Dear Diary Entry 113

Memories Of Summers Past

Gerry Summers on the far right of the front row of a Wolves team photo more than 50 years ago, with Ronnie Allen far left.

Tuesday, February 2: Rang Gerry Summers’s house at the request of another author and learned quite a bit more about the late 1960s Wolves coach. We knew from our in-depth interview with him in August, 2013 that he had grown up a keen Birmingham fan but weren’t aware that he married into a family of Albion supporters, who were no doubt delighted when he became a team-mate of Ronnie Allen’s at The Hawthorns. The happy couple met at West Bromwich Dartmouth, where Gerry was an opening batsman and the continuing love of his life helped make the teas. We understand Gerry, who is 87, reasonably active and still resident in Leicestershire, is the oldest surviving former Baggies player.

Saturday, February 6: Our mercy mission to track down Ron Stockin and have him presented with a League Championship winner’s medal more than six and a half decades on, seems set to end in disappointment. We are still prepared to knock doors when the pandemic is safely behind us but we believe a letter from us has reached him and there has been no interest expressed to us about the chance to have his contribution to Wolves’ title conquest of 1953-54 belatedly recognised. If any of our readers do know Ron or of his whereabouts and can help reinforce our good intentions, please do so.

Monday, February 8: Reading up again on some of the players who helped build Wolves up towards the greatness they achieved before, during and after the last war reminds us of the lengthy job it must have been for an autograph book to go round a dressing room in those days. Arthur Hetherington is the man we have recently featured from the late 1920s and early 1930s era and among his team-mates at Molineux were Billy Barraclough and Reginald Hollingworth. Ok, the first-team squads were much smaller then but it must have been a lot harder fitting those signatures on a page than Pedro Neto, Willy Boly and Ruben Neves. There would have been even less room if Major Frank Buckley signed in full but, hang on……a certain Nuno Herlander Simões Espirito Santo is on there these days, hopefully in a shortened form!

Thursday, February 11: Sorry, but not totally surprised, to hear that Keith Curle has been sacked by Northampton. A few months on from highlighting his two and a half years in charge there by leading the club to promotion from League Two, local opinion around Sixfields suggests that the former Wolves captain at least leaves with his head held high.

Johnny Kirkham, far left, is flanked by Barry and Maureen Stobart when out celebrating in Durban in June, 1970.

Tuesday, February 16: Have enjoyed looking over one or two photos sent by Barry Stobart’s widow Maureen pic with the late John Kirkham on. The two couples were close both here in the West Midlands and in South Africa, so these keepsakes are valuable reminders of happy days in the distant past.

Sunday, February 21: Interesting to see the name of ex-Wolves youngster Sammy Clingan on a Coventry City list with a difference from 2010-11. That, we are told by Sky Blues historian Jim Brown, was the season the Sky Blues had no fewer than eight captains, including Lee Carsley, Michael Doyle, Marlon King and keeper Keiren Westwood. Thanks to injury and a red card, there were three different skippers in a nightmare home game with Bristol City in March before Clingan, a 37-year-old Northern Ireland international who is still playing for Robbie Dennison’s old club Glenavon, took over the armband for the final eight games of the season.

Wednesday, February 24: Heard out of the blue from Jez Moxey, the chief executive Clingan and many others would have known at Molineux, and made tentative plans for a catch-up coffee when the time is right in a few weeks. Seems from the correspondence that he still has plenty of business links in American sport.

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