As Good As ANY Team-Mate
Stricken Dave Boosts Charity Close To His Heart
Dave Thomas is close to taking his magnificent money-raising efforts for the Guide Dogs Association through the £100,000 barrier.
The stricken former midfielder, whose stay at Wolves was the one blot on a terrific career, is going blind with the eye condition glaucoma.
But he has worked tirelessly over the years for the charity and gone into overdrive with his fast-selling autobiography, Guiding Me Home And Away.
The eight-cap England international is the first professional footballer to be handed a guide dog and estimates that approaching half of his book is dedicated to how he has adapted to a new way of life.
He is – or rather was – enjoying the promotional work that came with the publication and says: “I have been givng some talks to different groups in the area and done signing sessions at QPR, Everton and Burnley.
“We have had a fantastic response so far. We have sold over 3,000 copies and had some amazing feedback.
“It is much more than a football story, so it has a broad reach. I was asked twice before to write my life story and declined.
“Then I was given the chance to write it with a guy called Dave Roberts, who is a big Watford fan and has commentated at Vicarage Road for the blind and visually impaired for over 20 years.
“It seemed right to do it and the sales now are taking us close to the £100,000 barrier in money raised overall.”
Thomas, who joined Wolves in 1979 and left shortly after the League Cup final victory the following year, was given golden labrador Hannah three years ago but is at pains to say that the matching process is not always easy.
As for his condition, we at Wolves Heroes have kept tabs on Dave since well before he spoke at a dinner in these parts in the autumn of 2017.
The illness impacted on his sight from 2000 – around the time we last saw him working as a radio summariser at Portsmouth before heading back permanently to his native north-east.
He can still play golf, with alert and watchful partners, and describes what sight he has left as being as if he is in the sort of blinkers racehorses wear.
The latest issue of Backpass has a lengthy piece on the £20 autobiography, which is published by Hornet Books and from which all proceeds are going to Guide Dogs.
Among the many other Wolves-related references in issue 69 of the magazine are complimentary mentions of Ian Arkwright and Derek Dougan in a long feature about former Peterborough and Wrexham forward Dave Gregory and a further spotlight on the goal-scoring exploits of Ray Crawford and Jim McCalliog.
Glenn Hoddle, Mark McGhee, John Barnwell, Andy King and Frank Wignall are other one-time Molineux men name-checked and there is the interesting disclosure that Len Ashurst, the left-back who made a colossal 458 appearances for Sunderland from the late 1950s, was once an amateur at Wolves.
With powerhouse former Scotland centre-half George Aitken – another to have played extensively at Roker Park – also revealed as having had a stint at Molineux as a teenager, it is fair to say the club’s scouting operation was functioning very well at the time, even if not all recruits came off for Stan Cullis.