It’s there in the records in black and white, with more than a tinge of gold, of course….
If you want a long and happy stay as a player at Wolverhampton Wanderers, be or become a full-back.
No other positions in the team are better represented at the top of the club’s all-time record appearance-makers’ list than those traditionally associated with shirt numbers two and three.
Look down the all-star roster under the heading ‘Legends’ above and you will see a disproportionate number of players from that department of the side represented.
Most Wolves fans will be aware that Derek Parkin leads the way with his colossal total of 609 League and cup appearances – 35 more than his nearest challenger, Kenny Hibbitt.
But the names of plenty of fellow full-backs appear in his slipstream, among them his long-time Molineux partner, Geoff Palmer, who is in eighth place with his 496 matches.
Andy Thompson, having initially been seen as a midfielder when signed on the same day in 1986 as Steve Bull, totalled 451 senior games for the club – the vast majority at full-back – and eight rungs beneath him is the 19th-placed Bill Shorthouse, who played a substantial slab of his Wolves career in the no 2 or no 3 shirt.
Mark Venus is another who was seen as a full-back here before being used elsewhere in the line-up (in central defence and even in midfield) but Jackery Jones, Lee Naylor and Eddie Stuart – three more men among Wolves’ top 30 appearance-makers – were very much recognised as right-backs or left-backs.
All of which brings us to the present day and Matt Doherty, who used the first two months of his second Wanderers coming to move level with another long-time occupant of his position, Ted Collins, on 307 appearances – and to go past him with his starting role in today’s win at Bournemouth.
The Irishman has also this season overtaken one of his former Wolves team-mates, David Edwards, and now has another, Conor Coady, in his sights.
The two are currently separated by nine matches as well as two places in the list.
And we can conclude therefore that the equivalent of a full team of Wolves full-backs appear in the club’s top three dozen appearance-makers, with Bobby Thomson in 36th spot.
At the same time, there are only five wingers among the group unless we also drag Kenny Hibbitt into that category. In relative terms and considering each team have only one, goalkeepers figure more prominently, with Mike Stowell, Bert Williams, Phil Parkes and Tom Baddeley all in the top 36.