Ray tragically passed away in April
By Billy Hawkins – @bhawkinsss
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Dean Wilkins has thanked Chelsea, the Football Association and the League Managers Association for the support given to him and his family in the wake of Ray Wilkins’ tragic death in April.
Former Chelsea, Manchester United and England midfielder Butch, who was a regular voice on talkSPORT, passed away aged just 61 last month following a cardiac arrest.
Tributes have been paid to Wilkins since his untimely passing, with a minute’s applause held prior to league matches a few days after his death, and numerous people involved with the game honouring a man who brightened every room he entered.
Chelsea fans created a banner for Ray, reading: ‘Ray was one those select few, he knew what it meant to be one of us a real blue blood. Chelsea flowed through his veins, may you rest in peace Ray’
And Dean, Ray’s younger brother, has thanked Chelsea, the FA and the LMA for the support given to him and the rest of the family in an exclusive interview with talkSPORT.
Wilkins, himself a retired footballer and former Brighton and Southampton coach, said: “For the family it’s been quite an emotional rollercoaster really, but it is clear, from the public and from people within the game, just how much he was loved.
“He was my brother; I’ve got three brothers and two sisters.
“It’s almost felt overwhelming for me and I’ve worked within the game since I left school as well.
“It’s been quite incredible. But it’s very difficult to describe just how the emotions flip from one to the other.
“From day one the support we’ve had, from the LMA with Richard Bevan, Ali Betson and her team, at Chelsea from the top from Bruce Buck to Nadia Shahrestani and her team, and the FA – they couldn’t have been more helpful.
“They’ve obviously seen situations similar to this before, and they appreciate the family need some support because it is such a public event.”
Butch is being honoured twice in the coming days, firstly at Stamford Bridge on Friday when a Chelsea Legends match against their Inter of Milan counterparts is being played in his memory, and then the day after at the FA Cup final.
The Wembley showpiece is being played between two of Ray’s former teams, Chelsea and Manchester United, and his widow Jackie is set to present the trophy to the winner.
Wilkins’ has a fine legacy in the famous competition, having won it once as a player with United and three times while on Chelsea’s coaching staff, and further tributes are to be paid to the late great on Saturday.
Ray won the FA Cup as Chelsea’s assistant manager in 2000, 2009 and 2010
Discussing the Chelsea Legends match, Dean said: “It was a game arranged before Butch’s passing, but since then the club have decided to do it in memory of him. The Chelsea Foundation are donating to Butch’s charity, Crohn’s & Colitis UK, and again the family are going to be there.
“It will be a really special night, with Butch’s grandchild as mascots. The line-up of players is incredible – you’ve got [Gianfranco] Zola, [Gianluca] Vialli, [Dennis] Wise, [Michael] Ballack, [Marcel] Desailly, [Roberto] Di Matteo, [Eidur] Gudjohnsen.
“It’s another wonderful occasion to honour Butch again, and again I can’t thank Chelsea enough on behalf of the family for everything they’ve done to make it so special.”
Continuing, Dean spoke about Jackie’s role at the FA Cup final: “Knowing Jackie, she’s never courted any limelight and she’s a very private person.
Ray’s window Jackie (above, right) will present the FA Cup to the winners of Saturday’s final
“My guess is that Jackie will be incredibly nervous, but when she looks back over a number of years it will be a kind of legacy for the family to Butch’s memory; to think he’s won the competition as a player, he’s won it as part of a management team, and now Jackie will be somebody who’s actually presented the cup to the winners.
“Again the gesture from the FA to actually ask her to present the trophy to the winners is incredible.
“I grew up watching the FA Cup and always dreamed of scoring the winning goal in the final, and all these years later – through this tragic event – something like this is happening.”