Many Happy Returns
Winning Trip Back For Popular Centre-Half
Derek Mountfield is delighted to have toasted three well-won points on the latest of his occasional visits back to Molineux.
Twenty-five years on from his free-transfer departure from the club, the former League Championship, FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup winner was on corporate duty in the Stan Cullis and Billy Wright Stands at Wolves’ victory over Cardiff.
“The stand behind the goal was being built around the time I arrived here on loan from Villa late in 1991,” he said.
“We actually had a pre-season friendly against Villa to mark the opening of it the following summer – now it has been rebuilt again. Well, we have to remember that it is a long time since I played here.
“I returned to see a Premier League game against Everton when Dave Jones was manager and also popped back a few years ago, although I can’t remember who that was against.
“I like to see my old clubs doing well and Wolves are having a wonderful time considering this is their first season back up.”
Mountfield, now 56, used to travel in for training with Mark Burke as he remained in the house in Sutton Coldfield that he had had while with Graham Taylor’s Villa.
He was keen to remind himself yesterday where the Wombourne Hockey Club facility was on the Wobaston Road but also recalled a couple of Christmas Day sessions taking place on the North Bank car park when the usual venues were unavailable.
“I used to absolutely love having Billy Wright around the place,” he added. “He was such a lovely man and such a pleasure to chat to, although he found it very hard to be critical and always saw the best in people.
“It would have been great to play in the Premier League for Wolves. I hoped it would happen but we always seemed to be two or three players short.”
Derek bumped into Steve Bull yesterday and also chatted after the game to his fellow Liverpudlian Colin Taylor, who he met at an old boys game at Bridgnorth several years ago.
He had to be content with receiving a best-wishes greeting from Andy Thompson in the press box, though, and was also surprised to learn that Kevin Ratcliffe, his skipper and central defensive partner during the mid-1980s glory years at Everton, was also with us on radio summarising duty at the clash between last season’s Championship top two.
Following his release here by Graham Taylor in 1994 after 91 Wolves appearances, Mountfield headed north to Carlisle, then, after a loan stint with Northampton, had a 117-game stay with Walsall that included coaching responsibilities.
His last day as a League player was a sad one because the last-gasp
goal from keeper Jimmy Glass that famously kept Carlisle up in 1999 was also the one that sent Scarborough, where Mountfield was a player-coach, back into non-League.
Now only an occasional visitor to Goodison but very much hoping for a home win in the Merseyside derby today, he has worked for years in sport and education and remains a part-time PE teacher at a special-needs primary school.
He was accompanied yesterday by fellow Evertonian Peter Bowden, a member at the same golf club on The Wirral and a man who played more than 20 games for Doncaster as a full-back in the late 1970s.