The Saddest Of Backcloths To Match Night
We precede this column with the dreadfully sad news that Wolves have lost one of their most loyal and longest-serving members of staff, programme editor John Hendley. In the coming days, we will be writing much more about ‘Foz’ over and above the mention to him at the bottom of this regular feature. Many of us are mourning the departure of a very good friend and we can safely include past and present players in that huge number.
Wednesday, December 6: Delighted to make friends on Facebook with Ludovic Pollet, who is clearly still well in touch with Molineux matters. How pleased this immensely popular and brave central defender must have been when photographer Dave Bagnall sent him a picture showing him in action against a certain Cristiano Ronaldo in a Sporting Lisbon v Wolves friendly in the summer of 2002.
Saturday, December 9: I know I am out of step here with the commercial people but how sad it was to see a Sunderland team pitch up at Molineux today and not be kitted out in their red and white stripes. It’s the same when Wolves go away and unnecessarily change from their famous gold and black – I always think there will be a core of home support, as well as away fans, who will be disappointed. That said, Wolves’ second-choice all black strip this season looks great!
Saturday, December 16: Thanks to the Express & Star’s John Lalley for picking up my copy of Alistair Robertson’s autobiography, Thou Shalt Not Pass, at the former defender’s signing session at Molineux, which was a happy place after last night’s televised victory at Sheffield Wednesday. Unless Ally Rob has greatly changed his spots, this will be a hugely entertaining read, full of opinion and insight.
Sunday, December 17: Felt so proud watching the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards night and seeing Keith Downing on stage with one set of the country’s World Cup-winning lads. Paul Simpson was in the star-studded audience, too – another sign that Wolves have had good people on their staff over the years.
Tuesday, December 19: Always interesting to note the fortunes of former Wolves players in new surroundings, even if, in the case of Dominic Iorfa, it is to observe that he is by no means an automatic starter for Ipswich. At least he had loads of familiar faces when going on in the victory over Reading at Portman Road on Saturday. Beyond Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor in the home dug-out, he would have seen David Edwards and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson in the opposition ranks.
Saturday, December 23: Nice to be able to impress Mick Mills by telling him about the large turn-out of former Wolves players present for their Christmas get-together in Billy’s Bootroom at today’s Championship clash with Ipswich. As a radio summariser, the former England defender still travels all over the country in the slipstream of this afternoon’s visitors and enjoyed looking over the list of attending opponents from yesteryear that I wrote out for him. He also absorbed, with considerable interest, the news that his former Portman Road coach Sammy Chung is said to be moving back to the Wolverhampton area after living for more than a decade in Minehead.
Saturday, December 30: Ashton Gate has often been a fruitful hunting ground for Wolves – remember those 6-1 and 5-1 victories there in the 1990s? Rarely was the away end more happy than in tonight’s epic top-of-the-table clash against Bristol City, though. The calendar year has ended with a truly epic win for the club.
Tuesday, January 2: Feeling crushed and sensing a general numbness around the press room and box at tonight’s game at Molineux after hearing today of the passing-away of John Hendley. It seemed ironic that the first thing I did this afternoon after taking the awful call from the club was keep a pre-arranged appointment with Brentford manager Dean Smith and his no 2 Richard O’Kelly at their squad’s hotel in the area to ask them to sign a Walsall book of mine. ‘Foz’ was huge on his signed keepsakes and would have been proud!