Dear Diary Entry 129

Blazes….Beware New Forest Fire!

Mark McGhee – he and his players were hurt several times by the father of a young star who has just appeared on Wolves’ radar.

Wednesday, June 1: And so a new member of a familiar football family is due to test Wolves next season. Nottingham Forest’s promotion at the weekend and arrival in the Premier League for the first time in almost a quarter of a century means the highly talented Daniel Johnson should soon be up against opponents who his Telford-born dad, David, found very much to his liking two and a half decades ago. Johnson Senior joined Bury in 1995 after being unable to break through at Manchester United, scored for them against Mark McGhee’s Wolves in August, 1997, and then caused further Molineux pain by netting in November, 1997, on his Ipswich debut. To compound the impact, the player, who was based 35 minutes up the road in Newport, scored again in the return meeting of the clubs in East Anglia in the March.

Friday, June 3: Very belatedly caught up on the TV highlights of Sunderland’s win over Wycombe in the League One play-off final and managed a sighting of a familiar figure. There, amid the Wearsiders’ celebrations, was Jez Moxey in his Burton tie presenting medals to the players from what we used to know more commonly as the Royal Box.

Wednesday, June 8: Completed reading about a totally different way (to the one I am familiar with anyway) of following Wolves. Far from the sober life I know all about on the media circuit, Russ Evers and his many friends at Hatherton Wolves operate in an environment that is rather more chaotic, adventure-laden, beer-fuelled and story-filled. The result of his travels is a highly entertaining book ‘How Do We Get There?’ which concentrates in particular on the club’s travels overseas. Have a read, have a laugh!

Saturday, June 11: Membership of the corps of writers mentioned above got me one of the precious few tickets available when Italy came to Molineux tonight and so helped end the 66-year wait for a senior England men’s international to be staged at the stadium. The 0-0 draw wasn’t the most riveting viewing but it was nice to be present for a close-up look at a historic night.

Wednesday, June 15: “What’s the big deal? All clubs must play every other one in their division home and away in a League season, so what difference does it make which order they fall in?” It’s a well-used statement, including by myself, but there is still a tingle – thank goodness – from seeing the fixtures published. Today’s release of the 2022-23 programme show that Wolves kick off with a visit to Leeds, as they last did ten years ago, and start their home matches with a visit from Fulham – a repeat of what they last did 11 seasons ago. Bring it on!

Friday, June 24: Had the sad task of contacting Mike Stowell, Keith Downing and Robert Kelly by phone and telling them the sad news that the long-serving former Wolves physio Paul Darby had died at the age of 66. All three expressed shock and sadness, having had their own reasons to feel grateful for all he did for them at Molineux.

Terry Wharton….top bloke and a milestone birthday boy today!

Wednesday, June 29: Enjoyed a drive down to Buckinghamshire to attend the launch of a book written by exiled Wolves fan Martyn Pritchard. The Wolverhampton-born journalist makes it to Molineux only occasionally these days but that hasn’t stopped ‘Fragments From Beyond The Pandemic’ having a definite gold and black tint to its pages. The fact that all proceeds from the project are going to the Florence Nightingale Hospice, where the author’s wife spent her final days, makes it all the more commendable and poignant.

Friday, July 1: Many, many happy returns to everyone’s mate, Terry Wharton, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. We trust he has had and continues to have a wonderful day and many more epic occasions like this.

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