Dear Diary Entry 138

Strewth – So Near And Yet So Far!

Marge and Bobby Gould on a previous trip to New Zealand. They have had plenty!

Wednesday, March 1: Had the pleasure of a webcam call from Marge and Bobby Gould on the other side of the world after pointing out to them that John Richards was holidaying in New Zealand at the same time as they were. The Richardses have popped over to the South Island for a couple of weeks (and for the first time in around 20 years) during a stay of several weeks with their eldest daughter Kim in Melbourne and were interested when I alerted them to the fact his former team-mate was in the country, too. Sadly, they are still a long way apart, on different islands, and unable to contemplate a get-together. The Goulds are also somewhat still recovering from Cyclone Gabrielle, which passed through the area in which they are resident near Napier for approaching four months.

Saturday, March 4: Was gutted to miss out on Wolves’ home win over Tottenham this afternoon after testing positive for covid for the second time. Whatever the guidance at present, it would have felt very wrong to mix with others and put more vulnerable spectators at risk – but the result was an obvious fillip come 5pm.

Friday, March 10: Read a humorous anecdote about Raul Jimenez in the excellent BBC Sports Report book written by frequent Molineux visitor Pat Murphy and published in the second half of last year. Feeling a post-match interview with the striker was labouring despite assurances the Mexican’s grasp of English was sound enough, Murphy threw in a comment from left-field: “That’s a rather nice aftershave you have on, Raul.” It was a light-bulb moment. “Jimenez perked up immediately,” the veteran reporter continued, “name-checking the department store in Birmingham that provided him with regular supplies of it, and we parted genially, with me sniffing his neck like the Bisto Kid loving his gravy.”

Saturday, March 18: A huge array of former players were visible at Wolves’ home game with Leeds this afternoon – and by no means all of them were of a gold and black bias. As well as Mel Eves, Andy Thompson, Chris Iwelumo and Lee Naylor taking up their familiar places, Fred Kemp was in the stand and we welcomed ex-Elland Road duo Tony Dorigo and Neil Redfearn to the media areas. And, by way of a bonus, Eves was able to briefly reunite with David Phillips, the former Wales midfielder who had been a team-mate of his at Manchester City in the mid-1980s and who now works on the radio.

Sunday, March 26: Talking of what we used to call the wireless, good to hear Radio 5 Live’s Sunday norning presenters referring to Sam Ricketts as a friend of the show as he commented on Wales’ fine European Championships qualifier in Croatia last night. It seems the well-respected ex-Molineux skipper was also interviewed by the station yesterday in the countdown to the tie.

Wednesday, March 29: Thank goodness for those two BBC lunches one or two of we writers were invited to last year….the first of them a belated celebration of John Pike’s 90th birthday. The long-time BBC Radio WM Wolves correspondent was more than keen for us to reassemble in October, which we did, but the mood was more sombre today as we bid farewell to him at a funeral that drew a huge attendance. The broadcasting world has lost an absolute gem.

Thursday, March 30: Was delighted to reconnect with Glyn Harding, a senior member of staff in Wolves’ Academy around 20 years ago, while giving a talk to a memory group at Worcestershire’s New Road ground this lunchtime. Glyn, who was appointed by Chris Evans to oversee education and welfare among the Compton hopefuls before the first promotion to the Premier League, is now a senior lecturer at Worcester University in dementia care and led the meeting brilliantly, supported by Molineux season ticket holder Brian Lester.

Saturday, April 1: Ever felt you were in the wrong place at the right time? How strange – and sad – it was to be researching in the archive library overlooking Molineux in the hours leading up to kick-off in Wolves’ draw at Nottingham Forest today, rather than at the match-day venue itself in the East Midlands.

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