Film Stars All Over Again!

A Curtain Call For Precious Footage

Don’t worry – the Belenenses footage is much clearer than this!

Maybe it was Saturday’s outstanding victory over Tottenham that did it. Well, a 2-1 win in London has a certain resonance in stepping up the countdown to the 50th anniversary of Wolves’ epic Wembley triumph over Manchester City.

And, by way of a sideways look at that League Cup final triumph – achieved, of course, by the same score – we are homing in on a distant success achieved early in that historic campaign.

The reason for our interest now is that rarely-seen footage of some of Wolves’ less remembered European adventures has resurfaced almost half a century on.

Two of the ties they played against Portuguese opposition in the wake of the ground-breaking victory away to Academica Coimbra in 1971 have become visible on Youtube in recent months.

Fifty seconds or so of the first-round first-leg 1973 UEFA Cup assignment in Lisbon against Belenenses can be accessed at Belenenses v Wolves UEFA Cup 1st Rd 1st Leg 26-09-1973 ( and appears in decent picture quality, albeit in black and white.

But Jim McCalliog might be displeased that we don’t see the through ball he played for John Richards to run clear and chip expertly over the body of the advancing keeper (Jose Mourinho’s dad, as it happens) to open the scoring in the first half.

It was a highly significant finish. A fit and ever-present Richards hadn’t scored since April and his run of League appearances without a goal would stretch to 11 before he struck in a defeat at Birmingham soon after. 

Thankfully, from the autumn, he remained in the groove until his March 2 winner at the twin towers to finish an injury-curtailed season with 18 Wolves goals. 

Richards was uncharacteristically sent off for retaliation in Belenenses, a home defender accompanying him on the walk of shame, but the evening nevertheless ended happily with a 2-0 victory.

And Derek Dougan’s killer second-half goal – a powerful far-post header on the run from a diagonal cross by Dave Wagstaffe – is well captured on the film.

Viewers are also treated to a couple of Gary Pierce saves and the apparent injustice of a Kenny Hibbitt header from McCalliog’s set-up being ruled out for offside when it should have been 3-0.

For those who don’t mind witnessing a game that ended in elimination, a click on Wolves v Porto UEFA Cup 1st Rd 2nd Leg 02-10-1974 ( will also be worthwhile. Following the win in Academica in the club’s first European tie for 11 seasons and then the triumph against Belenenses, this was the other side of the Portuguese coin.

As League Cup holders, Wolves were in the UEFA Cup for the third time in four years and the events of the away first leg in Oporto suggested the campaign would be brief.

Mike Bailey – a home and away scorer against Porto.

Despite a fine goal by Mike Bailey, the game ended in a 4-1 defeat but the damage was almost turned round by a stirring 3-1 home win at a sparsely populated Molineux.

The footage is again in black and white and, like that from Belenenses, has narration in Portuguese. It starts with skipper Bailey rerouting in a Richards shot following a free-kick and, after the disappointment of an unkindly deflected equaliser, come second-half headers from Steve Daley and Dougan that swept the side to the brink of a famous rescue act.

Sadly, Bill McGarry’s men fell just short and Dougan, having overtaken Peter Broadbent as Wolves’ highest scorer in European competition, would score only one more first-team goal for the club – in the League at Middlesbrough the following Saturday.

Thank goodness he and others had that 1974 League Cup final to savour before they departed.

We thank Pattingham-based Wolves Paul Davies – a lover of film from matches in that era – for alerting us to these newly-available clips.



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