In High Office
Distant Memories From Molineux’s Corridors Of Power
So who was Wolves’ secretary immediately before Keith Pearson? A pat on the back for all those who recall the name Peter Redfern.
When we talk about local boys made good, we are talking of his ilk – someone who admits he was hopeless at football but nevertheless made it at Molineux through his expertise off the field.
Raised and educated in Bushbury, Redfern was a passionate Wolves fan when taken on the staff at 17 to work in the ticket office.
He then became one of the League’s youngest secretaries when he was appointed in succession to Phil Shaw soon after the Derek Dougan-fronted takeover of 1982.
“Jack Robinson, who was assistant secretary to Phil Shaw, was approaching retirement when I was given my job at Wolves in 1972 after a year at Goodyear,” he said today.
“Supporters from that time might remember those three wooden windows near a little car park not far from the main entrance in Waterloo Road. They were all open and busy on match days but, if it was in the week, only the middle one was used and it was usually me who dealt with any visitors.
“It was an exciting time with all the great cup runs we had, although we so often seemed to lose in semi-finals. As a fan from when I became hooked in the 1966-67 promotion season, I felt very much involved in it all and was in an office not far from the secretary’s.
“Jack Robinson was in the development office behind the North Bank Stand, where Jack Taylor worked on the commercial side. Dot Wooldridge was also there and Keith Pearson was added to the staff in 1977.
“When Jack passed away around that time, I was promoted to assistant secretary but didn’t work closely with Keith as he was the accountant in those days. It was only when there was a home match that everyone would tend to gravitate towards the main office and work together.
“Keith became more than a colleague, though. He was a friend as well; just a good guy and the sort you wanted to go out for a drink with after work, which we did several times.
“He came to my wedding as well and I was so sorry to have to miss his funeral due to having to take our son to Heathrow Airport. We went through the dark days together at Wolves and there weren’t many of us left in the summer of 1982 until Eric Woodward was brought in as general manager.
“I was promoted to secretary that year and was in the job for three years. My dad was from Durham and not a football fan, so he was always telling me to get a proper job because he couldn’t believe there was enough to do at a club from Monday to Friday!
“I suppose he saw the logic in my decision when I moved on to Marks & Spencer in 1985, although I found it a wrench to leave.”
Redfern joined the high street giant as an administration manager, spent 21 years in retail and spread his wings far and wide with postings in Canterbury, Harlow, the East Midlands, Eastbourne, London, Reading and Birmingham.
“I wouldn’t say I was a high flyer but they checked before I started that I was fully mobile and then put me to the test!” he added. “We had lots of house moves.
“I saw Wolves a few times down south at places like Crystal Palace and Reading, as well as Cambridge. I also went to the Sherpa Van Trophy final in 1988 but never saw Steve Bull score…..that tells you I only saw him play a handful of times.
“We moved back to the Midlands, to Bromsgrove, in 2002 and I did another couple of jobs more locally after leaving M & S a few years later. I’m now fully retired.
“I saw a few more matches in the Glenn Hoddle era and now probably go a couple of times a season. The game has changed so much from the one I worked in.”
We are grateful to our good friend and occasional contributor, Peter Crump, who works in the Molineux Museum and on stadium tours, for rummaging through his old Wolves programmes and accessing the above photo featuring his Uncle Peter. The picture was used in 1982 with an article written by the Express & Star’s David Harrison, who also helps out these days in several roles behind the scenes at the club. The three men are due to meet for a catch-up soon after a planned recent get-together fell foul of covid.