Look East…..The Nerves Are Jangling

Veteran Defender Has Unusual Promotion Race ‘Take’

Dave Woodfield in his Wolves pomp.
Dave Woodfield in his Wolves pomp.

Dave Woodfield is enjoying a close-up view of the promotion fervour sweeping across East Anglia – while also closely monitoring the fortunes of two of his former clubs near the top of the Championship.

The long-time Molineux centre-half now lives near Newmarket but remains a keen, albeit distant observer of the strong challenge Wolves are putting together.

With Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich due on this patch a week on Saturday, he can expect plenty of banter in the coming days and will be hoping for the same outcome as when he appeared in 38 of the 42 League games played by Ronnie Allen’s Wanderers in a 1966-67 Second Division campaign that saw them promoted as runners-up.

“They are nearly all Norwich and Ipswich fans where I am, with a few Cambridge supporters as well,” he said tonight.

“Norwich didn’t seem to be going far with Neil Adams in charge but they have come with a real run of form in the last few weeks and are in with a chance now of going straight up.

“The Ipswich fans here dared to believe they could make the top two as well but I think they are just thinking of getting in the play-offs now.

“Mick McCarthy has done well because there isn’t much money there and he took on a difficult job after Paul Jewell left. I am still involved in under-16 coaching and there are a couple of decent lads in Ipswich’s academy from round here.

“I also go to a gym where there is a keen Ipswich fan, so I am kept well in the picture.”

In decades past, the area in which Woodfield lives was used by Wolves for overnight stops on their way to East Anglia.

The former defender made the long journey as far back as 1962-63, when Ipswich made such a poor defence of their League Championship crown that they were nearly relegated; a fate they did suffer 12 months later.

He also played in a Wolves team who registered a resounding 4-0 Division Two win at Norwich in 1965-66 and has other memories from playing in East Anglia…..

“We used to stop overnight in Bury St Edmunds on our way over there,” he added. “The hotel was in the town and I don’t know why but I recall that a church nearby used to chime every hour, even in the night, and wake us all up.

Dave Woodfield (left) looks on as John Holsgrove and Phil Parkes tidy up an Ipswich attack at Portman Road on the first day of 1968-69.

“I remember when we went to Ipswich on the first day of a season after Bill McGarry had just taken them up to the First Division. We also went over for Ray Crawford’s testimonial game and were well beaten.

“But we had success as well at both grounds. I know Wolves fans will be watching the results from these parts with close interest at the moment. And they could be over here for the play-offs.

“I don’t get to matches now but watch loads on TV and was impressed with Wolves when they won at Watford, another of my former clubs, over Christmas.”