The Weightiest Of Volumes

Lifelong Fan Enjoying Healthy Sales

David Dungar shows off a true labour of love.

There are niche books and niche books – and then there’s the one written by David Dungar.

The fact that it homes in on the period from 1888 to 1939 in detailing more than 50 years in the history of both Wolves and the industrial landscape of Wolverhampton tells us we will be reading and learning plenty that’s new.

Needless to say, Dungar is a lifelong fan – his first match was the floodlit friendly against Red Banner when he was three – and he soon informs us that his birthday is on the same date as the one Stan Cullis and Frank Munro celebrated in their presumably very different ways. Equally proud is his disclosure that he was born during the club’s first title-winning season.

He clearly has a love of all things gold, black and historic. He possesses a sizeable collection of memorabilia and some of the relics of the dismantled old Molineux have been integrated into the garden of his home a few miles out of the city.

No wonder it was little hardship for him, then, to plough through any number of old newspapers, photos, cigarette cards and cartoons in illustrating a book that is neither a sensible holiday essential nor safe bedtime reading. Its 340 pages and hard-back format see to that.

Dungar stresses that this isn’t a collection of results, scorers and sundry other statistics that are contained in previous publications.

Nor is it purely a Wolves book in the strict sense as his love of social history brings out an equally nostalgic appreciation of the town’s standing as a one-time manufacturing powerhouse.

Little nuggets leap out with every turned leaf, though, and, mindful of our readership, we will content ourselves with saying simply how Wolves have always recognised their roots in the town – and then concentrate this piece much more on the football side.

In this, his first book, the author leans heavily on the surviving minute books from 1920-39 that Wolves have made accessible to him.

Among the points of high interest are the revelation that the directors paid for their own tickets at the 1921 FA Cup final, the story of how Wolves fans chased a referee off the pitch at the end of a game and the equally dubious reference to how there were two ground closures in the distant past for crowd disorder.

What about this one as well? As far back as 1893, a tobacconist called Frank Butler was receiving Wolves’ half-time and full-time scores at his shop by telegraph and telling people the good or bad news – that’s around 100 years before we had Internet cafes!

Not for nothing have Wolverhampton Wanderers been seen for more than 140 years as the heartbeat of Wolverhampton and there is due recognition here of various on-field triumphs, notably the shock 1908 FA Cup final victory over Newcastle.

Reverend Kenneth Hunt – star of the 1908 FA Cup final.

There are also many previously unseen photos of matches played early in the 20th century and the bonus to purchasers is knowing that the author is making a considerable donation to out of the proceeds.

The Dungars’ first marital home, at Oxley, once belonged to late 1930s Molineux left-winger George Ashall, and this book is the work of a man steeped in Wolves’ history.

At £25 (by Nexus Contract Services), it isn’t cheap but the fact that proceeds are going to local ex-servicemen’s charities underlines how it deserves to be viewed as a worthy adornment to our coffee tables.

Thomas Publications