Any self-respecting Tottenham supporter will have heard of Cyril Knowles.
Knowles, who played more than 400 times for Tottenham between 1964 and 1976, is still widely considered to be Tottenham’s greatest ever left-back.
But this story is about Cyril’s brother and fellow professional, Peter.
Peter Knowles rose to stardom at Wolverhampton Wanderers, netting 101 goals in a measly 174 games. Peter was capped for England’s under-23 side and looked as though he was on the way to becoming something of a world beater.
But in 1969, Knowles played for Kansas City in a promotional league. When he returned to Wolves, he came back a changed man: he had become a Jehovah’s Witness.
When the 1969-70 season began, Knowles said, “I shall continue playing football for the time being but I have lost my ambition. Though I still do my best on the field I need more time to learn about the Bible and may give up football.”
But just eight games into that season – a 3-3 draw with Nottingham Forest – Peter Knowles decided to call time on his playing career.
Peter was only 24 years old when he retired, but Wolves retained his contract for a further 12 years in the hope he would change his mind and play professionally again.
Peter’s career even inspired Billy Bragg’s track, God’s Footballer, which featured the lyrics:
“He scored goals on a Saturday. And saved souls on a Sunday. For the Lord says these are the last days. Prepare thyself for the judgement yet to come.”
Though Cyril died after a battle with cancer in 1991, Peter is still alive today.