Made In Shropshire – A Double Act Built To Last

Wolves Benefitted From Lilleshall Link

A relaxed pose at Molineux for Bill McGarry and his trusty assistant Sammy Chung.
A relaxed pose at Molineux for Bill McGarry and his trusty assistant Sammy Chung.

Some of the chemistry beneath one of the more successful managerial partnerships in Wolves’ history has come to light via a dusty and well-known old publication.

Many club programmes around 1970 contained a stapled-in supplement called the Football League Review, a copy of which contained an article written about Bill McGarry and Sammy Chung early in their lengthy Molineux tenures some four and a half decades ago.

It was in these parts that the duo actually sowed the seeds for their long-time union when the Potteries-born former Huddersfield and England wing-half saw the more junior man at work on a coaching course at Lilleshall in the early 1960s.

As Watford manager, McGarry subsequently offered Chung a three-month trial as a coach to back up the big impression he had made at Vicarage Road as a player who had featured in almost 250 competitive matches.

It was an opportunity that was fully grasped and the two were to spend more than a decade together, McGarry taking his ally to Ipswich with him when appointed there as boss in 1964.

“It’s important to have people around you who you can completely trust and who know what you are trying to do,” he said in the article. “It is only natural that when you develop a working understanding, it should continue wherever you go.

“The game has become more complicated and demands far more thought. Consequently, a manager needs to depend on someone who thinks along the same lines. I’ve found my number two.”

Chung described his gaffer as ‘dedicated, straight and a man who knew what he wanted.’ “This is important for any working relationship,” he added.

Wolves colleagues and players of later years would not be surprised to learn that the feature also mentions how they played squash together at least once a week and were also golf partners.

There was even a name check for the border terrier Lucky – amusingly referred to by Bobby Gould in his autobiography – which McGarry used to leave asleep in his Molineux office while taking training.

McGarry and Chung in the aftermath of Ipswich's Second Division 1967-68 title success.
McGarry and Chung in the aftermath of Ipswich’s Second Division 1967-68 title success.

Chung, now 82, succeeded his gaffer as manager in the close season of 1976 and remained in charge until succeeded by John Barnwell in 1978-79.

In a throwback to his days in East Anglia, he went to work in the 1980s as no 2 at Stoke for his former Ipswich colleague Mick Mills.

McGarry died in South Africa in March, 2005, aged 77.