Hinton Hits The Target Once More

Stirring Story Of Success and Heartbreak

From Albion and Manchester City rivalling Wolves for his signature to Johnny Kirkham being robbed while on tour in America to Jimmy Murray playing the role of coach driver to carry out a prank…..

From Steve Daley starring and scoring against New York Cosmos in Seattle Sounders’ Transatlantic Cup conquest 40 years ago to a threat of court action from Derek Dougan to confirmation of how Kenny Hibbitt became a star in America, too….

There is a lot in Alan Hinton’s autobiography and it packs a proper punch.

Well, how many Black Countrymen have won the League Championship twice, picked up England caps and been a huge success in football on the other side of the Atlantic as well?

This has been one stellar career; the playing part of it formed under the tutelage of Stan Cullis, improved by the unique ways of Clough and Taylor and rewarded with appearances at the beck and call of Alf Ramsey. Anyone who gave service to those three has a serious story to tell and the mercurial former winger delivers hugely.

Some Wolves followers have the 1964 decision to sell Hinton to Nottingham Forest in part-exchange for Dick Le Flem as one of Cullis’s worst moves and nothing that subsequently happened to the Wednesbury lad in the East Midlands is likely to change that perception.

Numerous star contributors to Triumph & Tragedy (Geoffrey Publications, £20) call him a better crosser of the ball than David Beckham – with either foot, no less.

He was also something of a penalty specialist, which would have made him a valued figure in the Manchester United legend’s era, the three senior caps and seven under-23 appearances he totalled representing sparse reward for talents that had him in contention at one point for a place in the 1966 World Cup squad.

Hinton then made the potentially awkward move from Forest to Derby and flourished to such a degree that he helped the Rams win promotion to the top division and then be crowned champions of it thanks to Wolves’ victory over Leeds on a pulsating night in May, 1972.

This is a powerful read, particularly the sections relating to the loss of Alan and wife Joy’s eldest child, Matthew, to cancer at the age of nine.

The author had played a smaller role when Derby lifted another title, this time under Dave Mackay, and football understandably took a back seat for a while after that unthinkable heartache and there was a descent into drinking. But an inspiring figure from the clothes industry – in which the couple had also achieved some success – issued the stark warning that he needed to get his head up and reset for the sake of daughter Tanya.

Fresh opportunities came in America, where Hinton proved a massive success in Tulsa, Seattle and Tacoma, and across the border with Vancouver Whitecaps, where he formed a firm friendship with Les Wilson that endures to today.

Alan Hinton (right) with co-writer Charles Bamforth and (centre) former Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann.

The text, written with the help of frequent Wolves Heroes contributor Charles Bamforth, contains any number of highly readable anecdotes about Molineux personnel, not to mention life with two men who strongly influenced Hinton’s own flair for man-management, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor.

If this book isn’t among your presents tomorrow, may we suggest you give every consideration to redirecting any vouchers or monetary gifts in its direction. We are 180 pages in and loving it!

*Still on a publication theme, if any of our readers have enquired by email about David Instone’s Wolves 1970s Scrapbook and think there has been no answer, can we advise that they check their spam folders as a number of replies to other customers appear to have ended up there. Please can we also ask that interested parties re-enquire and this time include a phone number, so we have another means of making contact by return.

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