Reunited – More Than 50 Years On
Vancouver Meet-Up Was Too Good A Chance To Miss
Yet another of Les Wilson’s former Molineux colleagues can now vouch for his skills as a host.
Any number of Wolves favourites have received warm welcomes over the years either at his home in Vancouver or the one elsewhere in the city that belonged to his parents.
Now late-1960s Wanderers reserve Grenville Riley can be added to the list after a happy coincidence set up the opportunity for a meeting while the West Midlander is on holiday on Canada’s Pacific coast.
The possibility came to light in sad circumstances after Charles Bamforth – himself a good friend of the Wilsons and a past visitor there – was helping spread the word several weeks ago about the funeral arrangements for another member of the back-up ranks more than half a century ago, Roger Grice.
The dialogue he had with Riley, who was best mates with the full-back, revealed a strong family connection not only to Vancouver but to the Port Moody area where Les and his wife Lois live.
And with the Tipton-born former forward and midfielder currently on a family trip across the Atlantic, there would be no better chance to catch up on old times.
“One massive thank-you to Charles for finding out that Grenville’s young son, also a Grenville, is living a ten-minute drive from our home,” Wilson told us in an email. “It is many, many decades since Grenville (senior) and I had met and simply wonderful how we managed to all get together after so long.
“It was so nice to have several members of the Riley family present with us for a few hours and for dinner and to reflect on how fortunate and blessed we have been. So many memories came flooding back about Wolverhampton Wanderers, where I learned my professional trade the hard but correct way. Where on earth do all the years go?”
While Wilson followed up his 1964-72 Molineux stay by serving Bristol City, Norwich and Vancouver Whitecaps, Riley suffered injury misfortune after appearing close to a first-team breakthrough, a free transfer departure leading to a spell with Sligo Rovers and then an early exit from the game.
Please revisit Charles Bamforth’s excellent Wolves Heroes » Blog Archive » The Life Of Riley story for a fuller reminder both of what became of the 71-year-old and for some recollections of his efforts to make it at Molineux under Ronnie Allen and then Bill McGarry.
Past Wolves visitors to the Wilsons have included Dave Burnside, Bobby Gould, Jim Barron, Alan Hinton and a car-full of the utility man’s team-mates from the club’s long triumphant summer in the United States and Canada in 1967.