Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Aid

Rallying Round For Popular Defender

John Pender during our visit to the former family home early in 2019.

Help for the stricken John Pender is coming fast from the football fraternity in the countdown to tomorrow’s Molineux meeting of his two main clubs.

The shattering recent disclosure that the 58-year-old former centre-half has motor neurone disease has brought prompt action at both Wolves and Burnley.

Wolves Former Players Association have visited John at his specially adapted home in Telford and made a £1,000 donation to the appeal.

In addition, tomorrow night’s match programme carries a terrific interview-feature by Paul Berry, whose story will also appear at length on Wolves’ official website, with a different version in today’s Express & Star.

Although the justgiving page has already raised more than £13,000, it is clear we are only at the start of the support effort.

Fans are invited to join a fund-raising walk up Pendle Hill in Lancashire in January and Burnley’s Former Players Association are organising a 30th anniversary dinner of the Fourth Division title success the player featured in.

Much more will be done closer to home, too, to aid a Luton-born former Republic of Ireland international who played 129 first-team games for his first club, Wolves.

His debut here came against Swansea in March, 1982, and he became a regular in the surprise Second Division promotion triumph that was accomplished under Graham Hawkins and Jim Barron the following season.

‘Sus’ during the Tatung era at Molineux in the first half of the 1980s.

He also figured prominently in the nightmare return to the top flight in 1983-84 and it was the ongoing financial problems at Molineux that led to his sale to Charlton in 1985.

From there, Bristol City, Wigan and Rochdale also benefitted from his considerable presence but it was with the midweek Molineux visitors that he made possibly his biggest mark, underlining his reputation as a promotion-winning specialist and earning the nickname Captain Fantastic.

How appropriate it therefore is that Pender, his wife Denise and some of their four children will watch tomorrow’s game from an executive box – and receive a special visit while they do.

We at Wolves Heroes look forward to playing our part in the campaign to assist the family as much as we can, so please watch this space and, if possible, our posts on Facebook as well.

Now might also be a good time for our readers to look again at the extended feature we wrote on Pender early in the year of his diagnosis after visiting him at home near Newport. Please click on Wolves Heroes » Blog Archive » Leading From The Front to see what he did both in and after football.​