Presents From Christmases Past

Boxing Day Bows In The Famous Gold Shirt

Early Waggy…….the much-loved no 11 weaves his magic against Blackburn.

Mindful though we are that Wolves’ Boxing Day game this year is actually taking place tomorrow, on the 27th, how about these festive gifts from across the decades?

We checked back to the last war to see which players had introduced themselves to the Wolverhampton masses on this date and which had made a scoring impact on this, one of the most popular football dates on the calendar. The following leapt out from our search:

*Dave Wagstaffe became arguably the club’s most famous Boxing Day debutant of all time when he lined up in 1964 in a 1-0 home defeat against Villa that also proved to be the last of Peter Broadbent’s 497 Wanderers games. The slip-slide nature of Waggy’s performance on a wintry pitch gave little hint of the excellence to come.

*Full-back Bill Guttridge’s senior Molineux career totalled six games, stretched across two successive matches in each of three consecutive seasons. Sounds confusing but we are most concerned here with the fact his big entrance came in a 3-3 Christmas Day draw at Villa and his home debut followed against the same opponents the next day.

*Home debut time for Bob Hazell in 1977 also came on this day. Having played for the first time in a crushing pre-Christmas defeat at Newcastle, he was much happier with the follow-up 3-1 win over Leeds at Molineux a few days later.

*’New boy’ Geoff Palmer definitely didn’t get what he wanted for Christmas in 1985. Re-signed from Burnley, he launched his much shorter second spell at the club with a 4-0 Boxing Day defeat at Notts County.

*Debuts in the first half of that decade were more frequent, given that the club were seeking some stability and a means of applying the brakes to a nightmare slide. Sammy Troughton was first seen in a 3-1 defeat at Ipswich 36 years ago today. Three seasons later, in 1986, it was the turn of Chris Brindley in a 2-0 defeat at Hereford.

*Fast-forwarding almost a decade, it was a sign of the chaos and even crisis that Wolves had briefly slipped under Graham Taylor in 1994-95 that two debuts were handed out after the side headed for a Christmas Day overnight stay near Oldham. At opposite end of the experience scale, Brian Law and Gordon Cowans appeared for the first time in the team beaten alarmingly at Boundary Park.

Simon Osborn – first seen in Wolvex colours on Boxing Day in 1995.

*And there were two more Boxing Day debutants the year after when Mark McGee introduced Simon Osborn and Vinny Samways in the 1-1 home draw against Millwall.

*Finally, we mention big defender Neill Collins was one of Wolves’ relatively few winning December 26 debutants when he featured in the 2-0 win at Derby soon after his arrival among Mick McCarthy’s squad in the middle of 2006-07.

Thomas Publications