I WAS very saddened by the news that Wolves and England legend Bert Williams had passed away.
Bert became my hero when I was just seven years old.
My sister took me to Molineux in December 1949 and I became a huge Wolves fan, but in particular a fan of Bert.
He was the greatest of his day.
It is difficult to compare him with modern 'keepers because the game, particularly for goalkeepers, has changed so much.
But I'm sure that Bert, with his fitness, agility, speed and skill, would have held his own!
Early in 2008 I bought a copy of Bert's book 'A Cat in Wolf's Clothing' and was compelled to write to The Bugle on my experiences with my sister and sharing her love for Wolves.
The piece was published on January 17.
A few days before its publication I received a letter from the great man himself.
It began 'Dear Ernie, I was so delighted to receive a copy of the letter you wrote, which was passed on to me by Gavin Jones of The Bugle.'
When you're a senior citizen you don't expect to get a letter from your boyhood hero.
I'm lucky, I did! I replied and thanked Bert for his letter and a few days later he wrote back.
He said that putting his book together was a little more difficult than he had imagined it would be.
It brought back a lot of wonderful memories for him, but there were down sides too.
'To think', Bert wrote, 'that Billy Wright, Jimmy Mullen, Johnny Hancocks, Dennis Wilshaw and Jesse Pye etc., are not here to share the memories and the book.'
Shortly after his second letter I found that my wife's aunt knew Bert and a few weeks later I was invited to meet him at his home.
When I arrived at his house I felt that it was a mistake.
I was in my 66th year, for heaven's sake, I was invading this man's privacy!
I almost drove away but when Bert came to the door I was greeted with a big smile, a firm handshake and I felt at home straightaway.
He showed my wife and I around his home to see his memorabilia.
As we walked we talked and Bert had some lovely stories to tell about his life and his travels playing football around the world.
I mentioned that the most famous son of my old school was Duncan Edwards.
Bert became more serious as he spoke of the talent that went when Duncan lost his life at just 21 in the Munich air disaster.
Then the sparkle came back to his eyes as he told me his favourite Duncan Edwards story. England were playing Spain at Madrid.
As the team left the aircraft they were surrounded by fans.
One asked if they thought that they could beat Spain and Duncan replied in his lovely Black Country accent: 'Well we ay cum all this road for nuthin'!'
My sincere sympathy goes to his family. Bert Williams was a great sportsman and a lovely man.
The world is a sadder place because of his loss.
But so many people are blessed with so many wonderful memories.
Thanks Bert. R.I.P.
24 Swan Lane,