In what was described as a ‘wistful’ glance back at the Texaco Cup, Wolves fanatic Jim Heath referred to the competition in a When Saturday Comes article a decade ago as ‘a kind of British Isles Cup for also-rans.’ He also said it heralded the game’s modernisation, with corporate sponsorship being cautiously welcomed in the form of the £100,000 the oil giant sunk into the venture.
Texaco Cup Heroics: Part One
It didn’t have the glamour of the following season’s campaign – and certainly not the same reach – but Wolves’ winning crusade in one of football’s long-neglected competitions might just have been a leg-up to UEFA Cup success. By popping up to Scotland and over to Northern Ireland, their players became more familiar not only with travelling and living together, but also with the two-leg combat that was largely alien to them.
Phil Parkes bowled mean and quick and Ron Flowers brought as much Yorkshire grit to the cricket pitch as he did to the old gold, approached as he was to play at county level. But, whereas Lofty and Flowers became Wolves legends, Ian Hall achieved far more in white flannels than ever he did at Molineux. And yet, as a youngster, he seemed destined to reach the very top in the winter game.
Competitive European football returned to Molineux in 1971-72 after a traumatic ten-year absence. During the barren decade, the fortunes of the club had sharply declined, including two seasons spent playing second-tier football after relegation in 1965.
The low-key Molineux friendly against Athletico Bilbao that preceded Wolves’ 2010-2011 campaign will not linger long in the memory. The contrast in interest and anticipation could hardly be greater to the response to the inaugural fixtures against foreign opposition back in the 1950s, when Molineux became the epicentre of British football.
John Lalley Hails The FA Cup Winners
A wind of change was sweeping through Britain in 1960. The prim austerity of the 1950s was slowly but inexorably being engulfed by the outset of the ‘swinging sixties’ and 1960 was the year that Penguin Books were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act after their publication of the D H Lawrence classic ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover.’ Representing the Crown, Mervyn Griffith Jones QC asked the jury with a magnificent exposition of pomposity: “Is this the kind of book you would wish your wife or servants to read?”
Lalley On Barney’s League Cup Triumph
When John Barnwell became Wolves’ manager in 1978, he joined a club facing a relegation battle. Immediately, though, he turned fortune on its head, kept them in the top division and gave us an unlikely FA Cup semi-final appearance against Arsenal, a club he had served with distinction as a player.
Where Opportunity Refused To Knock
American Dream Of Kid Wolves Discarded
In the list of players Wolverhampton Wanderers have allowed to get away over the years – and there have been a few, like Alan Ball, Bob Wilson and Charlie Nicholas – the name of Dave Clements figures high. The Ulsterman was an apprentice at Molineux in Stan Cullis’ final season there and made it as far as Wolves’ reserve team.