Dear Diary Entry 94

Acknowledgement Of Sad News

Rob Kelly in his playing career at Wolves in the late 1980s.

Saturday, July 6: Received a heartfelt text from Rob Kelly in reply to my sad message about the death of a mutual Express & Star friend, Brian Mason. It seems a long while ago now, especially with the former Wolves midfielder and coach flying high at Uwe Rosler’s side with Malmo, that he trained as a journalist after injury ended his playing career. But his recollections were fond enough for him to say: “Brian was in charge of my training course at Rock House in Tettenhall and helped me enormously to qualify. I am very sad to hear this news.”

Tuesday, July 9: Nice to pick up a return call from another man overseas, Dutch-based Mark Burke. He still scouts for Middlesbrough and spends part of his life in and around Birmingham but explained that his home in Holland was only a few minutes away from top-flight club Fortuna Sittard.

Sunday, July 14: Was surprised to read – in connection with Manchester United’s stay in Western Australia – that one of their opponents Down Under are managed by former Wolves hopeful Tony Popovic. Perth Glory, who Wolves faced there in 2009, won the A League last season under the Aussie – a tall defender who had an outstanding club and international career after slipping through Mark McGhee’s fingers despite some promising trial games in 1996.

Wednesday, July 17: How bizarre it felt to switch on the TV this morning and watch Wolves playing Premier League opposition in China. Tuning into their hammering of Newcastle in Nanjing seemed far removed from all those friendlies in the past in Sweden, Austria and Portugal.

Saturday, July 20: Positively our last word on well-travelled physio Ian Liversedge, whose autobiography has provided us with a couple of handy tales these last few weeks…….Liversedge revealed in the story of his eventful life that, during his years in the dug-out at Oldham, he once faced Wolves in a Central League fixture in the mid-1980s. Typical of Molineux fortunes at the time, he went on from the bench and scored with his first touch in a 3-2 home win at Boundary Park.

Thursday, July 25: Has Molineux ever been hotter for a match than for tonight’s Europa League visit of Crusaders? It was sweltering. Good to be back in the routine nonetheless with a win that was a case of job-done rather than anything inspired. Saw Andy Thompson and Mel Eves in the press room as usual and it was good to have Willie Carr and Matt Murray among us for the evening, too.

Monday, July 29: Had the sad task of contacting Wolves Heroes co-owner John Richards to tell him of the death of John Dee and ask him to spread the news among his contemporaries. ‘Henry’, as we knew him on the circuit, was the Express & Star’s Molineux correspondent for much of the 1970s, his popularity underlined when JR and several other former players attended his 80th birthday bash three summers ago.

John Dee on the front cover of the book he brought out in 2016.

Thursday, August 1: It felt all quiet at Molineux today with the players away and attending to business in Belfast comfortably enough. Amazing to think that they are now going to be in Armenia next Thursday, only two and a half days before the start of their Premier League season.

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