Dear Diary Entry 128

Mark Of Appreciation For Nigel

Nigel Vaughan on the chase in Wolves’ draw at Brighton in December, 1989.

Monday, May 2: Received a lovely follow-up to the long Nigel Vaughan interview that we posted in January. Michael Hickey from Conroe in Texas did some Googling, read Charles Bamforth’s piece with great interest and said in an email to us: “I just happened to come across your story about Nigel Vaughan. My son was lucky enough to be coached by him for a couple of years here. Nigel is one of the best coaches we have ever met. It is not only because of his knowlege of the game but also his ability to convey that knowlege to his young players. The boys, as well as myself, loved to listen to the stories of his playing days. My son now plays at the college and this is due in large part to coach Nigel’s guidance. We are very thankful that he ended up in Texas. Thank-you for the great story.”

Saturday, May 7: Good to hear that Alan Hinton has been over in this country as part of the 50-year Derby title celebrations that were signed and sealed in Wolverhampton. The former Molineux winger was at the Rams’ final game of the season today – a disappointing home defeat against Cardiff – but spirits were no doubt lifted by appearances from a few of the players who were left celebrating after Wolves famously beat Leeds to hand the title to Brian Clough’s men in May, 1972.

Sunday, May 8: Relished meeting up with Everton’s new director of football Kevin Thelwell – formerly the holder of a similar post at Molineux – after Mike Stowell kindly facilitated the purchase of some tickets by John Lalley and myself at the Merseysiders’ victory at Leicester this afternoon. Three days on from Leicester’s UEFA Conference disappointment in Rome came another setback in their up and down season but it was sheer joy and relief for Thelwell and other members of the Goodison entourage as they started to sense Premier League survival was close.

Wednesday, May 11: Enjoyed sitting next to David Edwards at tonight’s Wolves v Manchester City game, even if he did have the headphones on all evening due to being on radio duty with Andy Thompson and Mikey Burrows. A few observations were shared about a stunning performance from the champions elect but also about the good moments Wolves produced with their superb equaliser and their strong, rejected shouts for a penalty. Also in our midst were the grandson and son-in-law of Molineux great Dennis Wilshaw, the two of them proving good value in a pre-match chat near the Billy Wright statue.

Thursday, May 12: What does a young-at-heart legend like John Richards do to keep himself in decent shape? Well, on he and wife Pam’s recent holiday in Australia, as well as feeling pride in the advances their granddaughters have made in netball and Aussie Rules, he helped keep himself fit by walking faithful red setter Chili in the parks or along the beach most mornings. Doesn’t sound too bad a task!

Sunday, May 15: A distinctly moderate conclusion to the domestic programme at Molineux, with bottom-of-the-table Norwich digging in and deserving their point this afternoon. A sizeable turn-out of former players were among us in the media areas for one final time, namely Lee Naylor, Andy Thompson, Mel Eves, Paul Jones amd Elliott Bennett, the latter doing a radio stint on the club for whom he played 80 matches a decade or so ago well after leaving the West Midlands.

Thursday, May 19: What next for Mark Venus? The announcement from Blackburn that, as widely predicted, Tony Mowbray is leaving following five years in charge at Ewood Park also raises questions over the future of his loyal assistant for the best part of two decades. Given that their work in this latest post has been impressive, there is surely further employment out there for them if they want it.

Saturday, May 21: Delighted to pay a two-night return visit to the lovely Langside bed and breakfast run by Jim McCalliog and his wife, Debbie, in Ayrshire. Unlike in the autumn, no football has been on the agenda this time……just a family break and some quality time in their company before we pressed on much further north for a few days.

The accomplished Bob Hall pictured in the role in which he will be best remembered.

Saturday, May 28: Stunned to hear today of the passing-away of Bob Hall, the super-smooth former Central TV presenter and sports reporter who always seemed to have a soft spot for Wolves. What a quality operator he was……not only in front of the TV screen but at any number of Molineux dinners as MC and in more recent times as a match-day reporter around the country. He left a big impression on a lot of people in the game and beyond.

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