‘I never got to say thank you’ April 4, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer

Today, the whole talkSPORT family remembers Chelsea legend and friend of the station, Ray Wilkins.

The former England captain sadly passed away four years ago on April 4, 2018, and there is no better way to pay tribute to the hero than by listening to this clip from a former soldier, whose life ‘Butch’ helped turn around.

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Ray Wilkins was one of football’s good guys and is very much missed

Wilkins is a true great of the British game, after a storied career that included spells at Manchester United, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Rangers, although his heart belonged to his first club Chelsea, where he later returned as a coach.

But, perhaps more than his achievements on the pitch, the 84-cap Three Lions star was known as a gentleman off it.


TUNE IN – talkSPORT 2 will be replaying ‘Ray Wilkins: Our Dad’. The Special show is voiced by Ray’s son Ross along with his daughter Jade, telling the story of their dad’s incredible career.

Don’t miss ‘Ray Wilkins: Our Dad’ at 8pm, Monday, April 4 on talkSPORT 2, or head to the talkSPORT gameday feed wherever you get your podcasts to listen to the show right now. 


He was the perfect football pundit, with his passion for the game and no-nonsense attitude always making him a great listen, and his knowledge was matched by his huge heart and his care for people, whether they knew him or not.

Ray is hugely missed by all at talkSPORT Towers, where his daily proclamation that he was ‘dangerously well’ was met with regular laughs.

Ray Wilkins was a well-loved figure at talkSPORT and a regular in our studios

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Ray Wilkins was a well-loved figure at talkSPORT and a regular in our studios


On the four-year anniversary of his passing, talkSPORT presenters paused to remember their friend and colleague.

But one of the most moving tributes came from an anonymous former soldier, who told a story of how one small gesture of kindness from Butch helped transform his life.

It’s perhaps one of the most poignant stories ever told on talkSPORT. A tribute that never fails to bring a tear to our eyes, and one that truly reflects what a great man Ray Wilkins was – and you can listen to it above.

Ray Parlour, Trevor Sinclair and talkSPORT Breakfast host Laura Woods also shared their memories of Ray on Monday morning.

Woodsy said: “He was one of the first people I worked with at talkSPORT when I first stepped through the door, and he was so warm and so welcoming immediately.

Wilkins was Chelsea through and through and helped the London club to a number of trophies as a coach

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Wilkins was Chelsea through and through and helped the London club to a number of trophies as a coach

“You can get quite nervous when you start working at a new place, and he was that guy who would put an arm around you and welcome you in.

“I know he meant a lot to the production staff here as well because he was just that guy, he was so great to be around, he was so much fun, had so much personality and he had a story to tell every day.”

Sinclair, who was coached by Wilkins at Queens Park Rangers and with the England Under-21s team, added: “He was a very humble man, as well.

“When I first arrived at QPR he was someone for me to look up to. The likes of Ray and Les Ferdinand.

“I remember the trip when we went to the Toulon Tournament with England Under-21s, he was my coach and my manager before that, but he was funny as well. He was a messer. 

Ray the coach was loved by his players

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Ray the coach was loved by his players

Butch always got stuck into training during his coaching career

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Butch always got stuck into training during his coaching career

“His personality was brilliant. In the rondos he’d be cheeky and nutmeg players. He loved football.

“But I think the overriding feeling when I think about Ray is he was kind, he was a gentleman and he was one of those people who when you’re in his company, it’s like that butterfly effect, just positivity came off him. He’d never have anything negative to say about anybody, he’s all about having a laugh, having a good time, being professional and making the most of life.”

Parlour also worked with Wilkins in the Under-21s set-up, and spoke of his respect for a former midfielder he looked up to during the early days of his playing career.

“I know Ray as my coach at England Under-21s,” added the Arsenal legend. “He was a fantastic guy, such a nice ‘young man’, as he would say.

Four years ago, football paused to remember Wilkins, with Chelsea supporters unveiling a banner in tribute to the Blues legend

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Four years ago, football paused to remember Wilkins, with Chelsea supporters unveiling a banner in tribute to the Blues legend

“He was fantastic to talk to and he would always try to help you, and with the career he had he was such a calm character as well. 

“He wasn’t the sort of guy who would have a go at you, he would talk to you, and you listened to him because what a player he was. Any player who has 84 caps for England as a midfielder, you’re always going to listen to him.

“He was just a lovely man, and everybody got on so well with him. Every single player really respected Ray for what he achieved, but not just for that, but because he was such a nice guy with it as well.”

RIP to our friend, Ray Wilkins: 1956-2018

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