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Jim Holden

Stan Cullis: The Iron Manager

Stan Cullis: The Iron Manager

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Few men have made a greater impact on football than Stan Cullis. He was a fine centre half, but Cullis became an even greater manager, winning three Football League championships and two FA Cups for the Wolves. This is his story.

The dramatic claim that Cullis's Wolves team were 'champions of the world' after beating Honved in 1954 sparked the creation of the European Cup tournament. That, in itself, would guarantee his place in soccer history.

There is much more, however, to the story of Stan Cullis. He emerged from a bleak childhood to be appointed captain of Wolves in the week of his 20th birthday, and at the age of 22 he became the youngest skipper of the England national side.

Cullis was a great player; Ferenc Puskas, the great Hungarian, described him as 'the most classical centre-half of his time'. Cullis became an even greater manager, thanks in part to 'long-ball' tactics that provoked endless controversy.

His reputation was worldwide. When Wolves brutally sacked him in 1964 the first offer of a new job came from Italian club Juventus. He turned it down. Stan Cullis fully merited the unique title he loved to live up to; he was the Iron Manager.

About the Author

Jim Holden was signed up for Wolves by Stan Cullis when he was just three days old. It was a high spirited deal made between the Iron Manager and his great pal Bill Holden, football correspondent of the Daily Mirror.

The baby boy's passion for football was assured, but he didn't quite make the grade in the old gold shirts.

He followed his father into journalism instead, and became sports writer for the Daily Express and contributor to the magazine World Soccer.

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