Crowe Excelled – Then Flew The Nest
Nothing pleases us more than to dwell on great deeds performed by players in the famous gold and black but we are occasionally prompted to hark back to what the same individuals accomplished in different colours.
And one such case that came to our attention concerned Chris Crowe, the late forward who served at Molineux in the latter years under Stan Cullis.
It’s fair to say the Geordie was something of an oddity in as much as he was a Scotland schoolboy international and then, briefly, a full cap for England.
His talent was clearly spotted on both sides of the border and he also proceeded to display it in his prime in both the West Midlands and East Midlands.
Our gaze was averted to his unusual contribution to Nottingham Forest’s 1966-67 League title challenge – unusual because the three goals he scored that season all came in an October home victory over Manchester United, the side who eventually beat Johnny Carey’s team to the championship crown by relegating them to second place.
The seeds for Crowe’s epic afternoon were sown as early as the opening 30 seconds when he headed the game’s opening goal.
He added two more later on, including a penalty, for a side also including fellow scorer Frank Wignall and John Barnwell. Another man who was on the Molineux payroll before or after, Alan Hinton, was in the squad as well.
Crowe had shown himself to be a prolific marksman with Wolves in an 85-match stay containing 24 goals but he failed to find the target in any of the other Forest games he played 50 seasons ago.
And his all-or-nothing campaign led to him being transferred to Bristol City in the January, his stint across the region bringing him 12 goals in 73 matches in all.
Forest had an awesome home record in this season in question, winning 16 and drawing four of their 21 League games at the City Ground, where their only defeat came against Stoke.
They also reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, helped on their way when Hinton went on as an early substitute for Joe Baker in an epic 3-2 quarter-final home victory over Everton.
Wignall, Barnwell and Wayne Hennessey’s relative, Terry, a Forest and Wales captain, played in the defeat against eventual Cup winners Tottenham at the last-four stage at Hillsborough.
While Forest were finishing as double runners-up, Ronnie Allen’s Wolves were coming in behind champions Coventry in the Second Division.
The title Manchester United lifted in 1967 was their last in 26 long years.