Goodbye To The American Dream
Vic As Positive As Ever Through Setbacks
It is six years ago almost to the day that we wrote about former Wolves reserve winger Vic Povey’s imminent departure to live Stateside in Maine. Charlie Bamforth caught up with the ever-cheerful Wulfrunian in Cornwall to find out why he is still very much living in England’s south west.
“I was cycling with a doctor friend and he said he didn’t like the look of a swelling on my neck and he would get me in for a biopsy that evening. It was another cycling friend, a surgeon, who called me in soon afterwards to say he had a bit of bad news: I had throat cancer.”
The news was devastating but, as older supporters will remember, Vic Povey is nothing if not determined and chirpy to boot. This was not going to beat him.
“I had a tube coming into my rib cage area to feed me. I was on chemotherapy for three days every three weeks. Then there was radiotherapy for seven weeks. I lost my hair, my eyebrows, my moustache – and 30lbs.
“I would go on to my turbo-trainer and kick the pedals around. I am sure it was because I was so fit that I beat the cancer. It is all over and behind me – and I feel great. As you know, I am a hugely positive person.”
The illness, however, gave Vic and his American wife Jill pause for thought about their planned adventure across the Atlantic.
“When Brexit was voted in, the exchange rate for the dollar-pound just plummeted,” he added. “On the night before the vote, it had been $1.51 to the pound. Next day, it was $1.22. Suddenly our money was not going to go nearly as far in Maine.
“Add to that my age and the fact being a cancer survivor meant the medical insurance in the States was going to be enormous. So we decided to sell up our log house in Maine, a wonderful property of three stories on top of a mountain. It sold immediately to folks from Boston, Massachusetts, who wanted it as a holiday home. They have insisted that we continue to use it when they are not staying there.
“We decided to stay near Truro. I am still cycling every morning like an idiot. And I still look at that dollar rate daily!”
Vic pays attention to what Donald Trump’s latest ‘adventure’ is having on the market. He cares about his wife’s homeland.
“I do love America. I have been to all 50 states. I am really proud of the fact my wife can trace her ancestry right back to the Pilgrim Fathers. You will find the name, Doty, on the Mayflower Steps over at Plymouth.
“I have one interest that is perhaps unusual for an Englishman and one that stems back to when I was a small child on a council estate in Wolverhampton. I soak up everything I can about General Custer and the Civil War.
“There have been more than 200 books written about Custer and I have read many of them. I have also been to 80-90 per cent of the battlefield sites. In our living room, we have a painting of Lee and Grant signing the peace agreement to end the war.”
Remarkably, it was because of another currency crisis in response to another controversial President that Vic met his wife in Nottinghamshire.
“After leaving Notts County, I got a great job with Duckhams Motor Oil in Southwell. My wife’s mother, a Professor of English at Princeton, was visiting from the States and Jill came with her.
“A chap in the town who knew them asked if I would act as chaperone. They were supposed to be coming for a week but President Nixon suddenly devalued the dollar. Jill’s mother found that nobody would cash her traveller’s cheques, so their visit was extended.”
The romance began and Jill and Vic have been together ever since. “Soon after, I was offered a good contract to return to playing, with a Sydney club owned by Olympic Airways, from Greece. Jill got her degree from Sydney University. Then I joined the Polish club Polonia but I yearned to come home. However not before I had invested in some land in Brisbane that I sold 20 years later to make a nice profit!”
Vic talks ten to the dozen. He is full of energy and good spirits, refreshing to be around. No way was cancer going to put him down.