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Joseph (Joe) Rooney, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Jane Rooney, was born in Wolverhampton in 1920. He was signed by Major Frank Buckley, the manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers and made his debut as centre-half for the club in 1939.
Other players in the team that year included Stan Cullis, Bill Morris, Dennis Westcott, George Ashall, Alex Scott, Jack Taylor, Tom Galley, Dicky Dorsett, Bill Parker, Bryn Jones, Joe Gardiner, Billy Wright, Jimmy Mullen and Teddy Maguire.
The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 brought an end to the Football League. Major Frank Buckley attempted to re-join the armed forces but at the age of 56 he was considered too old. However, he did encourage all his players to join and according to the Football Association publication, Victory Was The Goal (1945), between 3 September 1939 and the end of the war, 91 men joined the armed forces from the club.
Joe Rooney joined the British Army and was based in Northern Ireland. He was killed in an air raid in Belfast on 5th May 1941.
It is now known that Joesph Rooney the Wolverhampton Wanderers centre half, whose name is on the Portadown retained list, was killed in an air raid in Belfast. Rooney, a soldier, signed for Portadown when he came to Northern Ireland in the midddle of the season just ended, but owing to the fine form of George Black he was unable to find his place in the team.
In peace time he was deputy to Stanley Cullis the English International centre half. His registration has been cancelled by the English Football League.