Painful Memories Of Chelsea
Bridge Too Far For Turner
Quite a few highly significant things happened to Wolves a quarter of a century ago.
Graham Turner’s reign of seven and a half years came to an end, Graham Taylor was appointed as his replacement and, 25 years ago in this second weekend of March, the club visited Chelsea in the quarter-final of the FA Cup.
That is an unusual sequence of events, especially when you consider how safe Nuno Espirito Santo’s position is in the countdown to tomorrow’s trip to Stamford Bridge, with or without a victory against Manchester United next weekend.
Most managers would be secure for a while if they reach the last eight of the Cup. Not so Turner, whose tenure had been under scrutiny for months and months and who was on the brink thanks to events at the tail end of the winter of 1993-94.
Wolves, again falling short of mounting a meaningful challenge for promotion to the top flight, were ushered to the exit door away to their Premier League opponents by the only goal of the tie shortly before the hour mark.
The underdogs were well in it, in terms of forcing a reply at least, until John Spencer steered in the winner at the end of a move started by Glenn Hoddle.
In much more recent years, Turner has bemoaned the fact that Chelsea lost their supposed star man, Gavin Peacock, early on and responded with the introduction of their player-manager – a man he felt ran the tie from then on.
Wolves, saved more than once by the excellence of Mike Stowell, had their fleeting moments in front of a near-30,000 crowd that included Alex Ferguson, but their fourth defeat in less than four weeks confirmed that their marked mid-season improvement had petered out.
They lost again just over 48 hours later when beaten 3-0 at Portsmouth in the League and the parting of the ways with Turner came the following day.
Going into tomorrow’s televised Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, Wolves have lost on six successive trips to the venue, five of them without scoring.