Swiss Role A Good Omen
A Link To The Boys Of 66
Last time Wolves went to Switzerland on a pre-season tour, England had just lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy……well, we had to launch our three or four weeks of World Cup-themed stories on an upbeat note!
These are exciting days all round. The publication of the Premier League fixtures has whetted Molineux appetites for the journey ahead and, against Tunisia in Volvograd tomorrow, Gareth Southgate’s side take their first steps in the finals of Russia 2018.
By way of linking the two events, we have decided to look back 52 years to when Ronnie Allen’s Wolves warmed up in Switzerland – as Nuno’s men will be in a few weeks.
And the players who were around at the start of what would prove to be a promotion-winning Second Division season recall mingling with national heroes on a short trip that took in games against Zurich and Servette.
West Ham had also opted to take in a bit of mountain air by way of preparation and were based in the same Lausanne hotel as the one in which Wolves were accommodated.
And any thoughts that the Hammers’ three World Cup winners – captain Bobby Moore, hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst and fellow final scorer Martin Peters – would be given time off for outstanding behaviour less than a fortnight after the historic 4-2 win over West Germany were soon scotched.
They played in all three of the Londoners’ games on the tour and several Wolves players were in the crowd to watch the one against Lausanne.
The much-celebrated Upton Park trio were no doubt pleased to have a quick reunion with Molineux’s own World Cup representative, Ron Flowers.
He didn’t figure in any of the matches in the tournament but had the unusual distinction of also having toured Switzerland with his club in 1958 and 1959, both of them in the weeks after Wolves had won the League Championship.
Playing fortunes in the Alpine country in 1966 were not as rosy.
Wolves were beaten 3-1 by a Zurich side who had won their domestic league and cup double a few months earlier and then drew against Servette in a fixture switched to Lausanne from Geneva.
This is one of the countless tours detailed at some length and via dozens of exclusive photographs in David Instone’s 2015 hardback book, Wolves All Over The World.