Horton – I Nearly Joined Wolves

Doc Era Opened Door For Boyhood Fan

Brian Horton has opened up on his Wolves past and revealed how close he came to serving the club of his boyhood dreams.

The Hednesford-born miner’s son had a wonderful career as a player with Brighton, Luton and others, then flourished over many years as a manager with the likes of Oxford, Huddersfield and Manchester City.

But, at the age of 71, does he look back and wish he had pulled on the famous gold jersey? Or had chance to direct operations from the Molineux dug-out?

“My father, Richard, who everyone called Dick Horton, had a passion for football and in particular Wolverhampton Wanderers,” Horton says in his autobiography, Two Thousand Games.

“When I was growing up, he would take me everywhere across the Midlands to watch a game. But Molineux was special. We would sit on the wall behind the goal. Ron Flowers, who was my hero, Peter Broadbent and Norman Deeley were wonderful footballers.

“When I first started watching them, Wolves were the best team in England. In 1959, when I was 10, they retained the League title. The next year, they won the FA Cup.”

Horton also has a sound grounding in the club’s history, adding of the famous Honved fixture in 1954: “It was the first time a white ball had been used in England and it made Wolves fans believe that they supported not just the best team in England but maybe the world.”

So this firm family connection clearly opened his eyes to the possibility of one day being on the Molineux payroll. And the big opportunity duly came….

 “It was the summer of 1984 when I had the chance to fulfil a boyhood dream,” recalls Horton, who had just left Luton and was seeking a new club.

Brian Horton in pursuit of Andy Gray in a Brighton v Wolves clash at the Goldstone Ground.

“Wolves had always been my team and at the age of 35, it looked like I would finally be pulling on the old gold shirt. Wolves had just been relegated from the First Division, Tommy Docherty had been appointed as manager and I was offered the role of player-coach. I could go back to Cannock, where I had grown up, and play at Molineux.

“I didn’t make the move. Hull City were looking for a new manager and I thought I could be my own man in Yorkshire. Had I gone to Wolves I would have been part of the most disastrous spell in their history when in successive seasons they were relegated from the First to the Fourth Division. The Doc was sacked after one season in charge and, in all probability, I would have been fired with him.”