Food For Euro Thought

Would Peter Have Made All The Difference?

Peter Knowles – displaying the style that was lost to foreign fields.

Here’s a thought……would Steve Daley’s pre-Ferencvaros arrival in Wolves’ first team have been delayed if Peter Knowles had not retired?

Might Bill McGarry’s highly entertaining side even have gone the extra step and won the UEFA Cup in 1972 had they not been rocked by the pull of the Jehovah’s Witness movement?

We will never know but, in these exciting early Europa League weeks at Molineux, the two Yorkshiremen have, by coincidence, both been featured in a magazine that contains other links to Wolves and to various Continental tournaments.

Daley has been interviewed at length about the Pole who helped frustrate England at Wembley in 1973 and who later became a talented, valued team-mate of his at Manchester City.

His two-page appreciation of the late Kazimierz Deyna, who captained the visitors in that notorious World Cup qualifier 46 years ago, appears in the latest issue of Backpass, which also pays fresh tribute to Knowles half a century on from his Molineux walk-out.

Steve Gordos, who authored the God’s Footballer book about the inside-forward’s astonishing career and life, has also provided the words for this affectionate three-page feature. It comes complete with six photos, one of them showing Knowles with his arm round Harry Redknapp as they celebrate England’s success in the Little World Cup of 1964.

It is generally accepted that the genial maverick would have peaked around the time of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico had he stayed and would therefore have had plenty left in the tank for Wolves’ goal-filled assault on Europe a year and a bit later.

And a look down the fondly-recalled names from that run remind us that Wolves could have been stronger still with Knowles – and with others like Daley emerging to challenge for places.

There might even have been a family rivalry to have inspired a little extra, Spurs including older brother Cyril at left-back in both legs of the UEFA Cup final.

Both of the Backpass subjects are from South Yorkshire, Daley making his senior debut in a home win over Southampton in the autumn of 1971, just over two years after the last of Knowles’s 191 first-team appearances. The youngster didn’t face Tottenham but famously scored in record time in the home leg of the semi-final against Ferencvaros.

The Gordos article is accompanied by one from Wolves Heroes co-owner David Instone that pinpoints what happened to Knowles’s ten team-mates from his final game – a 3-3 home draw with Nottingham Forest in the first weekend of September, 1969.

Backpass costs £4.70 and the new issue, number 66, has Burnley’s Ray Pointer on the front. That’s because Wolves’ most recent Premier League visitors are the subject of a lengthy spotlight in which Steve Kindon – on corporate duty at Molineux three days ago – and Dave Thomas are named in a list of Turf Moor’s all-time top players.

Elsewhere in the high-quality 64 pages are a three-paragraph reference to Rob Kelly, who is waiting and wondering whether Malmo and Wolves might be in the same Europa League group if both go through successfully this week, and a humorous reference to some Kilmarnock reporters who, earlier in this season’s competition, were guilty of counting their chickens before they were hatched.

Steve Daley – made his Wolves debut in the season of the club’s run to the UEFA Cup final.

There is also an obituary on Sammy Chapman while David Instone’s visit to Merseyside to interview 1950s Everton favourite Jimmy Harris reveals that he was a scourge of Wolves and also an Inter-Cities Fairs Cup finalist with Birmingham, courtesy of an unlikely semi-final win over Inter Milan.

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