Curran Dealt Brilliantly In Hard Currency Of Goals
As the eyes of the Championship remain firmly on Wolves and who they might add to their pace-setting squad in the January window, we reflect on the dynamic impact of a mid-season arrival almost half a century ago.
This one didn’t come from Iberia or anywhere else abroad but from these very islands – and the payback was considerable.
Hugh Curran had quite a reputation by the time he signed at Molineux in January, 1969 for the considerable sum of £60,000.
What followed over the next three years or so merely underpinned the admiration for him in the game, although he was eventually marginalised by the feared Richards-Dougan partnership.
“I was leading scorer with every club I ever played for,” the Carstairs-born frontman recalled in an interview with the Scottish-based Sunday Mail.
“I helped Millwall up a couple of divisions, got into Norwich City’s Hall of Fame and then did really well with Wolves – I think I scored 43 over two seasons from 1969 to 1971.
“I remember my (Molineux) contract said I would get £1 per thousand for every thousand over 12,000 in the crowd, and my second game was at home to Manchester United, when there were 40-odd thousand there!
“Those were the days when you actually got a proper wage packet and I’m telling you mine was bursting that week!”
Curran scored Wolves’ goal in that 2-2 draw in front of 44,243 spectators and netted one at Tottenham to win another point the following weekend.
“I’d actually signed for Manchester United when I was 16, but the timing was bad,” he added. “I was told I’d need to wait a year before I got a chance, so I ended up playing in the reserves with guys like Georgie Best, Johnny Giles and Nobby Stiles but it never worked out. I ended up going back to Dublin, where my folks were, and playing with Home Farm and Shamrock Rovers before a very brief spell with George Young at Third Lanark.”
Curran top-scored for Wolves in 1969-70 with 23, including the famous headed winner at home to Saturday’s Molineux visitors Sunderland in the first British game ever televised in Scandinavia.
He managed another 20 the following season and, although only fleetingly used in the campaign in which Wolves blazed a thrilling journey to the UEFA Cup final, had done enough to attract international recognition.
“It was a great era for Scottish players,” he said. “I got five caps but the competition was ferocious.
“There were so many of us playing in England at the time for the top clubs – they needed the Scots in their game back then.”