Boycott And Knowles: A Common Bond
Shared Roots Of Duo Whose Careers Went In Different Directions
We hoped to hear mention of a Wolves favourite at the Geoff Boycott evening we attended in Stafford a few days ago – but were instead surprised to hear another former Molineux man given a name check.
The legendary former England batsman was appearing at Stafford’s Gatehouse Theatre and we were delighted to be accompanied on our visit to see him by Yorkshire cricket lover Richard Skirrow, recently retired following 20 years’ excellent service as Wolves secretary.
Boycott is from Fitzwilliam, the same mining village in the West Riding in which Peter Knowles was born, and we were aware from past research that the two had played cricket against each other.
Indeed, the run machine once turned up to see the inside-forward, whose older brother Cyril he also knew, play for Wolves in a game at Chelsea.
During the interval last week, we wrote down a question aimed at asking Boycott how well acquainted they were – considering both men came from mining families and Knowles had even had a medical at the pit at the time he was taken on at Molineux.
Alas it wasn’t read out but the forthright commentator and keen Manchester United supporter did diversify into talking briefly about Alan Hinton, the Wednesbury-born left-winger who served Stan Cullis’ Wanderers for several years before going on to Nottingham Forest, Derby and elsewhere.
Boycott was close enough to Brian Clough to be asked to speak at his funeral more than a decade ago and revealed how he used to go to matches to see the controversial manager, including one at the Baseball Ground in which he remembered Hinton in his trademark white boots.
“I made the point later that I thought he had looked a bit timid when tackling,” he told the audience. “But Brian put me right by saying he didn’t pay him to tackle but to run with the ball and put it on the head of his strikers.”
Phil Parkes, a contemporary of Knowles’ at Molineux and also a very keen club cricketer with Fordhouses near where his former team-mate lives, has shed some light for us on the potential cross-over between the men from different sports.
“I don’t recall seeing Geoff at any of our games but am aware that he and Peter were from the same village and knew each other,” he said today.
“Peter was a decent cricketer and could bat and bowl pretty well. We used to have a little game in the dressing room before matches in Ronnie Allen’s time but I played alongside him for a Wolves team in proper 11-a-side matches as well more than once.
“He was one of those guys who had a talent for whatever sport he seemed to turn his hand to.”