Wilbur Cush spent most of his career in his native Northern Ireland
with Glenavon and Portadown, picking up a variety of league and cup
winners' medals. He was a versatile player, who played at half back
and occasionally up front, and his skills were recognised at
international level, with his debut coming at the age of 23 against
England. Having joined Leeds in 1957, he took over from John Charles
as club captain, and his international career reached a peak with his
participation in the 1958 World Cup Finals. He returned to Northern
Ireland in summer 1960, first with Portadown and then returning to
Glenavon as a coach. He died in summer 1981.
Colin Barber says: I have a recollection of Wilbur Cush being a
rather short man and playing at centre half while Jack Charlton a
rather tall man played centre forward. Can anyone confirm this
Bob Hanson says: Sorry, Colin Barber, you are wrong. Wilbur Cush
was indeed a short man, but always played at right-half and always
wearing number 4. I was at Elland Road a few years ago attending a
wedding reception in the Captains Lounge where I saw a photograph of
him displayed there. I am sorry to learn of his death from this
profile. I do remember also that he lived on Whitehall Road, almost
opposite Ringways Garage - the first house up the hill from the parade
of shops there. Furthermore he had a very attractive dark-haired
wife.(A young lad with raging hormones noticed these things).
John Reilly says: Apparently Wilbur Cush has relatives in
Barrow-in-Furness ? I only learned of this since Peter Risdale's close
association with the Barrow chairman. I don't know if any of this can
be confirmed. It would be interesting to see if there is another link
between Leeds Utd and Barrow.
Tony Dolan says: No, I didn't see him play but, obviously I know of
him. I am originally from Barrow-in-Furness, now living in
Manchester. My mother's maiden name was Cush and her father, Patrick
Cush, was from Tyrone in Northern Ireland. There are still many of the
Cush family in Barrow. If you go to the Pathe News new web site
(pathenews.com) and key in Cush in the search, you will get
information about Wilbur playing for Northern Ireland, and My uncle,
Jimmy Cush from Barrow, escaping from a POW camp. Are we related to
Wilbur? I don't know.
R McCoy says: when Wilbur retired he became a butcher in his native
Lurgan. Perhaps his most famous match was for N Ireland against Wales
when he marked the giant John Charles out of the game. That
performance is a legend in N.Ireland
Oliver Burns says: Wilbur Cush from Lurgan, began his career with
Lurgan Glenavon in 1947, while a player with Glenavon he represented
N Ireland. Wilbur left it a bit late to go to England, this was
around 1958. I seen Cush play for Glenavon from 1947 until I left for
England in 1957,also see him play for Leeds. Cush died after a long
illness in 1981, regarded by many Lurganmen as the best player to come
out of the Town. Jackie Milburn described Cush as the best half-back
in Britain and this was during his time with Glenavon.
Randie Cush says: Wilbur Cush is my uncle (Billy) as we called
him. My father, his brother, is called Bobby and was 4 years younger.
My dad is still alive and well and not connected to the internet but I
can contact him and answer any questions you may have.
Tony Cally says: i remember a mid week game against man utd.both
charlton brothers were playing.it ended in a 2-2 draw.One of the goals
was quite freakish ,in as much big jack kicked the ball to clear and
it hit wilber cush causing the ball to curve up in the air and into
the leeds goal.Anyone else remember this?
Jonathan Gibson says: Wilbur (Billy) Cush is my mother's uncle. my
granny is Beattie (Cush) Benson. Sister to Billy and
Bobby. Unfortunately Wilbur died before i was born but i hear great
things about him. I have a couple of uncles living in England. Maybe
the Barrow-on-Furness relatives are Bensons?
Eileen Benson says: I am sitting here at home looking at a
photograph of my uncle Wilbur Cush. My mum (Beattie) and Wilbur
(Billy) were brother and sister. It is very unlikely that we have any
relatives in Barrow-on-Furness. However, I will confirm things with
my mum and let you know. I will also get answers to any questions you
Denis J Casey says: I knew Wilber when I was a boy and watched him
playing football for glenavon. He was a stocky player and was a great
kicker of the ball. I had the opportunity of working with him in the
early 70s when he was a butcher in Lurgan working for Joe Hobbs a
butchers shop in the centre of Lurgan.
Tom King says: Re: what Tony Cally writes. I remember the incident
he describes very well. In fact, until now I assumed that I was the
only one on the planet who did remember it. The ball struck Cush on
the back of the leg or on his backside (I was standing in the boys'
enclosure)and sailed backwards in an extraordinary arc over Roy
Wood's? head and into the Scratching Shed goal. It was probably JC
who hoofed it into WC but it might equally have been Archie Gibson who
was rather prone to that sort of thing.
David Phillips says: I saw Wilbur Cush play many times for Glenavon
and Portadown. He was an outstanding player who was short and stocky
and tough as teak. He played for Portadown on returning from
Leeds. Wilbur's ability to jump early and 'hang' before heading the
ball seemed to defy the laws of gravity. I have not seen any player -
at any level - with his ability to do this. What a player; what a man;
what a loss!
David Phillips says: Wilbur Cush was one of the best players ever
to play for Northern Ireland of that there is no doubt. It is
surprising there are not more accolades above from older LUFC fans!
His style of play was what one would expect at Leeds. As the great Sir
Stanley Matthews says on this website; 'When he tackled you it was
like being hit by a tank'. Wilbur began his professionl career with
Glenavon and linked well wit Jackie Denver. He moved to Leeds and
after 3years returned to N Ireland to play some of the best football
of his career with Portadown FC. As said above 'Billy' was ideally an
'old-fashioned' (largely defensive)right-half. Less than average
height, stocky and barrel-chested, he was tough as teak. He had the
uncanny ability to jump early and 'hang' when rising for defensive
headers. In fact he seemed to defy Newton's laws on gravity. Never
have seen a better aerial defender, at any level, since. What a man,
what a player, what a loss!
Harold Harvey says: Billy Cush played left half for Glenavon before
his transfer to Leeds. He played inside left for Glenavon when they
became the first club outside Belfast to win the Irish League title.
I remember as a teenager being very disturbed by his transfer to
Leeds. The day he was transferred Glenavon beat Derry City (then an
ILTeam) by 10 goals to 1. Yes ten. His best ever performance In my
opinion in a Northern Ireland shirt was against Italy in the World Cup
Qualifying round in 1957/58