It was Steve Stoutt’s search for security that caused him to switch his focus from points to pints – or more specifically to pintas.
The 1980s Wolves utility man did his share of club hopping by playing for Grimsby, Lincoln and Boston United after leaving Molineux within a few days of the Sherpa Van Trophy arriving there in May, 1988.
He also subsequently became player-manager of Grantham but his yearning for a steady routine took him back to his West Yorkshire roots in the mid-1990s and into a job he had done 20 years earlier.
“I bought myself the same milk round that I’d helped on at the age of 11!” Stoutt told us.
“I worked at Lincoln at the end of my career with Keith Alexander, first as a player and then as youth coach, and he wanted me to go to Mansfield with him when he went there.
“But it was only a year’s contract and I’d jumped from club to club for a few years, so I wanted to settle in one place.
“Delivering milk is nothing like a footballer’s life but it’s something I was familiar with and I’d had enough of travelling to training and games.
“It was an extablished round when I took it on and I’m up just after midnight three days a week and at a big depot at around 1.30am ready to load up for the houses and businesses I call on. But I get some decent time off and I’ve done it for about 14 years now, so I’m quite happy.”
We at Wolves Heroes are grateful to Stoutt’s first club, Huddersfield Town, for allowing us the use of one of their executive boxes for the purposes of this interview.
And that location prompted the 46-year-old to take another walk down Memory Lane.
“Huddersfield were the club I supported as a kid and joined as a schoolboy at 13,” he added. “Then I signed as an apprentice when Mick Buxton was manager.
“But, instead of being taken on as a full-time pro, I was offered only non-contract terms, which basically meant I was paid only whenever they wanted me to play.
“I had a lot of games in the reserves and a few opportunities in the first team, including making my debut at Chelsea and facing Newcastle at Leeds Road when Kevin Keegan and Chris Waddle were with them.
“Steve Kindon was there in the early days and Sam Allardyce was one of the senior players. He took me under his wing but it was a strange arrangement because I was training for the fire service at the same time and used to get off the bus and walk up to the ground for matches unrecognised.
“I played home and away against Wolves in 1984-85 and assume I caught someone’s eye there because Tommy Docherty signed me the following summer.
“We went away to Malta in the close season but, before I kicked a ball for the club in the League, The Doc was sacked.”
Stoutt nevertheless made a decent impression at Molineux, appearing in 117 matches in his three years and playing a part in kickstarting the club’s revival. Although later established at right-back, he scored five goals, including one away to his home-town club Halifax, a long-range belter at Preston and the side’s second at Neil Warnock’s Scarborough on the first day of 1987-88.
He played 29 games in that, his final Wolves season, but was just outside the 13 used in the SVT final in the Wembley showpiece that proved to be his swansong.
“It came as a big surprise when I was let go,” he added. “I was gutted, especially as I found out by letter.
“I’d had happy times there, though, and was named as London Wolves’ Player of the Year once, which was nice.
“I used to lodge with Roger Eli at the home of Jack and Olive Carr in Codsall. We also had Tim Flowers, Mickey Holmes and Jackie Gallagher in at different times before Holmesy bought a house that he made a killing on.
“I haven’t really stayed in touch with any of the lads, although I did see Jackie when Grantham played Wisbech in the 1990s and he was there.”