Winterbottom was born in Oldham on 31st January 1913. He began playing
football as a youth and was spotted playing for Royton Amateurs and
given a trial for Mossley at the end of the 1934-35 season making 1
appearance that season. He impressed enough though to be invited back
the following season and was signed on amateur forms by Secretary/Manager
Clifford Tarr. A strong and skilful centre half Winterbottom became
a regular in the Mossley team the following season and helped Mossley
to a mid-table position in the Cheshire League. He made 22 appearances
and was then one of four Mossley players to join Football League clubs
at the end of the season, the others being Tom Molloy (Halifax Town),
Jock Anderson (Rotherham United) and Jack Aspinall (Bolton Wanderers).
Winterbottom was spotted by Manchester United talent scout Louis Rocca
who considered that he had the potential to be a great half-back. His
chance arose in 1936 when he replaced the injured George Vose in the
United team and was later to keep him out of the side. However, in the
following season 1937-38 Winterbottom suffered from ankylosing spondylitis,
a disease of the spine. The disease forced him to retire from the game
at an early age, after making only 27 appearances for Manchester United's
first team. Before injury forced him out of the game prematurely he
was reckoned to be one of the hottest young properties in the game.
Whilst pursuing a career in professional football, Winterbottom was
also a schoolmaster: 'Before the War there was no floodlit football
and league matches were generally played on Saturdays. Thus whilst playing
for United, I was able to be a schoolmaster, then a student at Carnegie
Physical Education College where subsequently I was appointed lecturer'.
Not long after this his teaching skills were noted by the F.A: 'In 1938,
the F.A ran a summer school/conference at Carnegie and invited me to
join the staff, it was here that Sir Stanley Rous and other F.A. coaching
officials first noted my capabilities.' During the Second World War,
Walter Winterbottom served in the RAF as a wing commander. On demobilisation
he was appointed F.A. Director of Coaching with responsibilities of
managing England teams, amateur and professional, a post which he held
from 1946 until 1962. Whilst manager of England he guided the team to
four World Cup Finals and was awarded the OBE for his services to football.
As England manager he set up Englandís youth and under-23 teams. The
CBE followed in 1972. In 1978 he was awarded a knighthood in recognition
of his services to sport, as director of the Sports Councils and chairman
of the Committee of Sport in the Council of Europe.
Sir Walter Winterbottom passed away age 89 in February 2002.