Goodbye To A Cup Run
Wolves Move Ended Prospect Of Cup Run
Wembley hero Peter McParland sacrificed a possible return trip to the twin towers when he signed up in 1962 for a Wolves side who were already out of the FA Cup.
The Ulsterman had achieved fame in the competition thanks to the controversial brace that won the 1957 final for Villa against Saturday’s Molineux visitors, Manchester United.
Nearly five years on, he and Villa were again making good strides through the early rounds when he opted to jump ship and join near-neighbours whose immediate outlook was less glamorous.
Wolves had been knocked out at home to Albion in a fourth-round tie that was marked by debuts for Fred Davies, Bobby Thomson and Freddie Goodwin and were facing only a battle for top-flight survival as Villa marched on to the last eight.
“I don’t think the Cup came into my thoughts when I was transferred,” McParland said today. “I scored what I recall as the winner when Villa beat Crystal Palace 4-3 at home in the third round but Joe Mercer had been making statements about getting rid of some of the players who were there before he arrived.
“I decided I was among that group, although his assistant Dick Taylor had a quiet word to tell me I would be part of his plans if Joe was to leave and he took over, which is what eventually happened.
“Villa went on to reach the quarter-final and might have thought they were heading back to Wembley but I was well into my Wolves career by then. It was always important to be where you were wanted.”
Thank goodness McParland did make the move across the West Midlands – he scored seven times in 15 League games in what was left of that 1961-62 season and did much to ensure Stan Cullis’s side finished 18th, four points above the relegation line.
He was an immediate hit with one of the three goals that defeated Tottenham in his first Wolves game and was to net in each of his first three Wanderers appearances.
But he added: “I never seemed to be on the winning side against Spurs when I was with Villa, so I suppose there was some concern around my debut.
“I had done ok on an individual level against them – it was just the team’s results that weren’t there. My best day in a match with Spurs was when Alf Ramsey was playing right-back for them and I was denied a hat-trick for Villa at White Hart Lane. I had scored two in a 3-3 draw and had another one ruled out for offside when I thought it should have stood.”
As it transpired, McParland, who turns 85 next month, never played for Wolves in the Cup before moving on to Plymouth after ten goals in only 21 matches. Nor did he ever face Manchester United in the famous gold and black.