaced him as Huddersfield Town’s left-back, came to making the 1966 World Cup finals as well.

The Republic of Ireland international moved to Leeds Road from Everton two years earlier as part of the deal which took England star Wilson to Goodison (Town also pocketed £25,000).

Dubliner Meagan, who signed for Everton at 18 in 1952 and won the league championship with them in 1963, won 17 caps, 12 while with Town, for whom he made 132 appearances before joining Halifax Town on a free transfer in 1968, when he was 34.

Two of his international outings as a Town player came as the Republic faced Spain over three World Cup qualifiers in 1965.

The original group included Syria, but they withdrew in solidarity with the African countries, who were upset at the lack of an automatic qualification berth.

That meant home and away matches between the Republic and the Spanish.

1966: The England Team pose with the Jules Rimet Trophy after winning the World Cup against West Germany at Wembley. Top row, left to right: trainer Harold Shepherdson, Nobby Stiles, Roger Hunt, Gordon Banks, Jack Charlton, George Cohen, Ray Wilson, manager Alf Ramsey. Front: Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Alan Ball and Bobby Charlton. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Meagan missed Ireland’s 1-0 win in Dublin and May 1965 but returned for the October trip to Seville, when Spain won 4-1.

However goal difference wasn’t used to separate teams in this qualification tournament.

That meant a one-off decider at a neutral ground.

Reportedly the Spanish were pushing for a venue in Portugal while the Republic wanted London or Manchester, which would have guaranteed a large number of supporters.

After many hours of negotiation the parties came up with Paris as a compromise.

This meant the crowd would be mainly French as international travel was more difficult and expensive than today.

In the build-up to the match Spanish and French newspapers reported that the Republic had agreed to Paris as a play-off venue in exchange for Spain’s share of the gate receipts.

The total from a 35,731 crowd was around £25,000 – almost three times the annual Football Association of Ireland income at the time.

Of course qualifying for the World Cup finals would have yielded far more.

READ MORE: Former Huddersfield Town promotion winner wants repeat with Charlton Athletic

READ MORE: Huddersfield Town star won't lose sleep over row with Wolves fans

But at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, November 10, 1965, a Republic side inlcuding Meagan lost 1-0, with Spain’s winner from Atletico Madrid’s Jose Ufarte coming 11 minutes from time.

Having helped Town beat Bury 2-0 at Leeds Road the previous Saturday, Meagan returned to play his part in a 1-0 win at Southampton.

But there was more disappointment at the end of the season as Tom Johnston’s side narrowly missed out on promotion from Division II (now the Championship).

Meagan, who skippered Halifax into Division III (now League I) in 1968/69, managed the Republic between 1969 and 1972.