Dear Diary, Entry 11

Meetings Aplenty Of Old Friends

Our landscape in the last few weeks has been shaped by news from afar as well as get-togethers much closer to home…..just a normal month in the world of Wolves Heroes. 

An afternoon at the Villa.......Nigel Sims (left) and Malcolm Finlayson.

Saturday, June 23: Met up again with four former Wolves players – dating back more than 60 years – by attending the launch of Nigel Sims’ autobiography at Villa Park. As well as the man himself, who made his Wanderers debut near the end of their FA Cup-winning season of 1948-49, the occasion was attended by Malcolm Finlayson, one of his goalkeeper successors at Molineux, Johnny Walker and Bobby Thomson. Johnny didn’t let us down….he burst into song at one point during the q and a, as he is inclined to do! Also in attendance were five of Sims’ ex-Villa team-mates, namely Alan Deakin, Harry Burrows, Ron Wylie, Jimmy McEwan and Jackie Sewell.

Monday, June 25: Saw Ally Robertson, Keith Downing and Don Goodman at a golf day and heard Ally say he had shaved his moustache off for the first time in 43 years. He was gutted that no-one had noticed!

Thursday, June 28: Heard about an interview given by Andy Mutch as a guest of Radio City in his native Liverpool. He has this summer been appointed as manager of Northwich Victoria, of the Northern Premier League Division One South, and has apparently also been taxi driving in Southport. One of the talking points on air was the sending-off he had in a game for Swindon at Everton almost 20 years ago.

Tuesday, July 3: Heard from Wolves fan Dan Gaichas in Illinois that Carl Robinson is an assistant coach now with Vancouver Whitecaps. He has been there since January. Vancouver were rock bottom in their first year in Major League Soccer but have righted the ship considerably under new coach Martin Rennie and are currently joint-third in the Western Conference. Of course, the only other ex-Wolves player in the MLS is Robinson’s good mate, Robbie Keane, in LA. 

The light-jacketed Richie Barker is flanked by Graham Hawkins and Graham Turner. On the left is former Wolves loan forward Steve Biggins and, on the far right, broadcaster Allan Phillips, to whom we are grateful for the provision of this photo.

Thursday, July 5: Went to the Graham Hawkins charity dinner at Shrewsbury Town and met Richie Barker for the first time in nearly 30 years. He was manager of Stoke and I was a cub reporter the last time we were together. Found out he lives only 20 minutes from us and his daughter works in our sleepy town. The two Grahams, Hawkins and Turner, did the speaking at the do and Wolves fan Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees provided the humour. An excellent night.

Saturday, July 14: Bumped into a good football friend, Rob Kelly, at Nottingham Forest. I was despatched to cover the welcome press conference by the new Kuwaiti owners at the City Ground and was surprised to see all the players, plus their acting manager, sat at the back taking it all in. Rob knows all about the insecurity of his chosen profession, having been bounced around the likes of Preston, Leicester and Sheffield Wednesday in recent times. Mick McCarthy is the hot name around the City Ground in the search for Steve Cotterill’s successor.

Monday, July 16: Finished reading the excellent autobiography of Paul Lake, the desperately unlucky Manchester City skipper whose career was curtailed in its pomp by injury. Spotted a picture in there of the England under-21 side in Albania in 1989, on the afternoon Steve Bull made his international debut. Also in the side, to my surprise, were Paul Ince and Steve Sedgley.

Tuesday, July 17: Another despatch from Dan Gaichas in America…..Kenny Miller is also joining Vancouver Whitecaps. 



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