Dear Diary Entry 135

A Tribute To Barney

John Barnwell and George Berry amid the joy of Wembley victory over Nottingham Forest in 1980.

Monday, December 12: Enjoyed writing an article about John Barnwell and Wolves’ victorious 1979-80 League Cup adventure for my long-time friend, Martyn Pritchard, who is producing a charity booklet on the former Wolves manager. Any excuse to pen a few words for a readership on those happy days is not to be missed.

Tuesday, December 20: Bumped into Mel Eves in the city centre while enjoying a pre-match coffee with friends prior to tonight’s long-awaited return to action at Molineux and managed to impress him by recalling that he was once a player at Gillingham as well as their Carabao Cup hosts, Wolves. The match ended in a predictable home victory, so the Julen Lopetegui era has started on a winning note – even if progress took a long time to be secured.

Monday, December 26: Had a great few hours out with John Lalley at Wolves’ welcome victory at Everton this afternoon. We sat in the main stand opposite the sold-out visitors’ seats and relished what might be a final trip to Goodison Park before it is vacated next year in favour of a new home near the waterside. Richard Skirrow had the same idea but travelled separately to say a lovely farewell to one of the traditional homes of English football if that is what it proves to be.

Thursday, December 29: No sooner had the sad news of Pele’s death been announced today than a series of emails started among the ex-players I am proud to call friends. As so often, Les Wilson was at the heart of it and is at rather an advantage when talking about the man who many experienced observers of the game regard as the finest player of the last 60 or 70 years – he faced him while playing for Vancouver Whitecaps. Phil Parkes also had the honour of playing against the magical Brazilian during his time in the USA…..what memories they must have!

Phil Parkes is congratulated by Pele after facing him in America.

Saturday, December 31: Not the rewarding follow-up we had hoped for in Julen Lopetegui’s first Premier League home game but a promising performance that was close to bringing a lunchtime point against Manchester United. Good, too, to see a number of ex-players in the media room – from Wolves and beyond, namely Karl Henry, Andy Thompson, Dave Edwards, Jack Price, Stuart Pearce and Danny Webber. Along the corridor in the BT Sport studio were none other than Joleon Lescott, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes.

Sunday, January 1: Talk of pundits brings other well-known faces to mind from recent TV coverage. Molineux pals Matt Jarvis and Chris Iwelumo have been studio experts on games and highlights shows while their gaffer here, Mick McCarthy, summarised at Luton’s Championship home win over Norwich on Boxing Day night. With Don Goodman and Dave Edwards among those regularly in the public ear, we obviously attract some articulate individuals to these parts.

Tuesday, January 3: Ten years to the week since Stale Solbakken’s Wolves lost at a non-League Luton, a word about Rob Edwards after his fine start at Kenilworth Road. After his highly premature departure from Watford, three wins out of four add up to a very encouraging platform as the Hatters go into FA Cup action against Wigan this weekend.

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