A Question Of Experience
Memories Aplenty On Golden Night
More than 1,050 Wolves appearances between them and a total span across different eras of 28 years of first-team service……no wonder Terry Wharton, John McAlle and David Edwards gave fans a great night on their visit to Newport.
It’s not hard to believe that a power-packed winger, a lion-heart central defender and a predatory box-to-box midfielder would have dovetailed beautifully on the pitch.
Off it, the chemistry worked a treat on an evening which, at only £5 and £6 a head, exceeded expectations by raising around £750 for the Mayor’s Charity Appeal.
We learned who Terry regarded as his ‘rabbits’ – those left-backs he wished he could have taken round the country with him and had as opponents every week. At the other end of the scale, he found Terry Cooper one of his toughest adversaries.
There was considerable merriment with the recollection of his injury-blighted trek around the Caribbean with Wolves in 1964, including the tale of how he was grabbed round the throat when team-mate Johnny Kirkham suffered a nightmare in the room they shared with Chris Crowe. The gashed ankle that resulted from him frantically trying to push his assailant off would have healed quicker had the notoriously fidgety Stan Cullis not then kicked him and reopened the wound when they watched a subsequent game side by side from the touchline.
His travels in South Africa a decade or so later brought him a sending-off in Durban and an immediate post-match appearance before a disciplinary panel while McAlle clearly felt after his own dismissal in a mid-1970s game at Old Trafford that Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty had brought undue pressure to bear on the referee.
Now a surprise reminder to those of us who thought Edwards had never given his managers a moment’s bother. He has been red-carded twice since leaving Molineux, once with Reading and once with Shrewsbury.
It felt very much like he was a man of the moment when he was introduced by Wolves Heroes’ David Instone at Newport’s Navy Club two nights ago.
He had scored the only goal in Shrewsbury’s FA Cup replay win at Bradford the previous night – a tie in which he confessed he asked visiting supporters for a score update from the Wales v Hungary Euro qualifier while he was waiting to take a throw-in.
Hopefully, the impressive progress made by Ryan Giggs’s side will bring David more work as a Sky Sports pundit at the tournament itself next summer.
Also present among the near-capacity audience were three men who had been on Wolves’ playing staff in past decades.
John Joyce was a reserve in the mid-1950s, John Southall a full-back in an FA Youth Cup quarter-final defeat at Manchester United a decade later and Ian Wallace entertainingly recounted the story of the four-minute Wanderers first-team career that we wrote about on here in 2012.
Richard Skirrow, for 20 years Wolves’ secretary and now a match-night ‘shadow’ for official UEFA delegates, was another in attendance and raised McAlle’s eyebrows when explaining all the protocol demanded by a Europa League night at Molineux.
“It was just another game if we played at home in the UEFA Cup,” the defender said, “and I am not sure how much planning there was when we went away. For someone like me, though, who had never been further than Llandudno on holiday as a lad, the travelling was quite an adventure.”