Eves Hands Over The Baton
Four Decades On…..A New Name On Our Lips
One by one, the claims to fame are falling. It was in April that Mel Eves lost his tag of being the last man to hit a Molineux winner for Wolves against Arsenal.
Last night, he was gently chided for no longer being the last man to score a goal for the club in major European competition.
He took it in good part, of course, before countering: “I did hold on to that one for 39 years after we beat Eindhoven here. I am guessing that Ruben Vinagre will probably have one week to say he scored the last goal for Wolves in Europe!
“And I do still hold one record…..and that will remain until Wolves next win at Manchester United.”
For those who have forgotten, Eves was the marksman when Wolves last brought down the Old Trafford giants on their own turf – a feat that is bound to do the rounds again when Nuno and his men head back there on February 1.
Among other records, milestones or accomplishments he established – apart from the obvious honour of playing in a wining League Cup final side at Wembley and in a losing FA Cup semi-final – are scoring in home wins over Chelsea, United twice, Leeds twice and Liverpool.
The scrambled second-leg winner against PSV on October 1, 1980, ensured Eves was in demand for the visit of the lesser-known Crusaders.
He was interviewed live at the side of the pitch for Central News before kick-off and was back on the playing area at half-time to be interviewed on mic along with Willie Carr, another man who played in the victory over the Dutch that went close to making up the 3-1 first-leg deficit.
In between, the 62-year-old was working in his familiar role as summariser on BBC WM’s live commentary and must have marvelled at some of the statistics in the match programme.
While Kenny Hibbitt (16 European games), Derek Parkin (14) and John Richards (13) were the closest challengers to the massively travelled Emlyn Hughes before that Molineux clash, compare that level of experience with the present squad.
Last night’s excellent match-day magazine had Rui Patricio down as having previously played 59 Europa League matches and 34 in the Champions League while the corresponding totals for Diogo Jota were 0 and 8, for Willy Boly 12 and 1, for Ruben Neves 2 and 18, for Jonny Otto 12 and 0, for Leander Dendoncker 22 and 12 and for Raul Jimenez 0 and 22.
All those statistics are dwarfed, though, by Joao Moutinho. We were informed that the genial midfielder had already played 47times in the Europa League and on no fewer than 71 occasions in the Champions League. Truly amazing!