A Lovely Piece Of China

Trophy Win Justifies Tiring Travels

Ken Knighton at leisure on Wolves’ long tour of America and Canada in the summer of 1963.

It’s not only in points on the board that Wolves’ massive progress has been measured in the last couple of years.

Another sure sign of their advancement is the growing carbon footprint they are planting in the earth’s soil as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of man first making his mark on the moon.

Pre-season trips routinely used to be to Scandinavia or, in more recent times, to Austria, Ireland and Portugal.

Now, a summer Saturday lunchtime means catching up on the team’s fortunes against Manchester City in the Asia Trophy in China – and seeing them lift a trophy!

Only once have Wolves ever made a longer trip than this in the build-up to a season – that was in 2009 when Mick McCarthy took his side of newly-crowned Championship winners to Australia for a couple of games in Perth.

Throughout the rest of the club’s history, jaunts beyond Europe’s extremities have always been at the end of a campaign rather than in the lead-up to one, with the exception of a winter getaway to Kuwait during the Graham Hawkins era.

We can quickly think back to three long trips across the Atlantic in the 1960s, one to the West Indies with Chelsea around the same time and, a decade earlier, a couple to South Africa.

None of those lengthy tours involved matches in July, though, nor did the marathon trek to America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia early in the summer of 1972.

That was the expedition to end all football expeditions and, by coincidence, it came in the year in which Wolves played in a European final for the only time.

As we now turn our attentions to the visit of Crusaders to Molineux on Thursday, we wonder where else Nuno’s squad will be destined in the coming months.

Wolves’ squad during the long haul around South Africa and Rhodesia in 1957.

Hopefully, there will be considerable success in the Europa League and more reason for that brilliantly illustrated 2015 hard-back, Wolves All Over The World, to need updating.

Thomas Publications