Dear Diary Entry 82
Big Turn-Out For Much-Loved Forward
Thursday, July 5: Caught up on some details about the turn-out at the funeral of Ernie Hunt at Gloucester Crematorium yesterday. Chris Cattlin, a Coventry team-mate of his, gave what by all accounts was an excellent and amusing eulogy – enjoyed by former Swindon team-mates Mike Summerbee, Rod Thomas and Don Rogers and three ex-Wolves men, Willie Carr, Terry Wharton and Bobby Woodruff. Carr, famously, was Ernie’s co-conspirator in that historic televised goal against Everton in 1970. Phil Parkes is among those going to the Coventry v Scunthorpe seasonal opener in a month, at which the life of this lovable character will be further celebrated.
Saturday, July 7: A true Molineux favourite received a surprise name check from Swedish national manager Janne Andersson before the World Cup game against England in Samara today. When quizzed about what he knew about football in this country, the coach said his memories of our game dated back to the 1970s and included ‘long shots by Kenny Hibbitt for Wolves on muddy pitches’.
Saturday, July 14: No disrespect to all the local guys who we love to see out and about at frequent intervals but how wonderful it was to see Gary Pierce and Mick Matthews at the signing session for the new Hibby book in Molineux’s WV1 bar this afternoon. Gary underwent major surgery more than a year ago and is still living in Bury while Mick has remained true to his Humberside roots.
Saturday, July 21: Accepted an invitation to go along to a garden party thrown by members of Telford Wolves in a sleepy corner of Shropshire this afternoon. Who should also be there – by arrangement, of course – but the aforementioned Kenny Hibbitt, who, like supporter Michael Petalengro, was signing copies of a newly-published book. Michael’s is called Viva Nuno.
Sunday, July 22: Thoroughly enjoyed the 90-minute Bill Shankly documentary on BBC2 and picked up on a name check for mid-1960s caretaker Wolves manager Andy Beattie. In an old recorded interview, he was credited by the Anfield legend with tipping him off about a little-known Kevin Keegan at Scunthorpe.
Monday, July 23: John Galley kept the promise he made in a text a few days ago and rang me this evening on his return from holiday in Greece. John has been targeted by the author of a forthcoming Bristol City book, Neil Palmer, to be profiled in one of the chapters talking about his most memorable game while at Ashton Gate.
Tuesday, July 31: Arrived home to an answer-phone message from John Richards, informing us that Wolves-supporting comic Ian Sludge Lees had passed away at the age of 74. A lot of 1970s Molineux favourites in particular, will be saddened by this news, as will any number of people who enjoyed his hilarious act over the years. ‘Sludge’ loved taking part in the celebrity games that often preceded testimonial matches four decades or so ago and was by no means a bad player.
Saturday, August 4: Put in a lengthy Molineux shift today by taking in not only the friendly victory against Villareal but also Claire Elliott’s 50th birthday celebrations at the stadium tonight. Claire is a powerful social media voice around the club, admiration for her efforts having risen in the last couple of years due to her having had to contend with considerable health problems. A word, too, for Gwilym Machin, who has been down in his native Shropshire from Glasgow for the weekend – and at the match, of course – to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first Molineux visit. That was also for a pre-season friendly, against St Mirren.