Dear Diary Entry 142

Emotions High In Memory Of Super-Fan

A flag-waving final tribute at Molineux for Claire Elliott on the day of her funeral.

Wednesday, July 5: A great send-off at St Peters Collegiate Church in Wolverhampton city centre this morning for the inspirational and hugely admired Claire Elliott. Her funeral was described by club chaplain David Wright as the one with the longest period of planning he had ever known. This lifelong fan had accepted for years that she was terminally ill and the hundreds of mourners present learned during an unconventional service that she attributed the prolonging of her life to the fact she had some happy Wolves seasons to savour along the way – and a real rock in husband Greg. The address was expertly delivered by Russ Evers – scripted by her and very moving, very funny and very Claire.

Saturday, July 8: A word about Colin Lee and the beard he was photographed with when accompanied again by his Chelsea team-mates of 40 years ago…..”I grew it last December so I could play a more convincing Father Christmas for the grandkids,” he told us on a recent visit to the Lees’ wonderful home in Torquay, “and haven’t got round to shaving it off yet.”

Wednesday, July 12: Took in day three of the Worcestershire v Yorkshire match at New Road and met up again with, among others, Glyn Harding, who spent several years on the education and welfare side in Wolves’ academy not long after the start of the century. He now works at the nearby Worcester University and enjoyed a batting cameo today from someone who provided another Molineux link, the Pears’ all-rounder, Joe Leach, who is a Stafford-born Wolves supporter.

Saturday, July 15: It has been on the cards for many months and, now, Rob Kelly has finally left Wigan. We had been expecting this announcement much earlier following the sacking of Leam Richardson as Latics manager in the first half of last season and now we wait to learn where the League One title-winning duo will turn up next.

Wednesday, July 19: A flurry of news that will interest Mike Stowell….namely, strong suggestions that Wolves’ goalkeeper coach Tony Roberts is leaving to join AC Milan. With Albion having recently parted company with their man, Gary Walsh, there is enough movement in this sector of the game to suggest Mike might not be out of work for long following his departure from Leicester.

Friday, July 21: Relished recording an hour-long programme with Tim Beech this morning at the Wolverhampton Community Radio station at which he is a director. The Inside Tracks programme is due to be broadcast on the final Sunday of this month and, after past appearances by the likes of Dave Wagstaffe, Peter Knowles, Ted Farmer and Mel Eves, might soon have one or two other well-known Molineux figures on as guests….

Wolves’ most famous cricketer of all time – by a long stretch!

Tuesday, July 25: Was amazed to learn during some research on Trevor Francis that Stan Cullis was Birmingham manager for four and a half years. Had assumed that his stay at St Andrew’s was much briefer but he was there until March, 1970 following his appointment in the wake of Wolves’ 1964-65 relegation season and oversaw 214 first-team matches. 

Friday, July 28: Lovely to see and hear such a fond reference to Rachael Heyhoe Flint on BBC TV’s highlights of the second day of the final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval. The baroness’s photo was shown on the stadium’s big screens, drawing the comment from presenter and co-commentator Isa Guha that she was a ‘late great’ who had done much to make possible the sport’s first World Cup for either gender (one which Sir Jack Hayward also did plenty to support).



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