Peter Swan, who has died aged 84, was a centre-half for Sheffield Wednesday and a near-certainty for England’s 1966 World Cup squad when, in April 1964, The People revealed that he and his team-mates Tony Kay and David “Bronco” Layne had bet on a match they expected to lose. The scandal – the first such in half a century – shook English football to its core. Instead of regaining his place as England’s first-choice centre-half which he had lost through illness, Swan was jailed for four months and banned from football for life. Jack Charlton took his place in Alf Ramsey’s victorious side. The ban was eventually lifted, and Swan returned briefly to Wednesday’s first team. But his career never recovered from that one episode of rashness. Handsome and leggy, but tough, Swan was the perfect centre-half. His England room-mate Jimmy Greaves rated him “a breathtaking player. His perfect physique made him a handful for opponents, and for a big man he possessed outstanding ball control, passing, tackling and heading ability.” Swan’s trademark was hitching up the baggy shorts of the day to reveal his legs. “I got it off Albert Quixall,” he said. “He told me: ‘You look at athletes. They don’t wear big, baggy trousers’.” He was capped 19 times, and, though out of the England side when the scandal broke, he was told years later by Ramsey that he had been “top of the list” for the World Cup squad.