True Red Longing For Big Finish
Tempting Final Course For Cook
He has twice travelled abroad to watch Liverpool become kings of Europe and even organised coaches to their away games in this country. So we will forgive Paul Cook praying for a home victory at Anfield tomorrow.
I have frequently said that the possessor of arguably the finest left foot Molineux has witnessed in the last 30 years was the most passionate talker of the hundreds of players I have ever interviewed.
And the fire that still burns the brightest, other than the one that fuels his excellent managerial career to date, is his on-going love affair with the club who he followed ‘with the rest of the street’ to Wembley for their FA Cup conquest of Newcastle as far back as 1974.
The depth of the affection was illustrated as recently as last season when Cook went to the away leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against Roma and was quoted on a podcast soon afterwards as saying he hoped to go to the final in Kiev as well.
We can only guess where his travels are taking him now that Wigan’s survival fight in their first season back in the Championship has ended successfully – and speculate on his chances of getting a ticket for the big showdown against Tottenham in Madrid.
Our attempts to reach him by phone today have not yet had the desired effect but we will be astounded if he is not at Anfield this weekend as Wolves find themselves as the side show on the final afternoon of a historic Premier League season.
The 52-year-old was in Rome when Bob Paisley’s Liverpool lifted the European Cup in 1984 and flew to Istanbul for their memorable Champions League final in 2005 when they won the famous silverware for the fifth time.
We look forward to hearing more in the coming weeks from the man who has won three Football League titles in the past six years and hope we are contacted by any Wolves fans who may spot him at the big match tomorrow.
These are certainly happy football days for him. Having masterminded Wigan’s journey to the League One title just over 12 months ago, he negotiated a nervous spring to steer them into a final 18th placing at the higher level, 12 points above the relegation line.
Before moving to manage the club with whom he made his Football League debut in the mid-1980s, Cook won the League Two title with both Chesterfield and Portsmouth.
With Wigan last season, he oversaw three giant-killings against Premier League sides in the FA Cup, including Manchester City. He also improbably took Sligo Rovers into the UEFA Cup during his time in Irish football.
He stands alongside Mel Eves, who will also be present tomorrow, in joint 70th place in the all-time Wolves appearance-makers list that we illustrate through our Legends area.
*Since the Second World War, no team have provided the last-day opposition for Wolves more often than Liverpool. The clubs have now faced each other five times as the season’s League finale, with Tottenham second in the list after four meetings at this point.