Dear Diary Entry 118

Yes, Lawrie….It’s Still You

Lawrie Madden pictured at Derby in March, 1992, on the day Steve Bull became Wolves’ all-time leading goalscorer.

Tuesday, July 6: Rang Lawrie Madden on behalf of Solihull-based John Dyson, who is writing a book about Sheffield Wednesday in the 1980s, and was able to reassure him that he is still the oldest man ever to have appeared in Wolves’ first team. The former central defender, who was in Spain on an extended break when we called, was a few months short of his 38th birthday when he made the last of his appearances for the club in 1993 and is now 65.

Friday, July 9: Best wishes to Oxfordshire-based Hugh Curran for a speedy return to the fairways and greens after learning that his golf participation has been seriously curtailed this year following surgery on his knees. How nice it would be to see him teeing off with one or two of his former Wolves team-mates up here at some point in the future.

Monday, July 12: It will surprise no-one, on either side of the line at Molineux or Compton, to learn that Conor Coady has been a brilliant member of England’s valiant Euros squad – albeit one confined, as Ron Flowers was at the 1966 World Cup – to the sidelines. Supportive, enthusiastic, vocal, low-maintenance and talented; a manager’s dream.

Wednesday, July 14: Interesting to see that Wayne Hennessey has joined Burnley on a two-year contract after being freed by Crystal Palace. At 34, the keeper surely still has much to offer if fit, having launched his career with 166 games at Wolves but being restricted to a single first-team Palace appearance in 2020-21 among a further seven Welsh caps.

Friday, July 23: Sad to hear of the death at 83 of Mike Smith, the former Wales, Hull and (African Nations Cup-winning) Egypt manager who also spent around a decade as Wolves assistant academy manager and under-16 coach. In his time at the club from the mid-1990s, he helped develop Joleon Lescott, Matt Murray, Carl Ikeme, Wayne Hennessey, Mark Davies, Leon Clarke and others and was a well liked and respected figure. Among the tributes are one from Chris Turner, who took to Twitter to say: “What a nice man. I was lucky to have worked with him and Chris Evans at Wolves when they were a leading club in youth football. It was a pleasure to have been in your company, Mike.” On being told one day that physio Gavin Blackwell’s wife was going in for an operation, Mike came down from his office to wish her well, although he didn’t know her.

Monday, July 26: Rang the ever-knowledgeable Richard Skirrow to ask for some background on our ‘Wolves and the Olympics’ feature and was reminded of how he had set off for a work permit tribunal with Carlos Kameni’s gold medal when the club were trying to sign the Cameroon keeper in 2003. Kameni had been in the line-up who beat a Spain side containing Xavi, Carles Puyel, Joan Capdevila and Carlos Marchena in the final of the Sydney Games of 2000. As we now know, Dave Jones’s pursuit of the player did not bear fruit.

Jim McCalliog in action for Wolves at one of his previous clubs, Chelsea.

Monday, August 2: Loved watching Ron Stockin being interviewed on Midlands Today after the detective work and diligence of Wolves Heroes, coupled with the willingness of the club, had seen him presented with a medal for his part in the title triumph of 1953-54. What a great result! Made all the effort worthwhile after we stood on several cold doorsteps in West Bromwich in December to try to trace him.

Wednesday, August 4: Delighted to be on board with Jim McCalliog and helping in the production of his forthcoming autobiography, ‘Wembley Wins, Wembley Woes’. Jim and his highly prolific ghost-writer Alex Gordon have their foot hard to the floor in finishing the story prior to a planned promotional autumn tour of the player’s former clubs. Can’t wait!

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