One can only wonder at the pride a certain Mr and Mrs Charlton must have felt on 30th July 1966 in watching two of their sons appearing together during England’s finest hour. Likewise, the iconically named Neville Neville and his more stoically monikered spouse, Mrs Neville, must surely have felt blessed to have sired not one, not two, but three England internationals in their offspring Gary, Phil, and daughter Tracey who was an established England netball player.
While the above cases are extreme examples of siblings both hitting the very highest peaks of the game, there have been countless other cases of brothers both making more than a decent living from the game and in this article, we are going to have a look at a few from times gone by.
There have been some high-profile cases of sibling rivalry and success in relatively recent years and other more obscure cases. Also. For instance, how many people know that Everton, Bolton and England stalwart, Peter Reid, made his one and only appearance against his brother, Shaun, in the last game of his 500-game career?
In 1995, Reid was wrapping up his playing career and had agreed to help out old friend, Mickey Walsh, who was then managing Bury, and in doing so made one cameo playing appearance for the Shakers. The match didn’t go particularly well for Reid seeing that he was forced to leave the field after just 15 minutes, but it was during this quarter of an hour that he was forced to pit his wits against brother Shaun who was appearing on the opposing side for Rochdale.
Shaun actually enjoyed a decent career playing more than 500 games for the likes of Preston, York City, Rochdale and Bury.
Of higher profile undoubtedly were the Fashanu brothers, John and Justin, who played mostly in the 1980s and 90s. Famously coming from a difficult background, both players had roots at Norwich City, where Justin was the first to emerge at the very tail end of the 1970s.
A powerful, muscular centre-forward, Justin shot to fame on the back of a goal scored for Norwich at home to league champions Liverpool in March 1980. Controlling a pass on his thigh on the edge of the area, Justin swivelled and struck a superb volley past Ray Clemence in the Liverpool goal from 25 metres. It was a strike that won the BBC Goal of the Season Award while catapulting him to fame.
A big-money move to Nottingham Forest soon materialised and Fashanu was tipped to make an international breakthrough in the near future. Instead, the move to the City Ground turned out to be a well-publicised disaster with Fashanu clashing repeatedly with manager Brian Clough before being sold to city neighbours, Notts County.
From then on in, Justin’s career never again threatened to hit the heights and instead obscurity beckoned for the man who was Britain’s first million-pound black footballer. He became a footballing journeyman over the next decade and a half before playing his final games in America in 1997.
While Justin’s career was floundering, John’s was beginning to take off. Unable to make a breakthrough at Norwich where he managed just a handful of games, John signed for Lincoln City and then Millwall where he was part of George Graham’s promotion-winning side of 1985. A move to Wimbledon then materialised, and with it, the legend of ‘Fash the Bash’ was born.
An integral part of Wimbledon’s so-called ‘Crazy Gang’, John was a fierce competitor in his heyday and, it has to be said, a diabolically dirty player at times, too. He would jump for the ball with his elbows out, at best not caring whether or not they came into contact with various parts of opponents’ anatomy. He was responsible for some horrific injuries to players – Gary Mabbutt being one – and it’s not an exaggeration to say that players have been jailed for less.
Somehow, the late Sir Bobby Robson saw something in this apparent thuggery that the rest of us missed, and Fashanu managed to gain two of the most unlikely England caps ever awarded.
While John’s footballing story was to end in court where he stood trial for allegedly fixing football matches – a charge of which he was cleared – Justin’s tale was to end even more tragically with his apparent suicide in a London lock-up garage following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in America.
Of happier circumstance is the tale of the three Wallace brothers, most famously of Southampton, in the 1980s and beyond. The most well-known of the trio was Danny, who as well as starring for the Saints for several years, went onto win FA Cup honours with Manchester United in 1990, followed by a winners’ medal in the European Cup Winners’ Cup a year later. Danny was also capped by England on a solitary occasion.
His later career was played out at Millwall, Birmingham City and Wycombe Wanderers.
Accompanying Danny in the exciting Southampton side of the mid-eighties were, at times, his two brothers, Rod and Ray.
While Danny was mainly a left-winger, Rod was often deployed as an out-and-out striker. Although not capped by England, and initially at least growing up in the shadow of Danny, it is arguable that Rod’s achievements in the game eventually eclipsed that of his older sibling.
A starring role at Southampton led to a move to Leeds United in 1991, and with him playing a regular role, the First Division title was secured a year later. A subsequent move to Scotland and Glasgow Rangers brought about more honours before he wound down his career back in England with Bolton Wanderers and Gillingham.
The third member of the Wallace clan and Rod’s twin, Ray, played alongside both his brothers at Southampton. He then joined Leeds in part of the deal that took Rodney to Elland Road, but he only made a handful of appearances before going out on loan to Swansea City and Reading before a permanent transfer to Stoke City where he would make around 200 appearances in all competitions.
Danny Wallace, unfortunately, contracted multiple sclerosis which worsened after his enforced retirement from the game.
If three footballing brothers sound impressive, then how about five? Amazing as this might seem, it was the case with regards to the Clarke family and siblings Allan, Wayne, Frank, Derek and Kelvin.
Allan was the most famous and successful due to his exploits as an integral member of Don Revie’s (almost) all-conquering Leeds United teams. Winning league, FA Cup and European honours with Leeds, Allan was also awarded 19 caps for England. He made his debut for England in the World Cup finals of 1970 and even scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in doing so.
Incidentally, like three of his brothers, Allan also played for Walsall at one point in his career. Other clubs in his varied and lengthy career included Leicester City, Fulham and Barnsley.
Of Allan’s brothers, Frank played for Shrewsbury Town, Queens Park Rangers, Ipswich Town and Carlisle United; Derek starred for Walsall, Orient and Oxford United; Kelvin for Walsall only; and Wayne turned out for Birmingham, Wolves, Leicester and Everton, amongst others. Wayne also won a league title medal as part of the successful Everton side of 1986-87.
Another multi-talented footballing fraternity was the Latchford clan. Bob is an Everton legend where he became the club’s leading post-war goalscorer before seeing his record overtaken by Graeme Sharp. In one memorable season, 1977-78, Bob managed to score 30 league goals and in doing so secured a £10,000 payment from a national newspaper. Capped 12 times for England with five goals to his name, Latchford was a traditional English centre-forward in as much as he was powerful, good in the air and extremely strong.
If Bob knew where the goal was, the same could be said with regards to his brothers, Peter and Dave, but from an opposing angle as both were goalkeepers. Peter started out at West Bromwich Albion where he made around 100 appearances before heading north of the border to Celtic. At Parkhead, he picked up league and cup honours.
Dave Latchford began his career at Birmingham City, like Bob, and suffered the indignity of Bob scoring twice against him whilst in the colours of Everton in 1974.
Also worthy of at least being mentioned in dispatches are the Wilkins brothers – Ray, Graham, and Dean – who all played for Chelsea and various other clubs; Gary and Bryan Robson who both began at West Bromwich Albion before veering off on very different career paths, and the Steins of Brian and Mark who starred for Luton Town in the ‘eighties. Brian would play once for England, while Mark had a long career at clubs such as Chelsea, Stoke City, and Bournemouth. A third Stein, Ed, played mostly non-league football with Barnet before managing the club.
More recently the Ferdinand brothers, Rio and Anton, have graced the Premier League, as have Shaun and Bradley Wright-Phillips
We started with a ‘little-known fact’ which could make for an intriguing pub-quiz question, and so perhaps it’s appropriate to end with a couple more. Before the Nevilles managed it with Manchester United in the mid-1990s, which pair of brothers were the last to play together in an FA Cup Final? It was none other than Ron and Allan Harris of Chelsea who played together in the Blues’ 1967 defeat at the hands of Tottenham.
The last one, I promise. Which holder of eight league title medals achieved his international debut eight years after his older brother did so?
Before a move to Anfield in 1977, Alan Hansen formed a defensive partnership alongside his more experienced sibling John. John gained two caps for Scotland in the early 1970s under the astute management of Tommy Docherty.