Dear Diary Entry 57

A Long Way From Home

Neil Emblen relaxing.
Neil Emblen relaxing.

Thursday, June 2: Was pleasantly surprised to bump into Wolves fan Trevor Jones outside Asda. The surprise came because he doesn’t live in Wolverhampton, the Midlands or even England – he is resident on the other side of the world near Brisbane. A keen reader of anything concerning the club, he is over in Europe for a few weeks and is taking in England’s Wembley friendly against Portugal tonight.  

Saturday, June 11: Enjoyed the British countries’ first day in the European Championships and made a surprise discovery in watching Wales’s 2-1 win over Slovakia……was that Sean Connolly in their dug-out? I knew the former full-back had been working in South Wales, having been taken to Cardiff by Dave Jones, who managed him at both Wolves and Stockport. It would appear he has now made the step up to become a physio in international football.

Thursday, June 16: Enjoyed watching a match with a difference at Molineux…..England v Wales on big screen in the Stan Cullis Stand’s main corporate area. Was flattered to receive an invite to join various members of staff and corporate customers in viewing the game live from Lens. Needless to say, the room was at its liveliest in the last couple of minutes.

Friday, June 17: Have started perusing the book launched by former Express & Star Molineux correspondent John Dee at his 80th birthday party last night. Will be writing much more about it after the conclusion of the European Championships but ‘Deetales’ will no doubt be strong on content from the 1970s Bill McGarry era and on Alex Hurricane Higgins – a good friend of the author’s from his many years of covering snooker. Nice to learn that a healthy representation of Wolves players were at the do…..sadly, John Richards, John McAlle and Gerry Taylor had left the venue, Penn Golf Club, before I arrived but Phil Parkes was still there, parked in front of the TV with friends for part of Northern Ireland’s victory over Ukraine. Also present were Barry Stobert’s widow, Maureen, and other one-time Express & Star personnel, Steve Gordos, David Harrison and Dave Bagnall.

Sunday, June 19: Was interested to read on Facebook that Neil Emblen celebrates his 45th birthday today. He continues to serve as New Zealand’s assistant head coach – although to Anthony Hudson since 2014, in succession to Ricki Herbert. Can’t believe it’s four years since he was over here with his adopted country’s under-23s for the 2012 Olympics. Neil is also still in domestic football over there, with the semi-professional Western Springs club, near Auckland.

Friday, June 24: Received an interesting and not wholly encouraging insight into Roy Hodgson when visiting my good friend Dudley Kernick at his new home in Nuneaton. At the age of 94, the former Stoke commercial manager and Nuneaton Borough manager has moved back to England after two or three decades of living in Florida and told me he was distinctly unimpressed with the coaching when he watched a day or two of their training in Miami as our players were preparing to depart to Brazil two summers ago.

Andy Sinton in France with Wolves fanatic Steve Plant - entrepreneur behind the 'They Wore The Shirt' book.
Andy Sinton in France with Wolves fanatic Steve Plant – entrepreneur behind the ‘They Wore The Shirt’ book.

Monday, June 27: Ugh! England 1 Iceland 2. Wonder what Andy Sinton – capped 12 times by the country in the early 1990s – made of it before he heads home in the early hours. The ex-Wolves winger has been on duty with Chris Kamara at all our games in France, meeting and greeting members of the Official England Supporters Club on tours organised by the FA’s official travel partner, Thomson Sport.

Thursday, June 30: Poor Carl Robinson. His Vancouver Whitecaps side were just seconds from retaining their Canadian Championship title when the veteran Will Johnson struck to give Toronto victory on the away goals rule and send the big prize east instead. “We missed a number of chances and conceded a bad goal in the 94th minute,” Robinson said. “I’m absolutely gutted.”


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