Enduring Pride Of Double League Cup Winner
Wolves Fan Geoff On Living The Dream
How good must Geoff Palmer feel as he looks back on his football career? Raised in Cannock as an avid Wolves supporter, he joined his beloved club and went on to play no fewer than 496 times in their first team.
More than that, he twice won the League Cup with them – once in his first season while still in his teens – as well as playing in two FA Cup semi-final defeats.
He is eighth in the Molineux all-time record appearance-makers list and only one man, Derek Parkin, has played more Wolves games as a full-back. Palmer’s long-time team-mate John Richards put to him the questions our readers wanted answering.
Q: Geoff, many thanks for your loyal service at Molineux. Fans who saw you play still talk fondly about you today. It must have been an amazing experience to play for Wolves, the team you supported while at school in Cannock. Who was your favourite player or players? (From Berlin Wolf)
A: Thank-you for those kind words. As you say, it was a dream come true for me to play for the team I had supported as a young boy. There were some excellent players that I used to watch from the North Bank but Peter Knowles was my favourite. It was unfortunate that I joined Wolves just after he decided to retire.
Q: I used to work with a guy called Melvin who says he played for Cannock Schoolboys with you and, in one game, you won 15-0, with him scoring eight and you seven. I’ve always imagined he was making it up – was he? (From highlandwolf)
A: I’m sorry but I can’t ever remember playing for Cannock Schoolboys and winning 15-0. Perhaps if I knew Melvin’s surname, it might jog my memory.
Q: What would be the highlight of your time spent at Wolves and why? Conversely, what would you say was the lowest point for you at Molineux? (From ricki herbert’s moustache)
A: There was so many good times. I was lucky to play with some fantastic players. The highlight of my career was walking out wearing the famous gold and black at Wembley in 1974. The dark days of the mid-1980s have to rank as the saddest time I experienced at Wolves.
Q: Geoff, a simple question…your favourite game please? (From vega recollection)
A: A simple answer….. Spurs 1 Wolves 3 in November, 1973 (his first League victory in the first team and the first time he had netted in the side – ed). I scored our second goal. The game didn’t start very well for me as I gave away a penalty but Barry Powell equalised and, as I said, I made it 2-1. It was a sweetly struck 20-yarder that left Pat Jennings grasping thin air. Kenny Hibbitt made the game safe with the third goal.
Q: Which of the two League Cup finals did you enjoy most as an occasion? (From reanswolf)
A: Both occasions were fantastic experiences and I will never forget them. If I had to choose, I would say the 1974 League Cup Final. Walking out at Wembley for the first time, in front of all those fans, was something else.
Q: Who was the motivator in the dressing room and who did the players listen to and respect the most in the successful run the club had in the 1970s? (From wallace)
A: Mike Bailey was a fantastic captain and a well-respected person on and off the field. He led by example. He would never hide on the field and was always there to give advice. It didn’t matter who you were…….. if you needed telling off, Mike would do it.
Q: If you had to single out one player as being the key component of that early 1970s team we all fell in love with, who would it be? (From reanswolf)
A: That is a hard one to answer but Waggy would go close. Derek Dougan and John Richards scored some amazing goals for Wolves and I would say many of those were set up by Waggy.
Q: Of the many good left-wingers you came up against, who was the toughest to face? (From Saltyjim)
A: Tommy Hutchinson of Coventry gave me the most problems. He was a gangly footballer with an amazing knack of nicking the ball away from you just as you were about to tackle him. He had two good feet and excellent quality when putting the ball into the box. I later played in the same team as Tommy when I moved to Burnley. He always used to remind me of those games in which I had faced him.
Q: I can remember you scoring some cracking goals (I wish there’d been a few more!) but which was your favourite? (From Saltyjim)
A: I also wish there had been more but all the goals were special to me. If I had to single one out, it was a 25-yard half-volley against Burnley in a League Cup game at Molineux. I think it was the second leg of the first round and it was the season we beat Nottingham Forest in the final. I scored our goal in the first leg at Turf Moor as well.
Q: Who do you think was the most underrated player you played with at Wolves and who do you think would fit best into the modern game? (From OLDGOLD)
A: Right, the answer to the first question would be John McAlle. He was a tremendous professional on and off the field; a manager’s dream. He never moaned and always gave 100 per cent. For my second answer, I’d go for Scouse’s main centre-half partner, Frank Munro, who was absolute class and would have loved playing on today’s vastly improved pitches. His strengths lay mainly in when the ball was on the ground, so he would have slotted in perfectly to the game we now see.
Q: Who was the grumpiest git of all the players when we lost in that same team? (From reanswolf)
A: I don’t know who the grumpiest git was. None of us took too kindly to losing. On second thoughts, I would say Alan Sunderland was the closest to answering your question.
Q: Do you think The Doog/John Richards partnership would be as fruitful today as it was back in the day? (From Roby Wolf)
A: The game has changed a lot since the 1970s and 1980s and also the playing surfaces. Teams play a slower build-up than we used to. We were more direct in those days but some things never change – and that includes goalscorers. The Doog and John knew where the back of the net was. Strikers are protected more now. They don’t have big centre-halves kicking lumps out of them. So, to answer your question, yes, I believe they would score goals in today’s game. Plenty of them.
Q: What was it like coming back to play in front of 3,000 in the mid 1980s as the team fell through the divisions? (From Saltyjim)
A: These were the sad days of my career…….seeing the club and the ground like they were. It was tragic. But, as the Wolves motto says, OUT OF DARKNESS COMETH LIGHT. Those days are now behind us and the future looks bright, not only for the club but for the team as well.
Q: Which Wolves players from both your era and, say, the last five years would you have not wanted to be playing against and why? (From purplepault69)
A: As a full-back, I would not have liked to play against Waggy every week. We all know what he could do. I have watched the Wolves a lot in the last five years and feel I would have to be on top of my game if i played against Mr Bakary Sako. He is strong and skilful and has a tremendous left foot.
Q: Did you take to being called Zico? (From reanswolf)
A: All the players loved to hear their names chanted and, when the Wolves fans took to calling me that, it was fantastic. Yes, I loved it.
Q: Do you remember the free-kick you scored against Burnley in 1982-83 in the snow? It was the first Wolves goal I saw live (From Prem.L.L)
A: Yes, I do remember this goal. I play it on You Tube and show it to all my golf partners. We had practised this in the lead-up to the game, so it was very rewarding to see it hit the back of the net.
Q: The most over-rated player you played with? (From StefanWolves)
Q: So Geoff, sensible thoughts aside, best haircut…Kenny Hibbitt’s or George Berry’s? (From OLDGOLD)