The Final Word – Wolves To Win

How The Cup Crystal Ball Worked….

Pre-match formalities at the 1960 FA Cup final.

‘I pick Wolves’, wrote Roy Peskett. Well done him on correctly predicting the broad outcome.

‘It could and probably will be the most exciting final for years,’ he also said. Oh dear, that forecast definitely didn’t come good.

As Wolves today start – and hopefully not also finish – another FA Cup adventure, we hark back to how their 1960 FA Cup final appearance was previewed in the Daily Mail.

In the somewhat crumpled copy of the paper we have at our fingertips, we see that a whole page of the Saturday morning edition was dedicated to the Wembley showpiece against Blackburn.

But why was the match relegated in importance beneath the report of a Portsmouth v Hibs friendly, the day’s horse racing and even the Dunlop professional golf at Gleneagles?

There are a couple of clues there to the answer – the paper of which we have just taken possession is the Scottish Daily Mail, not its better known equivalent from south of the border.

It was then a broadsheet costing tuppence halfpenny (less than 1p!) and has recently been handed to us by Glasgow-based Wolves fanatic Gwilym Machin following a house clearance in his adopted home city.

Peskett was clearly not one of those London-based correspondents who looked down their nose at Stan Cullis’s side by deriding their direct approach, although he did refer to ‘their famous long-ball game’.

He wrote: “I can’t remember Wolves failing to give an all-action performance. Even when they lose, they still supply much that is blood-tingling.

“A side that can keep going after the morale-shattering defeats by Barcelona so well that they could thrash the eventual First Division champions Burnley 6-1 are not likely to let a little thing like losing the League title worry them….they’ll take this game in their stride.”

In the interests of balance, the less prominent Jack Wood was allocated space much lower down the page and tipped Blackburn to prevail because, in Bryan Douglas, they had the ‘one genius on parade’.

The writer believed the inside-forward could provide the bullets for Derek Dougan, no less, and Peter Dobing to fire but we now know that the no 9 asked for a transfer in the hours leading up to the game and was in no frame of mind to fully test the club he would join to such great effect seven years later.

Norman Deeley – key man in Wolves’ Wembley win over Blackburn.

Peskett’s predictions of a classic that Cullis’s men would win by the odd goal proved off the mark. In fact, the game has unkindly gone down as the ‘dustbin final’ after fruit peel and other items were thrown on the pitch at the end by disappointed Rovers fans.

But Wolves’ 3-0 victory was considerable consolation for being pipped to the League title five nights earlier and was also good news for two more contributors to page 17 of the Scottish Daily Mail on May 7, 1960.

One was Yvonne Flowers, wife of Ron and mother of a then ten-month-old Glen, the familiar face in recent decades in the family sports business in Queen Street, Wolverhampton. The other was Billy Wright’s wife, Joy, who lamented that while the retired long-time skipper would be present at Wembley, she and twins Babs and Teddie had a matinee performance to deliver.

Yes, the sports pages looked very different six decades ago – and so, for that matter, did the FA Cup.

Thomas Publications