Did He Really Do That?
Legendary Striker’s Least Remembered Molineux Goal
You needn’t check the date – April Fool’s Day has safely passed. And what we are about to write isn’t a mistake.
Steve Bull’s first Molineux goal wasn’t the one he scored from close range in a Freight Rover Trophy win over Bournemouth in Graham Turner’s early months in charge.
Nor was his first Black Country derby winner the one he rifled in at the Smethwick End of The Hawthorns in 1989.
It was sort of known at the time before becoming lost in the passing of the decades – the man who went on to create all manner of mayhem and history in gold and black actually netted AGAINST Wolves before he netted FOR them.
We are grateful to Devon-based Julian Rowe for sending us the proof that Bully hit the winner for Albion in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Molineux early in 1986.
The two clubs were in a fixture drought due to bad weather when respective managers Sammy Chapman and Ron Saunders agreed to stage a private Saturday morning game on March 1.
Wolves hadn’t played since drawing a Third Division game at Walsall on a snowy Sunday morning three weekends earlier while Albion had been inactive, too, other than in a heavy defeat at Manchester United on their way to crashing out of the top flight.
It made sense therefore for the two sides to get some match practice without the need for a long journey in bad weather, so they met away from the public glare.
Looking back on this lowest of low-key meetings, the programme for the Wolves v Rotherham game on March 8 spoke of an ‘efficient’ performance from the side in a fixture that had proved useful for both clubs.
The editorial also dutifully recorded that ‘Albion won 1-0 with a goal from Steve Bull in the 89th minute’, obviously completely unaware of how odd this statement would come to look pretty soon! Albion’s next programme also offered the briefest of detail about the match having taken place.
It was competitive enough for visiting defender Martyn Bennett to sustain a leg injury that restricted him to only one more senior appearance that season and was briefly mentioned on page 58 of Rob Bishop’s 1989 ‘Bully’ book – the first of several to have been written about or with the striker.
And then the game – and the striker’s role in it – appears to have disappeared from the public consciousness. Well, there were 306 good reasons why that should be the case.
If any of our readers happened to see this game or have an inside track of it, we would love to hear from them.