Man Utd (twice), Liverpool and Arsenal have also racked up ‘three in a row’ titles but the first team to take that honour were the more unfashionable Huddersfield Town, in the 1923-24/24-25/25-26 campaigns.
And at the centre of the formidable side was Wilson – a County Durham-born player who went to Seaham Colliery to work down the pit and then won the Military Medal for bravery in the First World War before his footballing career took off.
After a brief stint at Sunderland he joined Huddersfield and his role at the heart of Town’s defence earned him over 500 appearances in 12 years at Leeds Road, with an FA Cup also won in 1922.
He had joined them in 1919 when they were at their lowest point, struggling in Division 2 with huge debts. They were on the brink of collapse – indeed, an arrangement to amalgamate the club with Leeds United had been made – but promotion in 1920 proved the springboard for success under manager Herbert Chapman.
Wilson’s importance was reflected in the 42-lot collection of honours and memorabilia offered at Northamptonshire firm Graham Budd Auctions (24% buyer’s premium) on June 6-7, consigned by descent (owned by six members of Wilson’s family).
Top-scorers on sale day were his 1922 FA Cup winner’s and 1923-24 Division 1 league championship winner’s medals. Wilson captained Huddersfield to their only FA Cup triumph, beating Preston North End 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. His gold medal doubled the top estimate to make £20,000. Sold for the same hammer price but against a guide of £12,000-15,000, the league medal marked a close-fought race in which only goal difference separated Huddersfield and Cardiff at the end. The league medals for 1924-25 and 1925-26 both went on their low estimates, at £12,000 and £15,000 respectively.
Those four lots were bought by the same private collector. Two bidders competed for the main lots; both private collectors with Huddersfield collections.
Wilson also appeared on the losing side in three FA Cup finals. His 1919-20 runners-up medal sold within estimate at £2600, as did the 1927-28 version, with that for 1929-30 faring a bit better at £2800.
For all his success, Wilson won just one England cap (against 1928 against Scotland). Estimated at £1000-1500, it sold for £2000.
A match-worn blue and white Huddersfield Town shirt with lace-up collar realised £2800, more than double the top estimate.