A Saturday Out With Mel And Mike – The Motorway Miles Just Sped By
Saturday, September 1: Enjoyed the company of Mel Eves and BBC WM reporter Mike Taylor on the M1 and M11 as we took in Wolves’ first visit to West Ham’s spectacular and still newish home. A lovely, convivial day was brightened further by Adama Traore’s last-gasp winner – savoured also by Andy Thompson a few rows in front of us in the press box. Among the former Hammers players in the stadium nearby was Steve Bull’s Italia 90 team-mate, Paul Parker.
Tuesday, September 5: Spoke to Alun Evans by phone and learned that he was still going over and above the call of family duty. We reported some months ago how the locally-born forward had moved back from Melbourne to Kidderminster to care for his 94-year-old mother. This is a life-changing development – interrupted only when his daughter got married in February and he returned Down Under for three weeks – and he regrets that his responsibilities meant he wasn’t even able to attend the Former Players Association dinner to which he was invited in April.
Thursday, September 6: Sad to hear via Grant Munro that his mother Margaret, widow of Frank Munro, had died in Scotland following several years’ illness. We sent several emails to let various of Frank’s former team-mates know this upsetting news – she was remembered by all as a lovely lady. Phil Parkes quickly asked to be informed of the funeral arrangements as he remains in touch with Danny Hegan’s former wife, who lives in the north-east and was a particularly close friend.
Monday, September 10: Another chance to see Molineux in its ‘off duty’ state…..tonight was Fans Parliament night and I always take a few minutes after packing up my belongings in the International Lounge to wander through to the Hayward Suite and take a look at the illuminated pitch in its rather eerie silence.
Saturday, September 15: Bumped into Jody Craddock in Costa Coffee in Kidderminster on our way for a few days’ break in Devon. Glad to hear that he had just dropped some lads off for football training and was overseeing a game the next day when he (and I) would otherwise have been at the Wolves v Burnley game. The Craddock family previously lived in Claverley but have moved closer to Kidder in the fairly recent past.
Wednesday, September 19: Another welcome feature of the outward journey down the M5 four days ago was a phone call from Bobby Gould – and a subsequent invitation to drop by to see he and his wife Marge on the way home tonight. We duly did so and had the bonus of meeting the former Bristol City centre-half Gordon Parr, who had just dropped in on them out of the blue with his wife. It had been some years since we visited the Goulds’ Portishead residence and it was lovely to be back – and to be told Ken Knighton still lives half a mile or so up the road.
Saturday, September 22: Hopefully this revelation won’t get me banned from Old Trafford in future but I loved watching Wolves’ outstanding draw with Manchester United from a seat provided by an old friend in the corner of the Stretford End this afternoon. What a good performance! Wolves fans were saying outside the ground beforehand what a pleasure it was to be at the game and setting targets that were about much more than just damage limitation. Sure enough, Nuno’s men took the contest to United, could have been two up in no time and were every bit as likely to find a winner in the closing stages. A memorable day out was had by all.
Tuesday, September 25: Found myself feeling sorry for Mike Stowell at having come back to Molineux for tonight’s Carabao Cup clash with his club, Leicester, and barely spotted a familiar face. Mike was realistic enough to recognise that more than a decade and a half have elapsed since he left here but it seemed sad he couldn’t have renewed one or two friendships. Graham Hughes is one he missed seeing by seconds, by an unhappy quirk of fate, so hopefully a Saturday afternoon Premier League game in January will be the time to say some proper hellos.