Dear Diary Entry 149

The Only Way Is Up!

Matt Doherty….long record of service.

Saturday, February 3: Interesting to see Matt Doherty climb in among Wolves’ top 30 all-time appearance-makers these last few weeks. ‘Doc’ has recently found first-team opportunities easier to come by than earlier in the season and now finds himself headed by only 28 others on our list. Eddie Stuart and Derek Dougan are the two luminaries he overtook in February and the next man in his sights is fellow full-back/wing-back Lee Naylor. One relevant point, though….15 of his senior games in 2023-24 alone have been introductions from the bench. That type of appearance just wasn’t in vogue for Stuart and Dougan! 

Tuesday, February 6: Marked what would have been the great Billy Wright’s 100th birthday by looking through the record books to see how many times he played for Wolves on his special day. Only once, as it happens….in a 4-1 home victory over Blackpool during the club’s first title-winning campaign, 1953-54. By coincidence, the previous winter, he was part of the team beaten at Bloomfield Road – a ground he didn’t enjoy playing at – the day after he turned 28.

Thursday, February 8: Made the surprise discovery that two newish friends over here on the Shropshire border are very closely related to early 1970s Wolves reserve Chris Dangerfield. What’s more, they are in a circle that also contains Sir Alex Ferguson through a mutual interest in horse racing and are due to meet up with him this month. I sense we are each going to be helping the other with some reconnecting…..

Saturday, February 10: Great to have a leisurely coffee shop meet-up with Colin Lee and his wife, Lyn, on their way to his corporate duty at this afternoon’s game with Brentford. Not since December, 2004, when he oversaw a last-gasp Millwall win on the night of Glenn Hoddle’s unveiling at Wolves, had the ex-Molineux boss visited the stadium on a match-day. But, after a long-planned visit to Mo Camara’s Chill wine bar in Tettenhall last night, he loved sharing stories in the various Billy Wright Stand hospitality suites before kick-off at the clash between two of his former clubs.

Monday, February 12: Time for a few reflections on others from the club’s past who were present at that disappointing defeat on Saturday…..Andy Thompson and Lee Naylor were there of the ‘regular attendees’ and good also to see Dave Edwards, Geoff Palmer and, in particular, Michael Kightly, who is resident in the West Midlands and the proud father of a Wolves academy lad.  

Tuesday, February 20: Sorry to hear the medical news of Tony Mowbray and about the need for his long-term assistant, Mark Venus, to step up as boss for a few weeks. Interesting that Veno’s first game in charge is this coming Saturday at Ipswich, where he and his gaffer have such deep roots following their successful time together as fellow defenders and during their transition to the dug-out.

Wednesday, February 21: Heard through John Richards the sad news that Paul Bradshaw – the commanding last line of defence in the club’s second League Cup final glory – had died. After Emlyn Hughes, he becomes the second member of that heroic line-up we have lost, compared with three (Doog, Frank Munro and Dave Wagstaffe) from the winning 1974 team at Wembley.

Keith Downing – in the days when others coached and he just played.

Saturday, February 24: Good luck to Keith Downing – an avid Wolves fan around the time of the 1974 League Cup success – after his appointment to Blackburn’s backroom team was announced today. He has linked up again with the newly-installed John Eustace, his boss for the successful opening weeks of Birmingham’s 2023-24 season, and helped oversee a satisfactory 1-1 Ewood Park draw with Norwich this afternoon.

Sunday, February 25: Had the unusual experience of watching the second half of Wolves’ home win over Sheffield United this afternoon on TV in Southern Spain. Have escaped over to the Malaga area with John Lalley for four days, staying with Dave Rushbury, a lifelong Wolves fan from the town/city, and someone who had 30-odd games for Albion at the start of a long career in the game as a player, physio, coach and manager.





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