Meeting In High Places
Delighted Fred Reflects On Rivals’ Progress
A Wolves victory over Bournemouth – even for those who remember the glorious 1950s, a huge FA Cup upset and a broken goal-post – has been something of a novelty over the decades.
But Saturday’s top-flight meeting of the two sides was enough to have Fred Davies pinching himself in more ways than one.
Despite the long, fallow years Wolves spent looking enviously in on the Premier League from the outside, the Liverpudlian well remembers Molineux with a big-time past. So it isn’t his first club’s presence at the top table that has him surprised now.
It is the sight of Bournemouth keeping such exalted company – and adapting very well to it – that might occasionally cause him to blink and hark back to his own playing days.
“I went down to the south coast to play in 1970 for John Bond and also had a spell on the coaching staff there,” Davies said.
“I don’t think Bondy would have believed how well Bournemouth would go on to do, not only in reaching the Premier League but in establishing themselves in it and spending a few years now in the middle of the table.
“The chairman we knew would be the same. It was a different club then…..not one you associated with the top levels of the game.”
Davies was at Molineux at the weekend to chat to corporate guests and check on the pleasing mid-term progress of two of his former clubs.
He still lives near Telford, so he is well up to date with events at the football home at which he learned his goalkeeping trade and played 173 League and cup games.
But his links with Bournemouth, where he will remember Dean Court as a tree-fringed, somewhat quaint lower-division venue, are naturally more tenuous these days.
The 79-year-old played almost 150 games while spending approaching four years on the holiday coast and was part of the side who finished Fourth Division runners-up in 1970-71 under Bond, who he describes as one of two major influences on his career, the other being Bert Williams.
Bond died in 2012 but made such an impression on Davies that the two also worked together at Norwich, Swansea, Birmingham and Shrewsbury.
It was to Cardiff that Davies initially went when he left Molineux in January, 1968. His move to Bournemouth came around the time of the Mexico World Cup two and a half years later.
Until three days ago, Wolves had not beaten Bournemouth since the 3-1 home win achieved by Graham Turner’s team in a Second Division game in he middle of the 1989-90 Second Division season.
And one of the scorers in that game, Keith Downing, was among Saturday’s 30,000-plus attendance.