Completing The Big Reveal
Hall Of Fame Places For Palmer And Wilshaw
Geoff Palmer and Dennis Wilshaw are the worthy final two members of the bumper crop of 2023 inductees to Wolves’ hall of fame.
The duo from opposite ends of the Molineux pitch are today named as recipients of this position of high honour, six days before the celebration dinner.
They join the recently-announced Robbie Dennison, Joe Gardiner, Phil Parkes, Alf Bishop, Mike Stowell and Jack Davies and will take the total number of hall of fame members close to 40.
Palmer is one of only two men (Paul Dougherty is the other) to have played for the club in all four divisions, having returned from Burnley for an unhappier second spell in the mid-1980s. But he will be best remembered for his heroics first time round.
He joined his boyhood favourites straight from school, made his debut at Arsenal as a 19-year-old in a play-off for the FA Cup third and fourth places in the summer of 1973 and helped Bill McGarry’s side win the League Cup towards the end of his first season in senior football.
It is a measure of how impressive he was – and how successful Wolves were in knockout football – that he totalled an astonishing 72 games for them in the League Cup and FA Cup. Only three players, Derek Parkin, Kenny Hibbitt and John Richards, have played more in gold and black in those competitions.
Palmer, having played throughout the run to the semi-final of the FA Cup in 1978-79, was then an ever-present in the League Cup journey that ended in more glory the following season. The role of he and a deep-lying Peter Daniel in subduing Nottingham Forest danger-man John Robertson was hailed as one of the prime reasons for Wolves’ unexpected success.
Wilshaw’s introduction to the first team might also have quickly come accompanied by Wembley glory. He sensationally scored a hat-trick in a win at home to Newcastle on his debut in March, 1949 and was under consideration for a place in the FA Cup final team a few weeks later, only to ultimately miss out in the 3-1 victory over Leicester.
The Potteries-born forward had by then sparkled down the road on loan to Walsall and would go on to score an astonishing 113 goals for Wolves in only 219 League and FA Cup games.
More than 25 of those came in the club’s first Championship-winning season, 1953-54, although, like Bill Slater, he always had a job in education as well and played only as a part-timer.
Less easily found in the records are the goals Wilshaw scored against crack foreign opposition in so-called friendlies – including games against Europe’s finest under the inspiring Molineux floodlights.
Such heights helped him into the England side and he won 12 caps in all, his ten goals including a historic four in a game against Scotland at Wembley.
Like the prolific marksman who died in 2004 aged 78, Palmer held prominent positions outside the game, too. He worked in the police force for many years.
By this time next week, 36 men will have been individually inducted into the hall of fame. In addition, the 2003 play-off final winners and the 1954 conquerors of Honved, including Wilshaw, have been honoured.
Please click on the hall of fame icon above to remind yourself who is in this elite group – and don’t forget to see our write-up of the big dinner next weekend.
For our readers who wish to see how the Express & Star, in particular hall of fame committee members Nick Elwell and Steve Gordos, have handled this happy story, please go to Wolves Hall of Fame: Geoff Palmer lived the dream | Express & Star (expressandstar.com) and Wolves Hall of Fame: Dennis Wilshaw stunned the Scots and mighty Madrid | Express & Star (expressandstar.com)