Ireland The Photographer – Our Proof!

Chairman’s Exclusive Tour Pictures

Skipper Jimmy Melia introduces his players to dignitaries on Wolves' 1964 Caribbean tour. Nearest the camera are Johnny Kirkham and Graham Hawkins.

For more than 20 years, he loyally followed Wolves overseas as well as across the length and breadth of Great Britain.

And on more trips than he cared to remember, he clicked away at his camera to bring his loved ones an insight into the various points on the globe that the club visited.

But until now, John Ireland’s photography has not been on public ‘display’ – a subject of amusement among many of the players he befriended during his time on the board from the mid 1950s to 1976.

Dave Wagstaffe even joked in his book ‘Waggy’s Tales’ that the long-time former Molineux chairman must have forgotten to put a film in his camera, so used were they to see him snapping away and then, back home, fail to show them the results of his efforts.

But, thanks to the kindness of the Ireland family, we can now fulfil the promise we made several weeks ago to publish a few photos from the extensive travels he made in the gold and black cause.

The late businessman, who lived in Tettenhall, went to Russia, America and the Caribbean on club duty, among other destinations, and actually left behind a handsome collection of colour slides, some of which Wolves Heroes have had converted to printed pictures.

He took a dozen or more photos on Wolves’ eight-match tour of the West Indies in the summer of 1964 and was even busier when they played ten games in America and Canada during the previous close season.

A trilby-clad Stan Cullis is joined on the bench in Vancouver by Bill Shorthouse and Wolves' substitutes at a 1963 tour match in America.

Ireland, a qualified referee who carried out fire-watching duties at Molineux during the war and slept at the ground, had the then main stand named after him in 1982-83 by the Derek Dougan regime.

He was well liked by the players and prided himself on being so devoted to Wolves that he turned down chances to serve on the management committees of both the FA and the Football League.

Wolves Heroes will be using more of his photos in the coming months.

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