Opening Up – A Lifetime Of Brilliant Memories
To the pre-publicity we gave to the book detailing Les Wilson’s life and career, we are now delighted to offer an insight into what is contained in these wonderful 430-plus pages.
No former Wolves player, during the 11 or so years of this website’s time in cyberspace, has done more than he has to engage with old team-mates.
There would have been every justification for him not to stay in close contact from faraway Vancouver but Wilson values all the good habits drummed into him at home and at Molineux and treasures the many connections he has retained from his breakthrough years in England.
Gratitude, appreciation and pride leap out at every turn in this labour of love, which was published last season and, in characteristic Wilson fashion, then given away in its hundreds rather than sold for profit.
It’s a fitting record of a life in sport brilliantly led – of how a lad born and raised for his first six years in Manchester emerged as a hugely talented sportsman in Canada; not only in football but briefly in athletics and boxing, too.
There’s Magic In Teamwork includes the memory and photo of how, as a lad, he once cycled to Vancouver Airport to obtain Ferenc Puskas’s autograph on arrival in the city with Real Madrid.
He also remembers Liverpool, Red Star and Albion visiting his adopted city on tours but it was Wolves’ three games in British Columbia on their mammoth summer trek around America and Canada in 1963 that provided his pathway to stardom.
Les’s book contains photos of the time he was being waved off on his adventure and at home with the family pet while he contemplated the offer Wolves made after spotting him in a junior match.
They then invited him to train with them in Vancouver but his dreams were delayed for a year as his parents insisted he finished his schooling first.
This large soft-back also shows, via letters from secretary and general manager Jack Howley, the club’s caring side and the lengths they went to in order to keep hold of a highly-rated youngster who at one point was so homesick that he decided to stay on the other side of the Atlantic.
Thankfully, with some tlc and the occasional paid flight home, this ultimate in Wolves utility players persevered and proceeded to write headlines in both countries on a number of articles that are reproduced here.
From a debut at Middlesbrough on his 18th birthday through the winning of promotion, to two memorable return visits across the sea with his club, to the ‘Tea set’ years as a more established campaigner and to the move towards First Division prosperity…..the trail is covered generously by photos on almost every page.
The author’s Wolves career takes us well past page 170 and we are then reminded that he did so much in Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada in subsequent years.
With other former Wolves players such as Alan Hinton, Phil Parkes and Bob McNab as colleagues, he helped the Whitecaps to heights they have never attained since – and then moved on to some of the wonderful highlights with Canadian national sides that we have detailed on here in the past.
This is some keepsake and some piece of work. Although the book is not on sale in the UK or Canada, Wolves Heroes were delighted to receive a spare copy from Les and present it to the Archive Library for browsing in what used to be the Molineux Hotel.
Fans can therefore at least take a look and flick through a few pages, maybe on a match day – that would please him greatly!