Homing In On The Wembley Winners
Forest’s Conquerors Were A Familiar Combination
It’s time for part two of the exercise we first aired on here in mid-November – one that threw up some seriously surprising results.
Two and a half months ago, we pointed out that Wolves’ League Cup final line-up of 1974 played together only once besides Wembley, in a First Division game at Everton a few weeks earlier.
Keen to see whether this was something freakish, we have cast our minds forward six seasons to the other major showpiece Wolves game of that era and reminded ourselves of the players who brought down Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest.
So how often did we see Bradshaw, Palmer, Parkin, Daniel, Hughes, Berry, Hibbitt, Carr, Gray, Richards and Eves together other than on March 15, 1980? The answer is: Quite a lot.
Four times in that League Cup run alone, John Barnwell and Richie Barker fielded that exact side, namely for the games at Crystal Palace and Grimsby as well as in the home second leg of the semi-final against Swindon.
And in eight League games from the time of Andy Gray’s historic signing, those were the 11 players on duty at kick-off.
Gray’s first four Division One matches for the club were alongside the very men with whom he would stride out at the twin towers six months later and there was also a 3-2 FA Cup fourth-round replay win at Norwich that was achieved by the same team.
It’s worth pointing out at this point, though, that the surprise League Cup final victors – in the eyes of many observers, anyway – did not line up together again after bringing down the previously all-conquering Forest.
Peter Daniel and Kenny Hibbitt both missed the victory over Stoke a week later and then Paul Bradshaw, Geoff Palmer and John Richards all had spells on the sidelines.
Ten of the Wembley winners, Hibbitt excepted, played at Brighton on the first day of 1980-81 but the emergence of John Humphrey, Raphael Villazan and Hugh Atkinson – and the retreat of Emlyn Hughes towards the fringes of the squad – ensured there was no full on-field reunion.
We made the point in our earlier article on this subject that Jim McCalliog, Steve Daley, Barry Powell, Steve Kindon, Gerry Taylor or Phil Parkes, in particular, were very often on the team sheet in 1973-74 – hence the novelty value of seeing the line-up Bill McGarry sent out to defeat Manchester City on March 2 of that season.