Time To Test Your Cullis Knowledge

Managerial Master Is Now A Mastermind Subject

David Love in the famous chair.

I’ve started, so I will finish…….the story, that is, of the lifelong Wolves fan who succeeded in being given permission to have questions about Stan Cullis as his specialist subject on Mastermind.

First things first. David Love is no stranger to the long-running BBC programme which had Magnus Magnusson as its host for the first 25 years.

He has appeared on no fewer than three previous series and viewers saw him advance to the semi-final of the current one by winning a heat shown in late September.

“I’m a little show-off, really,” he admitted. “I’m a serial contestant.

“I also made it on to the show in 1995, 1997 and 2011, when I won a trip to America for finishing third, and have had a number of different things as my specialist subject.

“I asked this time if I could have British birds but was told that there had been too many shows recently where that or similar subjects had been chosen.

“I scratched my head for a few days and realised something was staring me in the face. I’d never done anything approaching a populist subject on Mastermind before and suggested Stan Cullis.

“I was pleased and a little surprised when they had no hesitation in saying yes to the idea. I thought my choice might be popular with a few people.”

David had previously thought that the only Stan Cullis side he saw in the flesh was the Birmingham team who won at Molineux on the first day of the 1966-67 Second Division season – an afternoon so hot that he recalls some players ‘virtually passing out in the heat.’

On further reflection, he discovered he did see a Cullis Wolves¬†team play. “My first Wolves game was a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United and the only player I remember was Jimmy Melia because of his bald head,” he said. “I always thought it was the relegation season but the record books tell me it was 1963-64.

“I saw nearly every home game in the 1966-67 promotion year and it interests me how few people now single out my first favourite player, Terry Wharton.”

So, after all those Wolves chats with friends in the Combermere or Lych Gates after Thursday night badminton, what was the plan as he prepared to put his reputation on the line on the BBC show now hosted by John Humphrys?

David Love, who lives in Wombourne and works in finance in Birmingham, first came to our attention when he asked where he could purchase a copy of Steve Gordos’ 2016 book on the manager, Club And Country.

As his bedtime reading at the time, he had Wolves All Over The World, so he was clearly covering all the ground he possibly could by way of preparation for the show.

“You can’t really ‘revise’ for the general knowledge round as the area from which the questions might come is so vast,” he added. “But you don’t want to let yourself down on your specialist subject.

“I knew there was the potential for it to be a game of two halves but I was determined to do well in my chosen area at least, whatever happened in the second half or to the other contestants.”

Stan Cullis in colour in the Caribbean in 1964.

Everyone who appears on the show is obliged to not reveal the outcome and we are awaiting the signal as to which Friday night this particular recording is screened on BBC2 – possibly in December but more likely in January.

“At least my wife can get some better sleep now,” David says. “I’ve apologised to her for keeping her awake into the early hours while thumbing through these books.

“With the collection of photos of Wolves on tour around the world, I found it fascinating to see pictures from before, say, 1964 in colour and to see that Stan Cullis had pinkish flesh rather than grey! That was a revelation.”