There must have been times in Frank Wignall’s career when he wondered what else he need do to earn the recognition his goals surely merited. After scoring on his Everton debut in September 1959, the centre forward bettered a goal every two games over the next four years – but the chances handed to him were sporadic at best. In November 1964, now no longer an Everton player, he made his England debut against Wales at Wembley and scored both goals in a 2-1 win. A glittering international career surely beckoned, but Wignall played just once more for his country, against the Netherlands a month later, and was never picked again.
It seemed a harsh outcome for a talented footballer who enjoyed a productive First Division career elsewhere. A brave, strong player, Wignall, a Lancastrian who grew up modelling himself on Nat Lofthouse, was very much the archetypal English target man. Never the most naturally graceful player, he was nevertheless powerful, energetic and a handful for any defender. He possessed a fearsome shot and the goals seemed to come easily: 15 goals from 19 league and cup games in 1960/61 and five from eleven league games the following year.
But with the arrival of Harry Catterick, Wignall’s chances became more limited as he struggled to break the stranglehold of Alex Young and Roy Vernon on the Everton forward line. After making just a solitary appearance during the 1962/63 League Championship winning season, Wignall sought fresh challenges and joined Nottingham Forest for £20,000, where he was reunited with Johnny Carey. An England call up came a year later, and in 1966/67 his goals brought Forest within a touching distance of the League Championship. There was talk of a Goodison return, but it never came and there followed a year at Wolves. Wignall later joined Brian Clough’s Derby County, before playing out his career with Mansfield and as player manager of Kings Lynn.