All So Very Different

Premier League Return Will Take Wolves Into New Territory

Stan Cullis leads Wolves out for the last time – on the delayed final day of 1946-47. Never before or since have Wolves played a competitive fixture as late as this date, May 31.

Wolves are set to tread new ground not once but twice if the Premier League season resumes as planned in the second half of next month.

Never before have the club played a League game in June but that seems increasingly likely to happen, with training being stepped up this week at the country’s leading clubs.

June 17 has been pencilled in, subject to Government approval, as the date when matches in the top flight will start to be played again.

The latest date in a season Wolves have ever fulfilled a League fixture is May 31, 1947, when a bitter winter meant games were still being played long after many players would normally have had their feet up at the start of their summer break.

But, with nine games remaining for most now, and ten for some, the League campaign is also going to spill over into July for the first time ever.

These are extraordinary times, with Wolves facing another three weeks of a gap that will have stretched to almost three and a half months since they signed off at Molineux on March 7 by facing Brighton.

It is now accepted that all matches for the coming weeks will be played behind closed doors, so the climax to 2019-20 will be contested in very different circumstances to the past.

When Wolves faced Liverpool in a virtual title decider 73 years ago, for example, 50,765 packed into Molineux and there were a number of fainting cases caused by a combination of tension and early-summer heat; there was emotion, too, with Stan Cullis, having told his team-mates over lunch that this would be his final game as a player.

In case any supporters have forgotten, sixth-placed Wolves are due to go to West Ham for their first game back and we continue to look to the Bundesliga for clues as to how things might unfold here.

It’s early days, we know, but there is one stark observation we have made from keeping an eye on events in Germany.

Sammy Chung (left), who was in charge of Wolves’ tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1972 in the absence of the stay-at-home Bill McGarry.

That is that of almost 30 top-flight games played over there since the restart, there have been around twice as many away wins as home ones, so maybe home advantage has gone out of the window with the absence of paying spectators.

Another way in which Wolves will be treading new ground in a few weeks’ time is that they haven’t played any game in June, even a tour friendly, since visiting Australia and New Zealand in 1972.

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