theyflysohigh : Steve Marsh

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Banner Hammers Logo theyflysohigh Snippet 01 Junior Cup Final 1953 Snippet 02 WRAGG Doug signature WRAGG Doug WRAGG Doug Caricature

Doug Wragg (1934 - 2020)

53_08_08 First Practice Match 01

Club Colours:

Peter Chiswick, John Bond, Noel Cantwell, Doug Bing, Ken Brown, Jimmy Belcher, Tommy Southren, Terry Matthews, Doug Wragg, John Dick, Harry Gunning


Goals: Wragg 3, Dick 2




Brian Rhodes, Andy Nelson, Fred Cooper, Andy Malcolm, Richard Walker, Alf Noakes, Terry Woodgate, Gordon Johnstone, Alan Blackburn, John Kenny (Dave Sexton)


Goal: Malcolm

Eighteen year-old Doug Wragg gave up a promising career as an amateur boxer, as good as he was with his hands the former boxer who had represented Hyson Green and fought for England found his true sporting vocation using his feet.


The 1953-54 season was a pivotal moment in the search for future Hammers “stars”. Manager Ted Fenton’s strategy to search for new talent included the important appointment of Bill Robinson as “Official-in-charge” for overseeing the club’s “B” and Junior teams. Working with Robinson was former player Wally St.Pier. Wally took over the role of organising the “scouting” system.

Claret and Blue Debut

Wragg's first appearance for the Hammers was for the 'Club Colours' side against  the 'Blues' in the first of two customary practice matches on August 8, 1953.


These annual matches served as an introduction for the new players - Amateurs and Professionals, while the second practice match fielded 'Possibles' against 'Probables' for the new campaign ahead.


Two newcomers to the professional ranks both got their Hammers careers off to the best possible start. John Dick scoring twice for 'Club Colours' in the 5-1 victory. However, Doug Wragg was to go one better with a hat-trick.

Horsham v. WHU Metro

After the jubilation of scoring three goals in his first-ever appearance in a claret and blue shirt Doug repeated the feat in his second game, a Metropolitan League "B" fixture away to Horsham on August 22, 1953.


A subsequent sparse match report from the West Sussex Queen Street enclosure described him as making "an enterprising debut by scoring all our goals in a 3-2 win, after we had led by 2-1 at the interval."


54_11_11 Colchester United v. WHU EPC SF 56_08_27 Blackburn Rovers v. WHU


First Team Debut in Essex Professional Cup Semi-Final

The Hammers’ line-up was:


Ernie Gregory

George Wright

Noel Cantwell

Doug Bing

Andy Nelson

Alf Noakes

Doug Wragg

Jim Barrett

Tommy Dixon

Derek Parker

Ken Tucker


Football League Debut

by Roger Hillier

After languishing in Division Two for nearly 30 years West Ham United’s fortunes changed in the second half of the 1950s when in season 1957-58 the Hammers won the Second Division championship and gained promotion to the Football League’s top tier, Division One.


In their championship winning season West Ham called on 23 players including Doug Wragg. Doug, a right winger, appeared in three of the season’s league matches.  


Doug’s first team career straddled six seasons and 24 league and cup appearances, with the first in November 1954 and the last, five years’ later in October 1959.


His football career took in games in all four of the Football League divisions from three Division One matches with West Ham to lower division appearances with Mansfield Town, Rochdale and Chesterfield.


Thoughout his claret and blue career, competition for the left and right wing positions was fierce, and Doug’s first team appearances were usually restricted to stepping in for Mike Grice or Malcolm Musgrove.


His last game in October 1959, a Southern Floodlight Cup tie, was memorable as in this game he netted his only two goals for the senior side.

In March 1960, Doug transferred to Mansfield Town.


Born: Nottingham, September 12, 1934 Doug Wragg died November 9, 2020 aged 86.

Hammers Scout Finds Wragg

Doug Wragg was one of the first to come through this system after an outstanding display from the youngster for the National Association of Boys’ Clubs in the annual “Star” Tournament Final at Wembley Stadium in May 1953. Doug’s performance had the professional ‘talent spotters’ buzzing around after the game “like flies around a jam pot.” Among those in the hunt for his signature were the two Nottingham clubs and Chelsea. As Doug was a native of Nottingham it seemed likely that he would sign for one of the Nottingham clubs.  


But after being recommended to Wally St.Pier by Patterson, a member of the Hammers' scouting staff, Wragg decided London and West Ham United would be the best place to start his professional career and he signed on June 5, 1953.

Junior Cup Final programme

National Association of Boys' Club

v. Air Training Corp

Crossed Hammer Crossed Hammer

Doug Wragg






Date of Birth:








Hammers Appearances:














September 12, 1934




June 5, 1953




16        Football League

5          Essex Professional Cup

3          Southern Floodlight Cup




2  Southern Floodlight Cup


Tributes Malcolm Pyke Papa Bouba Diop

'theyflysohigh' would like to pass on our condolences to Doug’s daughters Amanda and Caroline,

granddaughters Aimee and Tia, niece Susan, and the rest of his family and friends at this sad time.

Wragg transfer WRAGG Doug small

Nicknamed "Oily" Wragg by the fans, his Boleyn Ground career was primarily as a reserve team player combining his football profession while still doing his National Service, His football career received a boost when he was demobbed from the army in 1955 allowing a return to full-time training.

429 WRAGG Doug 1958-59 Team Group 8



Did you know?


Doug Wragg never played in the same first team with Bobby Moore.


However, he made 38 reserve team appearances with the West Ham captain, which is the highest total of any player in the reserve team games that Moore played - 5 more than the second highest which was John Lyall with 33 appearances.


Wragg also scored the most goals (13) in the 38 reserve team games he played with Bobby Moore  (1 more than Billy Dare).

Minutes of Board Meeting

Doug’s first team call-up papers arrived for the Essex Professional Cup (EPC) semi-final against Colchester United at Layer Road on November 11, 1954.


In the days of pre-Football League Cup and European football, the EPC was often treated as a first team fixture. Making their senior debuts alongside Wragg was Alf Noakes and Andy Nelson.


Despite it being a winning start for the claret and blue debutants, against the run of the play Colchester were the first to score before Tommy Dixon restored West Ham to equality with a good goal before half-time.

Did you know?  


The Essex Professional Cup final in August 1955 against Southend United ended 2-2 at full-time and was abandoned  at the interval of the extra period as it was too dark to continue.The club's therefore shared the cup for six-months each. Although Doug played in the semi-final he was omitted from the final starting XI against Southend.


Southern Floodlight Cup

Crossed Hammer

Similar to the Essex Professional Cup, the Southern Floodlight Cup was another now defunct tournament which was treated as a first team competition. And on April 4, 1956, Doug donned the claret and blue shirt for the away semi-final tie at Elm Park.


The West Ham eleven was: Gregory; Bond, Cooper. Bennett, Nelson, Parker; Grice, Foan, Dare, Dick, Wragg.


Before an attendance of about 5,000 there was a first-minute shock for the Hammers, as the home side went in front. It took us another 24 minutes to equalise through Billy Dare.


Nine minutes after the interval Mike Grice opened his scoring account for the Hammers, and from thence onwards we remained well on top. The Biscuitmen made gallant efforts to stem the tide, but a further tally by John Dick sealed thieir fate with five minutes to go and we will meet Aldershot in the final.


However, Doug was to miss out on his second medal when he was omitted from the Final starting line-up. Goals from Billy Dare and Ken Tucker ensured a 2-1 victory.

56_04_04 Reading v. WHU SFC 2 Crossed Hammer

Although Doug was a regular in the Hammers' Football Combination side he had to wait nearly two years after his first team debut in the Essex Pro Cup, for his Football League debut.

Gaining the upper hand in the second half the Hammers forged ahead when Derek Parker went through on his own to net after a fine run, but shortly before the 90 minutes were up a defensive error allowed the Essex side to make it 2-2.


This necessitated extra time of 10 minutes each way and in this final spell the Hammers proved to have the better stamina and, following a pass from Doug Wragg, Dixon made it 3-2 in West Ham’s favour at the final whistle and a date with Southend United in the final.

Unfortunately for Doug, the final against The Shrimpers was deferred to the start of the following season. (August 31, 1955).

Playing delightful soccer throughout, the Hammers were always looking like winners and although Alan Blackburn missed a couple of opportunities before he opened the scoring in the 32nd minute, we were never unduly worried. This tally came from Musgrove's cross-pass, but almost immediately we received a rebuff when our centre-forward was kicked in the knee and had to leave the field; he returned before the interval but played on at a reduced speed.

Maintaining a style which was pleasing even to the home fans we deservedly sealed the fate of the points six minutes from time, Wragg eluding Eckersley to centre for Dick to bang the ball into the net with Leyland beaten all the way.

On August 27, 1956 Wragg wore the number seven shirt in the Hammers’ away match against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. And he maintained his first team winning run as West Ham won 2-0 thanks to nets from Alan Blackburn and John Dick.


The match report in a subsequent West Ham programme mentioned Doug’s significant contribution:

Doug’s influential debut performance helped secure his first team place as he made a further nine league appearances in this season.


The Hammers' line-up: Gregory, Wright, Cantwell, Malcolm, Allison, O'Farrell, Wragg, Stroud, Blackburn, Dick, Musgrove


Division Two Champions

The home game against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday September 14, 1959 turned out to be Doug’s last Football League game for West Ham. John Bond netting a consolation goal in a 2-1 defeat.


A month after his last league game, Doug made his final first team outing in the Southern Floodlight Cup game at home to Millwall. In his previous 23 league and cup appearances, he hadn’t scored but he opened and closed his account for the Hammers with a brace of goals in the 3-1 win over The Lions.


No complaints of fixture congestion back in 1959 as 24 hours earlier Wragg had played in the home win over Hendon in the London Challenge Cup.

As a member of the first team squad Doug made a small but significant contribution to the Hammers’ promotion drive. He was in the side for three league matches: v. Fulham H 3-2 (Sept 21, 1957), v. Barnsley A 0-1 (Sept 28, 1957) and v. Huddersfield A 1-3 (March 15, 1958).  In all three matches he stepped in as Mike Grice’s understudy.

At the end of the historic season, the Hammers visited Ireland for a couple of friendlies. In the second of these matches against the Cork side Evergreen United Select XI,  played at The Mardyke on Tuesday April 29, 1958, Doug played as an inside forward in a 4-2 defeat.  

Ireland Friendly

Team Group Cork Eire 1958


Division One Baptism

Season 1958-59 was memorable as the Hammers more than held than own in the top division. The club finished in a highly impressive sixth place, a club record which wouldn’t be topped until the 1985-86 squad finished third.

Doug appeared in a couple of the Division One matches. The first on September 17, 1958 away at Old Trafford in a 4-1 defeat to Manchester United. And the second three days later at Upton Park to Chelsea when it was the Hammers’ turn to score four goals in a 4-2 victory.

The Hammers' Irish Touring Party

End of Season European Tour

Five days after the Hammers’ highly successful season had closed the first team squad embarked on a five match European tour, taking in games in Belgium, Germany and Holland. Mike Grice played in the first match against Charleroi (Belgium) before Doug picked up the right winger’s shirt for the last of the four friendlies Rot Weiss (West Germany), Fortuna (Holland) and against the two other West German sides Borussia Dortmund and Aachen.

Did you know?  

London Challenge Cup


In addition to his 24 league and cup first team matches he played in nine London Challenge Cup (LCC) games.


These LCC games included a couple of finals: the first in season 1956-57 Doug was a member of the Irons’ side which beat Millwall 3-1 in the final on April 1, 1957.


A season later he collected another finalist’s medal, only this time it was as runners-up.  Arsenal beat the Hammers 3-1 with Doug netting the Hammers’ solitary reply.


The last of Doug’s nine LCC appearances was on October 12, 1959 against Hendon at Upton Park, on the evening before his last first team appearance, the Southern Floodlit Cup tie against Millwall.  


Last Season with Hammers


In his season and a bit at Field Mill, he netted 13 times in 46 league appearances. The popular winger was respected as a trier by supporters, who were disappointed to see him leave for Rochdale in the summer of 1961.


Doug’s three years as a regular at Spotland included an unlikely career highlight, for a player at a club in Division Four – a Football League Cup final appearance. On paper at least, these were the most consistent days of his career, and he went on to make 103 league appearances for ‘Dale, scoring 15 goals.

Return to the North

After proving himself a capable First XI deputy and nearly seven years with Hammers, Doug was transferred back to his home county via Mansfield Town on March 11, 1960 for a fee of £3,500.

Minutes of Board Meeting

He moved to Chesterfield in the close season of 1964 to start as the first-choice left-winger but was carried off injured after 27 minutes of a 5-1 defeat at Notts County in September. Before he could reclaim a place he was further injured in a car crash in December.


It would be March 1965 before he made the first team again. And on his return the struggling team embarked on a run of six straight wins to climb to mid-table safety.


Doug left Chesterfield for Midland League Grantham after one season and later found employment at a Nottinghamshire factory that made seat covers for the motor trade.

Additional facts courtesy of Richard Miller

Mansfield Rochdale

Mansfield Town


0570 Chelsea 05 (H) 58-59 Smith & Wragg

Doug Wragg is ready to pounce, but there is no need as the ball leaves the head of John Smith on its way past  Chelsea goalkeeper Bill Robertson in West Ham’s 4-2 victory in September 1958

Doug Wragg 01