"The greatest centre-half I ever had the privilege of playing with, the incomparable Neil Franklin"
Sir Stanley Matthews
Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney and Gordon Banks all named the same man as the greatest centre-half they ever laid their eyes upon. That man was Neil Franklin, a footballing visionary whose career collapsed at its peak. When Franklin donned his usual number five shirt in front of more than 133,000 spectators at Hampden Park for a 1-0 England victory over the Scots, he set an all time record for consecutive England appearances, as well as helping confirm England's place at the 1950 World Cup. He would have been the first man on the plane and the first name on the team sheet for England as they made their World Cup bow, but Franklin ruled himself out of his own volition. In a flash, the fate of Franklin's career and English football in its entirety was irrevocably damaged.
Written along with the help of Neil's son, former England internationals, club team mates, club chairmen and numerous others who have generously provided a huge deal of valuable material, this is the story of England's colourful unsung hero of football.
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