A Turn-Up With The Line-Up
Wembley Combination Was Virtually A One-Off
Talk of arguably the most iconic Leeds team of all time – and the extreme rarity in how many times those 11 players actually played together – has prompted us to scour Wolves’ history books with similar thoughts in mind.
Would anyone question that the line-up of Sprake, Reaney, Cooper, Bremner, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Clarke, Jones, Giles, Gray is the one we most closely associate with the glory years at Elland Road?
But how many times did that formidable side take to the pitch? Astonishingly, the answer, apparently, is ONCE. And that was for an FA Cup tie against Mansfield in 1969-70.
The absence of Paul Madeley’s name is one explanation for this obscure fact. He played more than 700 Leeds games. Then there were injuries to Eddie Gray and the emergence of David Harvey as replacement for Gary Sprake.
We are not going to venture an opinion on Wolves’ most famous or best team but thought we would, as an experiment, see how many times a certain iconic line-up played together.
With apologies to Phil Parkes, we have chosen the side from the 1974 League Cup final. So how many times did the names Pierce, Palmer, Parkin, Bailey, Munro, McAlle, Hibbitt, Sunderland, Richards, Dougan, Wagstaffe fill the team sheet?
There are some true thoroughbreds in there – men who played many hundreds of games for the club in plenty of cases. But how often were that exact line-up seen in action away from Wembley?
Cue more surprise: The answer is once – in a 2-1 defeat at Everton on February 9, 1974, three weeks before the big match against Manchester City.
Given that Gary Pierce’s 111 Wolves games make him by far the least used of Bill McGarry’s victorious twin towers combination, there was plenty of scope there for these players to have appeared as one.
But, as the record books show us, there was often a Jim McCalliog, a Steve Daley, a Barry Powell, a Gerry Taylor, a Steve Kindon or, in particular a Lofty Parkes, in there instead.