The original Wanderers team was of course a legendary Sunday League football team. In view of this history and heritage, this section explores the often surprising cricketing skeletons that lurk in the closets of some very famous footballers.
Of course, it was not so very long ago that the gulf between the two sports didn't seem so great - Denis Compton's appearances for both Arsenal and England are legendary, and Ian Botham's spell at Scunthorpe United is well known - but these days football's all-consuming dominance has tended to stretch the gulf between the two sports. But scratch the surface....
Hero 0f '66 Geoff Hurst played cricket for Essex against Lancashire, making him the only first-class cricketer to have won a World Cup winner's medal.
West Indies and Somerset super hero Viv Richards both played in the Football World Cup for Antigua & Barbuda and won the Cricket World Cup twice, apparently the only player to have participated in both.
Both Gary and Phil Neville could have played cricket professionally. Phil played for Lancashire's 2nd XI, the youngest player ever to do so, and has said that he intends to play cricket again, once he retires from football. "I have said all along that as soon as I finish playing football I will start playing cricket again, because it's a game I love". Gary played for Lancashire's Greenmount CC, the scene of Joel Garner's famous appearance where the 'Big Bird' took 9 wickets for 10 runs, as well as taking the final catch.
Drug-crazed former Man U. & Chelsea goalie Mark Bosnich is a big cricket fan and a good friend of Aussie meister-skipper Mark Taylor, and was a lunchtime interview guest on TMS during the last home Ashes tour.
Cricket-crazed Italian international superstar striker and left-handed batsman Christian Vieri (I'm not making this up) has frequently named Alan Border as his all-time sporting hero. The dashing Azzuri's prize possession is apparently a bat signed by the entire Australian team.
At the other end of football's food chain (at least in team terms), Orc-faced but much loved former Coventry City goalkeeper
The closest thing to a Celtic Compton is former Scotland legend, Rangers and Man U. goalkeeper Andy Goram, who kept wicket for Scotland against Australia in 1989. He won three caps in total and was told by Merv Hughes to stick to football.
Carlisle United hero Chris Balderstone, whose career at Brunton Park spanned over ten years, was one of the last of the old school cricket/soccer players. He played two Test Matches (Headingly and Oval) for England against the mighty Windies in 1976. He played county cricket for Yorkshire and Leicester, before becoming a highly respected umpire
Crisp-crunching wildman Gary Lineker, like the Nevilles, was a talented junior cricketer. He played for Leicester County Cricket Club before joining City FC. He still turns out, doubtless in the most immaculate of whites, to bat for the Lords Taveners and for Wanderersesque celebrity side Bunbury Cricket Club for whom Arsenal's Ian Wright has also played.
Barely believable though it may sound, I have it on good authority that legendary Chelsea assassin Ron 'Chopper' Harris was actually offered terms by Middlesex but, in the words of my source, he wisely "decided that football offered more opportunities for violence". If anyone can shed some light on this staggering assertion, please contact your secretario.
But most peculiar of all were repeated reports last year of Roy Keane attending Lancashire matches at Old Trafford. Could the Cork axe murderer be emerging from the cricket closet?? This secretly taken photo showing Keano practicing what appears to be a big rippa of a googly certainly seems proof positive.