Born on 21st January 1964, Danny Wallace was one of the country’s brightest young sports stars with an exciting future ahead of him but the challenges he faced changed dramatically with the diagnosis of an incurable and debilitating disease: multiple sclerosis.
In 1980, aged just 16, Wallace became the youngest player ever to sign for Southampton, and quickly made a name for himself as one of the club’s most exciting players, making more than 300 appearances for them between 1980 – 1989.
During his time with The Saints, Wallace was also selected to wear the England shirt and scored in the 1-1 draw against Egypt, which was to be his only international.
In 1989, Wallace was signed to Manchester United for £1.2 million as things went from strength to strength for the player. In 1990 he helped the team to FA Cup glory, the first trophy of the club’s Alex Ferguson era, swiftly followed by the Cup Winners’ Cup the following season. The future looked promising for Wallace until a number of injuries and a puzzling loss of form struck.
“I had a lot of injuries at United. They were just normal, everyday hamstring or calf problems but they were so frequent. “
In 1993, Wallace was transferred to Birmingham City but in an 18-month spell with the club he managed just 12 games.
“I was getting a lot of pain and numbness in my feet and was having trouble running and eventually even walking.”
He recalls one particular game in 1995, while playing for the reserves:
“The whole of one side of my body felt really, really heavy. Kicking the ball was like kicking a balloon full of water.”
It was not until a year later that Wallace was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, spelling the end of what had once been a glittering a career.
“It was really really frustrating. I wanted to carry on playing football and to be forced out of the game was more frustrating than anything”, says Wallace.
“But the diagnosis came as a relief. I knew there had to be a reason why I was getting so may injuries and it turned out to be because I had MS. I was relieved to know that it wasn’t my fault.”
These days Wallace is active in raising funds for research into MS and in helping others with the condition. He has set up The Danny Wallace Foundation and will be participating in the London Marathon in April to raise money for the charity.
His testimonial match at St Mary’s back in 2004, which saw the likes of Viv Anderson, Paul Ince, Matthew Le Tissier and Gordon Strachan turn out, raised much needed funds for the MS Society, and Wallace is again supporting them this year by endorsing their national event, MS Life, taking place in Manchester.
MS Life is the chance to find out how and why Danny’s symptoms developed, how the condition can affect you, what can be done to fight it and how to continue living life after diagnosis.
Brothers: Clive, Rodney, Raymond and Paul
Parents: Joan and Vincent
Sons: Remi and Thaila
- Childerick Primary School Newcross London
- West Greenwich Secondary School Greenwich London
- First school football team was aged 9 -10s for Childerick School London
- First Sunday football team was aged 10 – 11s for St Paul’s Depford Green
- West Greenwich School team 11 – 16s
- Signed for Southampton School boys 14 – 16s
- Dealtown adults aged 14yrs
- Signed apprenticeship papers for Southampton FC 1980 aged 16yrs
- Played for the youth and reserves, and debuted for the first team on 29/11/1980 were they played against Manchester United at age 16yrs, Danny was fully established in the first team by 1982, Allan Ball retires and he fills place.
- 1981 he played for England’s youth team tournament in Yugoslavia he won 9 youth caps and scored 6 goals
- 1981 he played for the England youth team mini world cup in Australia scoring 1 goal, his goal total for Southampton FC 1982 – 83 was 12
- Danny scored his first goal between Southampton -v- Swansea City on the 30/10/82
- 1983 – 85 Danny played for England under 12s he gained 14 caps and scored 2 goals.
- Danny then played in the semi finals 1984 / 85 and 1985 / 86. Southampton FC who were second in the league in 1983/84, Danny’s best season was in 1983/84 he played in 41 games resulting in him scoring eleven goals.
- 1986 he played in England’s first team against Egypt they won 4-1 Danny scored 1 goal.
- In 1986 Danny’s brothers Rodney and Ray signed an apprenticeship for Southampton football club.
- In 1988 / 89 history was made when the three Wallace brothers played for the same team the score was 1 – 1, Southampton -v- Sheffield Wednesday
- 1989 Danny signed for Manchester United for £1.25 million
- 1989 / 1990 Manchester United -v- Crystal Palace and become FA cup winners
- 1991 England B cap -v- Algeria
- 1992 Danny is suffering from regular injuries the majority of them being ham string and calf sprains Danny eventually played 68 games for Manchester United scoring 11 goals
- 1993 Danny sign’s for Birmingham City and played 12 games scoring 1 goal in the 18 months by this time Danny’s injuries were getting worse
- 1994 Danny signs for Wycomb Wanderers for three months but was reluctantly forced into retirement due to painful and persistent injuries
- In January 1996 Danny was diagnosed with spinal MS
- On May 17th 2004 Danny had a testimonial game with Southampton -v- All star team the result being 2 – 2
2004 MS symptoms:
- Pins and needles in both hands and feet
- Severe back pain down the right hand side
- Zanaflex manufactured by Novaktis Spain