Dear Diary Entry 147

Another Decision That’s Up For Debate

Mark Burke and Mark Venus as Wolves team-mates in a 1993 pre-season friendly at Crewe. Photo by David Bagnall.

Monday, December 4: Exchanged texts with Mark Burke to express our mutual disbelief over the sacking of Tony Mowbray and Mark Venus by Sunderland. A few months on from leading the club to the play-offs and having them only three points off the top six now, the duo have left after their employers have decided such progress isn’t good enough for them. Burke, a Molineux team-mate of Venus’s and a playing colleague of Mowbray’s at Middlesbrough, was less than impressed with the decision, which sort of mirrors Birmingham’s removal of John Eustace, Keith Downing and Co, when he messaged from home in Holland today. 

Tuesday, December 5: Burnley’s presence on the fixture list always used to be a welcome sight for Wolves, not least around the time of the 1988 Wembley meeting of the two clubs in the Sherpa Van Trophy final – a season in which Graham Turner’s side recorded three victories out of three against them. Tonight’s clash at Molineux definitely wasn’t a classic but the three points were very welcome.

Thursday, December 7: Inadvertently managed to clear up a 24-hour-old issue circling in the mind of Vince Bartram. In sending him warmest congratulations for the FA Cup victory achieved by his club, Eastleigh, over Reading yesterday, I asked him whether he’d seen his former Arsenal team-mates Lee Dixon and Ian Wright at the televised game. “Was Lee there?” he asked. “From a distance, I saw Wrighty in his long coat, jumping up and down waving at me afterwards. I wondered who the other guy in the TV studio was…..mystery solved!”  

Saturday, December 9: Good to have a catch-up with Gary Leaver, Wolves’ long-time former commercial manager, around this afternoon’s home game against Nottingham Forest. It’s admirable how he has remained such a keen supporter long after he stopped working for the club.

Wednesday, December 13: Remarkable to learn that Jim Barron is still coaching at a good level – at 80 years young. We have previously reported on the strong friendship between the one-time Wolves reserve keeper and (much later) Molineux assistant manager and Jerry Gill, an ex-Birmingham defender who had a coaching stint at Compton a few years back. Now we learn they are working together at Bath City in the Vanarama National League South.

Friday, December 15: Absolutely delighted to receive a text from former Wolves academy physio Gavin Blackwell informing us that Rob Kelly is back in work – as assistant to newly-appointed Rotherham manager Leam Richardson. Plenty of time to send our best wishes to him as the Championship strugglers have a long motorway haul prior to tomorrow’s game at Plymouth.

Monday, December 18: Great to see photographs from John Richards of he and more than a dozen other former Wolves players on their recent tourist visit to Molineux. Peter Crump, a good friend to this website and a fellow hall of fame committee member, was very much to the fore in laying out the welcome mat as the trail around the stadium took Messrs Bell, Brazier, Daley, Eves, Farrell, Hatton, McAlle, Nicholls, O’Hara, Palmer, Parkes, Richards, Taylor and Wharton round the dressing rooms (left), press room, dug-out area and beyond. You can just imagine how they marvelled at how much things have changed….

Saturday, December 30: Wow, what a Christmas for Wolves! Victory over Chelsea, four goals and three points at Brentford and finally success by a street at home to Everton. Kenny Hibbitt and Mel Eves were among the former players in attendance and we will forgive the also-present Derek Mountfield if he didn’t enjoy the occasion quite so much following his fine performance in the corporate rooms on the mic. 



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