A Success Story With A Dramatic Opening
Major Buckley’s decision to play 16-year-old wingers Alan Steen and Jimmy Mullen together against Manchester United in 1939 inevitably raised some eyebrows. There was also that extraordinary mid-journey departure from the team bus when Larry Kelly was told Terry Springthorpe was being preferred to him in the FA Cup final against Leicester ten years later. But, when it comes to sensationial Wolverhampton Wanderers team selections from across the decades, Barry Stobart’s inclusion in the Wembley showpiece against Blackburn is certainly right up there.
Much-loved Winger Who Lived To The Full
It’s at times like this that you are thankful for how much can be squeezed into a life. When asked in a BBC WM interview 18 months ago about the passing of his good childhood friend Davy Jones, of Monkees fame, Dave Wagstaffe spoke warmly but with apparent freedom from emotion by summing up: “He had a good life.”
We can say much the same now as the dust settles on the news we had feared hearing for several weeks; that Wolverhampton Wanderers’ best and best-loved winger since the halcyon days of Hancocks and Mullen had been taken from us at the age of 70.
Patient Local Boy Who Came Very Good
There’s a temptation to think that Wolves won every week in what has become fondly known as the glory years.
Not so. Page 82 of the 2002 book Forever Wolves shows Malcolm Finlayson floundering as he is beaten by South African Peter Hauser in a game played just over half a century ago. It is one of seven goals Stan Cullis’s side conceded on that embarrassing afternoon. With a certain poignancy, the photo is of a match at Blackpool and shows George Showell – clad in the club’s all white change strip – powerless in the background.
A Player And Story Teller Supreme
What do Phil Parkes, Geoff Palmer, Derek Parkin, Mike Bailey, Frank Munro, John McAlle, Kenny Hibbitt, John Richards, Derek Dougan and Dave Wagstaffe have in common? Answer: They all played upwards – in many cases a long way upwards – of 320 first-team matches for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Now what else links Parkes, Palmer, Parkin, Bailey, McAlle, Hibbitt, Richards, Dougan and Wagstaffe? Answer: They all had testimonials. Please note that Munro’s name is not on the second list.
Radical Thinker With A Rebellious Streak
David Burnside would have been 70 in December and a video about his life and times was already being prepared as part of his surprise party. There was no shortage of material. Forty-three competitive appearances and five goals for Wolverhampton Wanderers were only the start of it for a man who did things a little differently. So much so that he wanted to call the autobiography I was helping him write ‘Me And My Bad Attitude’.
A True Terrier And A Top Bloke
What worth is there now to the stroke of fortune Paul Birch enjoyed on the evening of his testimonial game in 1991? The good luck he had in timing his big night to coincide with the first hero’s return of David Platt to Aston Villa from a new life in Italy turned a healthy crowd in the Second City into a bumper one.