Welcome to Last Word on Football’s ‘Families in Football’ series. Over the next few weeks, we take a look at siblings, cousins and even parents and children that have played the beautiful game. Some have played cup finals together while others have been on opposing sides. Today, we focus on brothers Danny, Ray and Rod Wallace.
Families in Football: Danny, Ray and Rod Wallace
Danny Wallace was an industrial forward that spent much of his career at Southampton. Capped once by England, he began his career on the south coast having come through the Saint’s academy in the late 1970s.
He made his Southampton debut against Manchester United, aged just 16 years and 313 days, thus becoming the youngest player to be picked for the Saints.
Although he had to bide his time for regular football at the Dell, Danny began to threaten defences on a weekly basis. He helped the Saints to a second-place finish in the top flight in the 1983/84 season before losing in the FA Cup semi-final against eventual winners, Everton.
It was during his time at Southampton that Danny made his one and only England appearance, scoring in a 4-0 win over Egypt.
In 1989, Danny departed the Dell and joined Manchester United for £1.2 million, which was then a club-record sale for the Saints. He ended his time on the south coast with 79 goals in 317 appearances.
The Red Devils were still without a trophy upon Danny’s arrival and pressure was mounting on Alex Ferguson. He established himself as a regular in his performances were below the level he produced at Southampton.
Despite that, he won the 1990 FA Cup against Crystal Palace but would soon be ousted from the side by an emerging Lee Sharpe. The promotion of a certain Ryan Giggs further limited his playing time and he spent time on loan at Millwall before joining Birmingham City.
Injuries and a lack of form had taken their toll on the winger and he hung up his boots in 1995 after a brief spell with Wycombe Wanderers.
Danny had two younger brothers, twins Ray and Rod. Like Danny, Ray came through the Southampton academy and broke into the first team.
He managed 46 appearances for the Saints but soon found himself on the move. Ray and Rod both joined Leeds United but the former spent time away from Elland Road on loan with Swansea City and Reading respectively.
He found a permanent home in 1994 when he joined Stoke City. Ray would spend five seasons with the Potters, where he made over 200 appearances. However, in his penultimate season, Stoke suffered relegation to the Second Division in their first season at the Britannia Stadium.
Ray would go on to play for Scottish First Division side Airdrieonians and Conference club Altrincham before short spells at Winsford United, Drogheda United and Witton Albion.
Like his brothers, Rod Wallace came through the Southampton academy and would make his senior debut at the Dell. In the 1989/90 season, Rod would score an impressive 21 goals in all competitions, making it back to back campaigns that the striker reached double figures.
Despite his impressive displays with the Saints, he would join Leeds United along with twin brother Ray. He stayed at Elland Road for seven seasons and won the First Division championship and Charity Shield. The striker’s goal-to-game ratio wasn’t as good as at Southampton but he was a key player for the Whites during his time in West Yorkshire.
In 1998, Rod moved north of the border and joined Rangers. In his first season at Ibrox, the striker won the domestic treble and finished the campaign with 27 goals. He also scored the winner in the 1999 Scottish Cup final over Celtic.
Rod and Rangers completed a double the following season and he ended his three-year stay in Scotland with an impressive 56 goals in 122 appearances.
He returned to England and joined newly-promoted Bolton Wanderers, helping the Trotters avoid relegation. After just one season, he moved to Gillingham, but injuries limited his game time and he decided to retire.
Games Played Together and Against
Famously, the three brothers became the first three siblings to play a professional English match since 1920 when Danny, Ray and Rod Wallace played for Southampton against Sheffield Wednesday in 1988.
Ray and Danny played together eight times during their Southampton career but managed just one win. His record alongside twin brother Rod produced a similar record with just three victories from 19 games. Rod scored four times from the 13 matches involving Southampton before notching a hat-trick against Coventry City when the duo were at Leeds.
Rod and Danny shared a similar dismal winning record when playing together. The duo won just twice from 18 matches for the Saints but Danny netted the winner in a 1-0 win over Arsenal at Highbury.
Rod and Danny only faced each other once and it came in a 1-1 draw between Southampton and Manchester United. That was the only time any of the three brothers were on opposing sides.
Although Ray and Rod both joined Leeds in 1991, they suffered contrasting fortunes. Ray struggled at Elland Road and joined Stoke three years, but Rod won the league title in his first season in a seven-year stint.
Danny became the youngest ever Southampton player when he made his debut – a record that would remain unbroken until Theo Walcott made his debut 25-years later. One year after retiring from football, Danny was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Rod won the 1993/94 Goal of the Season for his effort against Tottenham Hotspur. His brother, Danny, had won the award ten years earlier and they remain the only brothers to pick up the accolade.