More Family Pride For The Gardiners
Joe Gardiner’s family have enjoyed another memorable spin-off to his posthumous induction earlier this year to Molineux’s hall of fame.
Three members of the clan were welcomed in style at Saturday’s thrilling draw against Newcastle and took away fond impressions of the club he served for more than 50 years.
The season’s first meeting of the two sides was deemed a suitable occasion for them to learn more about the work in these parts of Stan Cullis’s long-time assistant, who also played at half-back when Wolves finished runners-up in the League and FA Cup in 1938-39.
“Our grandson, Jamie, said it was the best day of his life,” said Joe’s nephew, retired deputy head John Gardiner, who had hosted the three-man Wolves delegation who headed to the north-east to present the hall of fame award in late July.
“He soaks up so much information and knowledge and, on the journey down, was not only telling us the likely Newcastle team but also what he thought would be the Wolves line-up. He knows all their players and what positions they play in, although he struggled to pronounce one of them.
“Jamie has my Uncle Joe’s photo as the screensaver on his phone and is very proud of what he achieved in football before and after the war.
“Being given a tour of the museum on Saturday, which was a wonderful gesture by Wolves, has heightened his interest even more and he just loved having his photo taken at the Sir Jack Hayward statue, in our seats, by the Newcastle coach and with Karl Henry, who gave us a bit of a talk before the game.”
The 11-year-old was interviewed by the BBC when we visited John and wife Kathleen’s house in County Durham three months ago and, to underpin Wolves as very much his second club, was sent a shirt from the Molineux shop shortly afterwards by hall of fame committee chairman John Richards.
He had to be discouraged from wearing it at Saturday’s game because the trio were watching from the directors’ box as special guests and we will forgive him for choosing to put on his Newcastle jersey as soon as he could after the 2-2 draw.
“It has been wonderful for us all to have my Uncle Joe honoured in this way and then for us three to be so well treated by Wolves,” John added.
“Being able to welcome John Richards and the other representatives of the hall of fame committee to County Durham in the summer was something we never expected and now going down to Molineux, where he served for 50 years, has been very special, too.
“We chose Joseph as the name for our son (Jamie’s dad). I’m not aware of it being a name that runs back in our family but we both liked it when he was born and it was already associated with a lovely relative.
“It was lovely to be welcomed so warmly by Wolves and to see that my uncle’s part in their history has been so well recognised.”
Among those to greet the family trio on Saturday was Peter Crump, who travelled with John Richards and David Instone to County Durham three months ago and who works in the Wolves museum.
“We have a dedicated hall of fame section in the museum and it was a pleasure to help show round some relatives of one of our greats,” Peter said.