Matching Impressions

Familiarity In Outsider’s View Of McGarry

Good cop, bad cop……Sammy Chung and Bill McGarry.

“He was a great manager but, in my opinion, he treated people like dirt.”

Based on all we have read and heard over the decades, you would think they are the thoughts of a member of Wolves’ first-team squad on Bill McGarry from the early or mid-1970s. Wrong.

They have been voiced instead by a player the hard-line boss had under his control elsewhere in the country and are aired in the latest issue of Backpass.

Ron Bolton felt sufficiently enamoured with the manager as to play for him at Bournemouth and then join him at Ipswich but it was at Portman Road that the relationship soured.

Issue 68 of football’s finest magazine informs us via a long feature from Pat Symes that Bolton was given a trial by Wolves, Manchester United, Manchester City and others as a teenage inside-forward.

But nothing came of them and McGarry converted him to an attacking wing-half after being installed at Dean Court in 1959.

And Bolton, who also played in South Africa, gives this added insight: “If the team was struggling, McGarry would put it right in the dressing room at half-time. Other managers in my experience would wait until the Monday to dissect a match.”

Clearly, though, the admiration did not extend to affection. So frosty did the relationship between the two become that all communication between them was channelled through Sammy Chung at one stage.

And when Bolton’s proposed move to Gillingham broke down due to the player’s reluctance to go there, McGarry greeted him back by asking: “Are you still here?”

Ivan Ponting’s obituary of Ron Saunders at the end of the magazine, which has Trevor Francis on the front cover, asks whether the legendary Villa and Norwich manager would have been more successful still had he been more conciliatory in his approach.

Bolton’s words, along with the thousands voiced by a host of Wolves players, leave us asking the same about McGarry.

Issue 68 also contains a short piece about Ron Flowers and two pictures of him with the 1966 World Cup squad.

Elsewhere are a reference to a memorable goal at Molineux by the Halifax match winner in their famous 1980 FA Cup triumph over a Manchester City containing Steve Daley and a mention of the Carl Ikeme book, Why Not Me?

An unusual early-1960s photo showing Leyton Orient in a blue main kit has Norman Deeley and Bobby Mason on it and is accompanied by the revelation that Deeley scored the opening goal when the East Londoners – in a one-season stay in the top flight – beat champions-to-be Everton 3-0 at Brisbane Road in the September.

Norman Deeley in the colours he is most closely associated with.

Two other Molineux links are the disclosures that Roy Shiner, who was born on the Isle of Wight and went on to join Sheffield Wednesday in the 1950s, had trials with Wolves as a teenager, as did late Luton veteran Freddie Jardine.

Once more, we wholeheartedly recommend Backpass to lovers of football nostalgia – please click on the cover to the right that shows John Richards on it.

Thomas Publications