A Final Reminder
Victors Again In Fond Reunion
Corporate dinners are all rage these days for assembling the players who delivered wonderful past deeds in Wolves’ name.
As this photo shows, though, there was a time when sit-down meals had no place on the calendar and reunions meant squeezing into the club’s colours and taking to the pitch once more.
Keen-eyed fans will probably work out that the assembled group are the 1949 FA Cup winners but what is less known is the date and location of this follow-up get-together.
We can reveal the picture was taken at Aldersley Stadium on April 8, 1962, 13 years to the month after Wolves beat Leicester 3-1 at Wembley to win the first of the many honours they accumulated under Stan Cullis.
The defeated East Midlanders entered into the spirit of the occasion by sending along the same bulk of players and, on a day when rival managers Cullis and Dally Duncan again led the teams out amid a playing of The Happy Wanderer, even the referee was as per the original – Reg Mortimer from Huddersfield.
Sammy Smyth came in from Belfast to take part and, having scored a wonder solo goal beneath the twin towers, struck again here in a 6-1 home victory.
Jesse Pye travelled across from Wisbech and reminded a 5,000 crowd of the talents that had seen him score the first two goals in the big one by netting another brace.
Wolves’ other goals came from Jimmy Mullen (2) and Jimmy Dunn while Charlie Adam, who was the main organiser at the Filbert Street end, replied.
Remarkably, all but three of the players on view at Wembley in 1949 donned their boots once more, the one absentee from the Wolves side being Terry Springthorpe, who was replaced by the man he had controversially taken the shirt of on the grand stage, Larry Kelly.
Don Revie was in the Leicester line-up, having failed to make the side 13 years earlier, and there was talk of a re-match being held, so successful had the event been.
It raised the not inconsiderable sum of £500 for the British Empire Cancer Research Campaign and Express & Star contributor John Lalley recalls: “I remember it as a chance for many of us younger fans to see some of the great players from the 1940s and 1950s.
“I later attended the joint testimonial game in honour of Billy and Jimmy Mullen, when I think Johnny Hancocks played. But I was very enthusiastic about seeing them all for the first time as I was still new to the Molineux experience.
“I went to Aldersley with my dad, who attended the 1949 final, and my uncle, who went to virtually all the games at that time, including both matches in the semi-final against Manchester United, but couldn’t get a ticket for Wembley.”
So how many could you correctly name on the picture at the top of this article? Back row (from left): Billy Crook, Roy Pritchard, Larry Kelly, Bert Williams, Bill Shorthouse, Jimmy Mullen. Front: Referee Reg Mortimer, Johnny Hancocks, Sammy Smyth, Billy Wright, Jimmy Dunn, Jesse Pye.
The Leicester side at Aldersley was: McGraw, Jelly, Scott, Harrison (W), Plummer, King, Bradley, Revie, Lee, Chisholm, Adam.