Back On Course

Top Turn-Out As Competition Resumes

Meeting in a different sporting arena….John Richards and Jeff Wealands.

After last year’s enforced cancellation, former Wolves players were back in big numbers on the golf course as a series of new reunions helped make their annual competition another excellent day for local charitable causes.

Oxley Park, so often the favoured course for Wolves favourites in past decades, was the setting for a turn-out swelled by the presence of several outsiders from other clubs.

Largely through links with the PFA, there were appearances by Martin Buchan, Paul Raven, Wolverhampton-born Roger Davies, Joe Mayo and one of the Norwich side who faced Wolves in both legs of the 1974 League Cup semi-final, Ian Mellor.

Former Hull keeper Jeff Wealands, who had a spell in Birmingham’s first team after being on the staff at Molineux as a lad, was also there and in a group containing John Richards. “There are people here I haven’t seen for 50 years,” he said. “I play golf and go on holiday these days, so it’s wonderful.”

We have promised to find out the photo we have showing Jeff being challenged by JR in Wolves’ 2-1 home win over Hull in March, 1977 – a match in which the latter scored.

Also in the field from among what we might regard as Molineux stalwarts were Phil Parkes, Geoff Palmer, Kenny Hibbitt, Willie Carr, Terry Wharton and Don Goodman.

We were particularly pleased to see Willie there after the health issues that led to him having a kidney transplant approaching three years ago while the organisers were happy to find Don available. His busy life took him to Sky’s headquarters near Heathrow the next day for summarising duties in the studio on the Finland v Kazakhstan game.

On the course as well were early 1970s Wolves reserve Phil Nicholls and a first-teamer from a decade or so later, Dale Rudge, the PE teacher who is preparing to return to school for the autumn term. But some were restricted to the role of helpers.

Chief organiser Steve Daley recently received a replacement knee and Steve Kindon, as we reported last winter, is having to lead a different lifestyle these days following a heart problem and also having long covid.

Norman Bell and Gerry Farrell, who again travelled down enthusiastically from Lancashire, volunteered to run the refreshments hut rather than play – a job that once more brought them into contact with team-mates from four and five decades ago.

Pictured left to right are Messrs Goodman, Bell, Farrell, Nicholls, Wealands, Parkes, Palmer, Wharton, Rudge, Daley, Carr, Richards, Davies, Buchan and Mayo. Photo by David Bagnall.

Among the non-footballers playing were Sky Sports’ Johnny Phillips, local golf professional and Molineux season ticket holder Jeremy Nicholls and Russell Jones from the club’s senior off-field management team.

For some, the social inter-action stretched a little further into the weekend, with Hibbitt and his wife Jane taking advantage of the Premier League break by staying over with the Richardses.

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