Shades Of 71-72 As The Trail Continues
We’re 48 years on, there have been around 25 changes of manager in that time, yet some things are still the same……
Wolves have the happy knack of going goal-crazy when they are in Europe.
Under Bill McGarry in 1971-72, there was a refreshing, mould-breaking adventure about the club’s insistence on attacking in their away legs when the general fashion was for visiting teams to display extreme caution.
But even the wonderful scoring output achieved then by Dougan, Richards and co is being overshadowed at present by the thrilling 2019 vintage.
After tonight’s impressive 3-2 win away to Torino, Wolves’ first five games in this inaugural Europa League campaign have brought them no fewer than 17 goals, at the rate of well over three per match.
And we thought the 15 rattled in over the first five fixtures of the UEFA Cup run almost 50 seasons ago was something to write home about!
There are close comparisons between the two journeys, with yesteryear results of 3-0, 4-1, 3-1, 4-0 and 1-0 against opposition from Portugal, Holland and East Germany being slightly bettered now by wins of 2-0, 4-1, 4-0, 4-0 and 3-2 against sides from Northern Ireland, Armenia and now Italy.
There has even been an own-goal input into the current effort, although nothing like as markedly as when Den Haag players contributed three of the four goals by which Wolves won their second-round second leg at the traditional ‘old’ Molineux.
Here is where the two upward curves on the graph are about to take different paths, though.
Whereas McGarry’s men knew it would be two-leg knockout fare for as long as they made progress, their present-day counterparts will qualify for the group stages if they successfully complete the job at Molineux next Thursday.
Not only have Nuno’s side got off to a flier, they have done it at a very early juncture of the season.
The club will have played six matches in the competition well before the end of August – in every previous season in which they have competed in a major European tournament, they didn’t make their entrance in it until mid-September.
It is outstanding form and a convincing answer so far to those who were doubting how a small squad would cope with the Thursday-Sunday treadmill.
A memorable night lies ahead in six days’ time, then, hopefully, comes one of the most exciting European draws Wolves will ever have known, with several forthcoming opponents being discovered at the same time.
Fingers crossed the club are given more tickets for away games if they do make it to the group phase!