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Willie Woodburn

Personal information
Full nameWilliam Woodburn
Date of birth6 August 1919
Place of birthEdinburgh, Scotland
Date of death02 December 2001(age 82)
Place of deathEdinburgh, Scotland
Playing positionCentre back

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William 'Willie' Woodburn (8 August 1919 2 December 2001) was a Scottish footballer. He was the last footballer in Britain to receive a life ban from the game for indiscipline. He is also an inductee of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame and the Rangers F.C. Hall of Fame.

Born in Edinburgh, he played for junior side Edinburgh Ashton before signing as a professional for Rangers in October 1937. He made his debut on 20 August 1938 in a 2-2 draw in the League against Motherwell.After the war he established himself in the Rangers side and won four League Championships with the club. He appeared in the first Scottish League Cup Final in April 1947 when Rangers beat Aberdeen 4-0. He won 24 caps for Scotland, making his debut in a 1-1 draw with England at Wembley.

In 1947 he received a 14-day ban for a "violent exchange" with Motherwell's Dave Mathie, then in 1953 he punched the Clyde striker Billy McPhail, which earned a 21-day ban. Later that year, Woodburn was sent off for retaliation in a match with Stirling Albion and when the clubs met again, the following season, in a League Cup tie at Ibrox on 28 August 1954. Playing with a knee injury, Woodburn took exception to a bad foul and retaliated by headbutting a Stirling player.

The SFA convened a disciplinary hearing the following month, which lasted just four minutes, and Woodburn was suspended sine die. The England international Tom Finney, one of many well-known forwards Woodburn had encountered in his international career, described the ban as "a grave injustice". The SFA revoked their punishment three years later, but by then Woodburn was 37 and his playing career was over.

On his retirement from football he ran a garage business before becoming a sportswriter with The News of the World.

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