Time To Step Up
New FPA Role Will Fill A Gap For JR
John Richards is planning to use a scaling-down in his working hours to help his long-time team-mates – and visit more of the spectacular venues like the one at which Wolves won on Saturday.
The much-loved striker has been elected as vice-chairman of the Wolves Former Players Association and is looking forward to immersing himself in his first official role with the 30-year-old organisation.
But sporting occasions will increasingly be on the agenda, too, with he and his family having followed up their 2012 visit to the Olympic Stadium by taking in some of the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in the spring.
“I have always felt I didn’t have time to play a fuller part in the past because of work pressures but have now cut down to a couple of days a week, although I might do more in the weeks where close colleagues are off,” Richards said today.
“There has been a bit of a revamp at the FPA and I’m very keen to do my bit. I have seen others serve it well and this is a way of linking up again with so many team-mates who became close friends.
“Wolves are such a special club and it is no coincidence that so many of us who spent many years sharing a dressing room stayed in the local area after finishing our careers and we continue to meet regularly.
“We are all well aware of the role of Wolves and indeed football in the community, and that is why one major feature of the WFPA moving forward will be to ensure that we do everything we can to support local charities and good causes wherever possible.”
Richard Green, one of the newer driving forces in the organisation in his role as events and administration manager, has overseen the changes to the line-up, although Ron Flowers remains as president, Mike Bailey as chairman and Peter Creed and Bill Slater as life vice-presidents.
Richards is now on a committee also comprising Steve Daley – officially given the task of player liaison – John McAlle, Phil Parkes, Geoff Palmer and Matt Murray.
“We will be meeting on an ad hoc basis before the various main events we have through the year – the golf day, the annual dinner and the players’ Christmas get-together,” added the Wolves Heroes co-owner.
“The golf day is coming up at Oxley Park on Friday, September 28, so we have a meeting planned to discuss the staging of that. It’s important we run things as well and efficiently as we can.”
Former Wolves press officer Paul Berry has also joined the committee as communications officer following the sad loss of John Hendley at the start of the year and Michelle Westwood, who has helped with the accounts for many years, has officially been brought on board as finance/secretary.
Green says: “The Wolves Former Players Association is now 30 years old and we are keen to ensure it continues to evolve and improve to serve our members and also the local community.
“My former colleague from the Express and Star, Peter Creed, was instrumental in its formation at a particularly difficult time in the club’s history and we must strive to ensure that we build on the excellent work he, Billy Wright, Bert Williams and the greats from the 1950s carried out.
“The WFPA had tremendous support over the ensuing years, particularly from Sir Jack Hayward and Steve Morgan, and today we are grateful as that support continues from Jeff Shi, Laurie Dalrymple and the Fosun Group.
“It is vital this organisation continues to develop and is available to everyone who has pulled on that famous gold shirt and also that we strengthen and develop our links with the current Wolves, as they head into another exciting part of the club’s history.”
Richards is currently assisting as go-between in the setting-up of a Wolves FPA website for the first time.
He and wife Pam visited Lord’s cricket ground in March and recently hosted Elaine and Billy Rafferty while the striker was down in the Midlands for the tribute to his former Sky Blues team-mate, Ernie Hunt, at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena home.