A Calling That’s Hard To Resist
Gerry Reflects On Another Wolves-To-Liverpool Move
“We were surprised when it happened. He seemed to be happy at Wolves and then Liverpool came in for him….”
It could well be a comment on Dioga Jota’s early-season departure for Anfield but it was equally applicable in the case of another high-profile transfer between the clubs well over half a century ago.
As the Portuguese forward seeks to build on his early goal-scoring impact with the Premier League champions, Molineux minds have flashed back to when Alun Evans made the same move in 1968 in becoming English football’s first £100,000 teenager.
“I have a friend who is a season ticket holder and who told me that Jota scored one against Arsenal at the start of the week and could have had a hat-trick,” said 1960s and 1970s defender Gerry Taylor today.
“I don’t follow the game closely enough now to know why Wolves might have sold a good player like that – I am more familiar with Alun’s move, although it is so long ago.
“He was a young lad, seen as a star of the future, and I think we were surprised he left as early in his career as he did.
“He was popular here, fairly local and he was very fit. I remember us having some heart monitoring tests at Castlecroft to see how quickly we recovered from vigorous exercise and he came out on top of that.
“He came back to Molineux with Liverpool a few weeks later, of course, in one of Alan Boswell’s first matches for Wolves. I wasn’t playing but remember being on the sidelines watching as we conceded six goals and he scored a couple.”
Taylor does not envy the present squad performing in deserted grounds, especially having been at Molineux with his son last winter on the night Wolves memorably turned round a 2-0 deficit against Manchester City to beat the then reigning champions 3-2.
“It was a fabulous atmosphere that night and a tremendous game,” he added. “I find myself being less interested in watching on TV while there are no crowds. I would have found it very difficult to play without the stimulation that crowds provide.”
While the present-day Wolves prepare to face bottom-of-the-table Fulham tomorrow, this weekend marks the anniversary of two exciting Wolves home wins over Manchester United in the early 1970s (the second of which Taylor played in) and also a game at neighbours City which he probably wished he had missed.
On October 7, 1972, a 1-1 draw at Maine Road was clouded for the right-back by a knee injury that took a sizeable chunk out of an otherwise pleasing season.
“I remember going with Willie Donachie for a pass from Kenny Hibbitt and hurting my knee pretty badly,” he said.
“I could only run in straight lines afterwards and was out for quite a few weeks with tendon trouble – it felt like it took me longer to come back than it did if players had cartilage injuries.”