Dear Diary Entry 112

Drink Up – There Are Heroics To Be Witnessed

Robbie Keane……in the strip he wore when bursting into the limelight 23 seasons ago.

Tuesday, January 5: Chatting to Ian Winter about the feature we are presenting on here with him shortly took our minds back to a day imprinted on the minds of many Wolves fans. August 9, 1997 was the date on which a 17-year-old Robbie Keane made his League debut for the club and wrote large headlines by scoring two sensational goals in a win at Norwich. Tim Beech, still reporting for Radio WM at the time, travelled with me and fixed up a late-morning coffee stop en route with Ian at the house on the outskirts of Norwich he was living in while working on TV in East Anglia.

Saturday, January 9: Loved listening to the Jason Guy podcast interview with Greg Fellows; plenty of talking about the recently-departed Tommy Docherty and the subject’s time with him at Wolves, Villa and Manchester United as well as his days on the terraces at Molineux as a starry-eyed young fan. There’s plenty of substance to this far-reaching series – and this episode ran for nearly an hour. Excellent!

Friday, January 15: Took a call from veteran broadcaster George Andrews, who is well known in these parts, not least from when he commentated on Wolves games for The Wolf a decade and a half ago. When Potteries-based George requested a live on-air interview with me this teatime on Hitmix Radio, the natural assumption was that there must be a Chorley angle but it turned out he wanted to chat about the virus’s impact on football. Fair enough.

Thursday, January 21: Spent a wonderful hour and a half on Zoom with Les Wilson in Vancouver and Wolves Heroes’ no 1 outside contributor, Charles Bamforth in California. Among the subjects of discussion were books (past and short-term future), Wolves’ current form and loads and loads about the club in decades from yesteryear. We at the site were glad to play a small part in introducing them several years ago – and they got on so well that they have since spent time together in Vancouver with their wives. The firm friendship is also helped by the fact they have Alan Hinton as a close mutual acquaintance.

Friday, January 22: Match-day dawned with confirmation, via a Facebook post, that I had been quoted in the Daily Mail as part of their build-up to Wolves’ trip to Chorley this evening. Reporter Tom Collomosse was one of four media people to ring for help or interviews in the days after the FA Cup fourth-round draw was made and I was honoured this teatime to be included with Jon Purdie and BBC WM presenter Daz Hale on a Midlands Today feature that was, of course, conducted remotely….all part of the belated privilege of having been present at the notorious meeting of the clubs in 1986.

Monday, January 25: Stand by for the sight of Cardiff ending their run of six straight defeats – and then some. Mick McCarthy, just back from a spell with Apoel in Cyprus, has been appointed as the Bluebirds’ manager and is seen as a man to get quick results. Interesting that his first two games in charge are away in the town of his birth, Barnsley, on Wednesday and then at home next weekend to Millwall, the club who gave him his first chance in management almost three decades ago.

Wednesday, January 27: Why do these things stick in the mind? Tonight’s Chelsea v Wolves clash and the follow-up at the weekend on the other side of the River Thames has had me leafing through the record books and, YES, fixtures at Stamford Bridge and Crystal Palace did come back-to-back – one midweek, one Saturday afternoon – long ago. It was in March, 1973, and the reason for me remembering is that the double-header was the first time Barry Powell, who turns 67 this month, was seen at senior level.

Ernie Hunt – the life and soul of any party.

Friday, January 29: Had a phone chat with the author of Ernie Hunt’s entertaining life story, Joker in the Pack, and was given another insight into the fun-loving ways of the late-1960s Wolves forward. Chris Westcott once accompanied Ernie to an Everton reunion and found himself sharing a room with the player. “He opened his overnight bag and all it contained was a wig and a bottle of vodka,” Chris said. “I recall him singing Moon River a bit later with Howard Kendall and my job next day was to make sure he got up and caught his train back to Gloucester. I managed that – but later found out Ernie had fallen asleep, missed his stop and ended up in Bristol.”

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