How’s This For Starters?

Kick-Off Day Is Here – And What Memories!

Opening-day joy for Wolves at Arsenal in 1963-64, although Ted Farmer’s effort here – watched by Terry Wharton – hits the woodwork.

So are Wolves in credit or deficit in opening-day fixtures across the full span of their history? And have they played more of them at Molineux or away? Time for some checking back in the record books…..

But first some curious facts:

*Wolves also visited Leeds on Championship kick-off day ten seasons ago and have been sent to Blackburn on the first afternoon three times in the last 20 years and also to Leicester twice in the last three seasons.

*Those coincidences make it no surprise that the club have had an away game first up four seasons in a row and nine times out of the last 12.

*Maybe we could safely predict that Bruno Lage’s men would be hitting the road this weekend. The clash with the Commonwealth Games helped see to it that there has been no Molineux pre-season friendly this summer – enough of a reason presumably for a home game to be difficult over the next few days, too.

*From a trip to Watford in August, 1991, Wolves started with a win eight times out of nine (and drew the other), having not won on the opening day in any of the previous eight seasons.

*Yorkshire has tended to suck Wolves in on this eagerly awaited afternoon of the football calendar. They also started at Sheffield United two seasons ago and at Rotherham in 2016-17 as well as at Elland Road in 2012-13.

*Bill McGarry’s side went to Newcastle on the opening day twice in three seasons in the early 1970s while the start of the 1980s included two visits from Liverpool in three seasons on this particular afternoon.

*Three times in five years from August, 1965, Wolves began with Midlands derbies – first at Coventry, then at home to Birmingham and Stoke.

*And Albion have been their opening-day opposition four times – in 1900-01, 1907-08, 1929-30 and 1955-56.

*Wolves’ first game of the 2012-13 campaign didn’t have points at stake – it was a Capital One League Cup meeting with Aldershot at Molineux.

Right, now to return to those questions at the top of this article…..

The difference in home and away fixtures on the first day is significant, with only 57 of around 123 having been played at Molineux. And the two figures are only as close together as they are because the club often seemed to start at home in the late 19th century.

Phil Parkes and John McAlle stave off danger on this occasion in Wolves’ first-day trip to Newcastle in the early 1970s but the trip proved a fruitless one, as it often did.

Happily, Wolves have generally kicked off well down the decades, winning well over 50 of their first-day fixtures and losing fewer than 40 of them.

*We are sorry to report that the 1960s Wolves reserve defender Roger Grice has passed away. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends and remind our readers that inserting his name into the search engine in the top right corner of this page will lead to an extended article on him, by Charles Bamforth.

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