Wolves’ performance could have been a whole lot better. And it goes without saying that the result certainly could.
But good humour and conviviality always fill a room when former team-mates get back together and the mood was no different when a quintet of Molineux youngsters of early 1980s vintage staged a fond reunion at yesterday’s game against Huddersfield.
There was a ‘Made in Australia’ feel to the occasion as it was called during the latest trip home made by Gary Cutler, a good friend of Frank Munro and Brian Garvey for several decades, both from these parts and Down Under.
Cutler was the only one of those in attendance who didn’t make graduate from Wolves’ youth set-up to the first team, Mick Matthews (83 games), Hugh Atkinson (52), Bob Coy (47) and Dale Rudge (29) having totalled more than 200 senior appearances between them.
“This get-together was arranged a good few weeks ago to coincide with Gary being over here,” said Matthews this afternoon.
“I believe he also has a game of golf set up with Dale Rudge before he flies back and he does well with helping keep us together.
“When I was over in Melbourne a couple of years ago, Mick Holifield and I caught a flight to see him for a couple of days in Cairns, where he works in advertising.
“Martin Patching was due to be with us yesterday but had to cry off in the morning as his mother is unwell, so we hope we can arrange something similar again.
“I grew up at the club with most of those lads, with Patch a couple of years older and Gary younger by about the same length of time. There was talk of us trying to relocate John Humphrey as well. He has gone off the radar again in the last year or two.”
The group, completed by a trio of Cutler’s friends from near Kidderminster, met on match-day lunchtime at the Holiday Inn at Dunstall racecourse, where some of them stayed over last night.
But Matthews was back at work today and, when we spoke by phone, was about to watch a Sheffield United v Leeds age-group game by taking his place in the Jamie Vardy Stand at Stocksbridge Park Steels – the non-League club that helped develop both the Leicester legend and the former Wolves striker Lee Mills.
Matthews, Rudge, Coy and Atkinson were also at Molineux in July for the Stan Cullis Stand signing session that marked the launch of Kenny Hibbitt’s autobiography.
“Although yesterday obviously wasn’t one of the team’s better days, it was great to see Molineux on a match day with that excitement and expectancy,” Matthews added.
“Having some corporate hospitality, as we did in a box near the corner of the Steve Bull and Stan Cullis Stands, is a lovely way of watching football but part of me also wanted to step out from behind the glass and among the fans outside so I could feel the full atmosphere.”