Festive Pile-Up With A ‘Seems Like Only Yesterday’ Theme
So we think Christmas and the New Year is a busy period on the football calendar? Look back a few decades to see how much more hectic it used to be.
There was a time when Wolves would have had the chance to build on their exciting Boxing Day win over Bristol City by playing again within 24 hours.
And there is every chance the follow-up fixture today would have been against the same opponents.
Fifty-one years ago today, in their 1965-66 Second Division season, Ronnie Allen’s side drew 1-1 at home to the Robins and then travelled the following day to beat them 1-0 at Ashton Gate.
A notable feature of the festive double-header was the size of the attendances. More than 32,500 witnessed the clash at Molineux, where left-winger Paddy Buckley was Wolves’ scorer, and that more than healthy turn-out was dwarfed by the 36,193 crowd for a return fixture won by Peter Knowles’s goal.
That campaign was momentous, in hindsight, for the fact that Wolves played the same opposition on consecutive days at Christmas and then other rivals (Birmingham) on successive days at Easter – something that hasn’t happened since.
Again, the sequence was a draw followed by a victory, the sharing of the points at St Andrew’s on Monday, April 11 (Ernie Hunt and makeshift centre-forward Dave Woodfield netted) being built upon by a 2-0 success at Molineux.
Hunt and Hugh McIlmoyle were on target on the second occasion and what will surprise younger fans is the absence of rotation in Allen’s side over the two holiday periods.
The same line-up faced Bristol twice (Davies, Joe Wilson, Thomson, Woodruff, Woodfield, Holsgrove, Wharton, Hunt, McIlmoyle, Knowles, Buckley) and the only change made for the League visit of Leyton Orient three days later was in goal, where Dave Maclaren came in.
Between the home and away meetings with Blues, there was one change, with Knowles replacing Wharton in the no 7 jersey on the second occasion in a team also containing: Maclaren, Joe Wilson, Thomson, Bailey, Hawkins, Flowers, Hunt, Woodfield, McIlmoyle, Wagstaffe.
The nearest Wolves have since come to a double double-header was in their 1966-67 promotion season when they faced Derby twice in three days over Christmas and Huddersfield on consecutive days of Easter in late March.