The Three Amigos –The Wallace Brothers Make History

 

by Richard Bowdery.

The modern game saw history made on October 22nd 1988 when a trio of brothers all featured for the same side in a top flight English match.

The Wallace brothers, Danny and twins Rod and Ray from Lewisham, South London, lined up alongside each other in a Division One game against Sheffield Wednesday at the Dell. Although Wednesday nicked the game by two goals to one Southampton had the last laugh ending the season in 13th place on 45 points, three places above and three points more than the Yorkshire side.

But not only did these siblings compete on the highest domestic stage, each brother also went on to represent their country at Under 21 (and in Rod’s case England B) level; though it was only Danny, the oldest of the three, who made it through to the full England side.

RodWallace

Rod won league titles both North and South of the border

Danny was also the first brother to break ranks when he joined Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in 1989 and won an FA Cup winners medal in May 1990 when United beat Crystal Palace after a replay.

Two years later Leeds United came calling for the remaining two Wallace brothers, still plying their trade at Southampton.

After Leeds Rod went on to play for Glasgow Rangers, Bolton Wanderers and Gillingham where he ended his playing career in 2004.

Ray’s post Leeds career took him to Swansea, Reading, Stoke and Hull as well as some lower league and non-league sides in England, Scotland and Ireland. His playing days ended at Witton Albion in 2002.

Although he was the oldest age wasn’t the reason why Danny was the first brother to hang up his boots.

It was while playing for Manchester United that he began to experience something that wasn’t quite right though he couldn’t put his finger on it.

He said: “I had a lot of injuries at United. They were just normal, everyday hamstring or calf problems but they were so frequent.”

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - White Hart Lane

Danny in his Old Trafford days

After a loan spell with Millwall he was sold to Birmingham City in 1993.

At City it became obvious that he was far from fit. He recalls getting a lot of pain and numbness in his feet. He had trouble running and eventually even walking was a problem.

Then in 1994 he joined Wycombe Wanderers on a free transfer. It was to be his last club.

Finally in 1996 the reason for his frequent injuries and lack of fitness became apparent when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Aged 32 he was forced to retire from football.

Today Danny is actively engaged in raising funds for research into MS and in helping others with the condition through the Danny Wallace Foundation.

And though no longer involved in the game he has some great memories from his playing days and one of those must surely be that time in the late 80s when he and his brothers were Southampton’s Three Amigos.

 

richard@bobbyfc.com

 

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