On this corresponding day in 1993, the clamour to reach Geoff Thomas was all about asking him about his Wolves debut the next day – or wishing him well for it.
All these seasons on, he is still much in demand; the second half of his life, as he puts it, is every bit as fulfilling and successful as the first. It was just the year or two in between that were tough and extremely challenging.
I was surprised to land a ‘hit’ first time with a cold call. And he had just stepped off a train, not the vehicle with which he is most closely associated these days, a bike.
“Just got to New Street Station,” he cheerfully discloses. “On my way to a couple of meetings.” Welcome back to the world of Geoff Thomas.
More will become clear in the coming months about the reason for our approach. Suffice to say for now that it is a matter we look forward to following through and hopefully to having a face-to-face meeting with him in the autumn.
Football doesn’t play a huge role in his life these days, although he said: “I see what I am allowed to on TV and have enjoyed watching my daughter’s boyfriend, who is back from a spell in Australia and playing for Halesowen.
“I find myself more attracted to going to that sort of game than those higher up but I still follow things with interest. I am so busy now with Cure Leukaemia and the money-raising side of my life and the only times I would go back to Palace, Wolves or Forest is if they are doing something and ask me to be there.
“With Gareth Southgate doing so well with England, though, I was called several times during the Euros, including by BBC 5Live and Sky News and for doing interviews on Zoom. We were covering the Tour de France course at the time, so having that exposure worked well as it brought us such good publicity.
“Also, Gareth was absolutely brilliant at sending us video messages of support while we were on the ride. He’s a top bloke….and always was when we were at Palace together.
“Looking back on my football career still feels great but getting to Paris and raising a million pounds for the charity – with the huge encouragement of Gareth Southgate and many others – was like winning the FA Cup.”
Worcester-based Thomas received an MBE in the Queen’s Honours List this summer and celebrated by cycling, for the fifth time, the Tour course a few days before the professionals – 21 stages and 3,384km to be pretty exact.
It was and is a stupendous effort (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Geoff-GT-15), with more than a dozen amateurs pedalling away with him in support of the Cure Leukaemia cause.
“Thankfully, we’ve had a really good year at the charity, in a year that might have been very difficult,” the 57-year-old added of a cause understandably close to his heart after his diagnosis in 2003.
Our time will hopefully come to talk Wolves with Geoff in the coming weeks and as we say our goodbyes, we wonder whether he remembers that he was counting off the hours on this day 28 years ago.
That was the weekend of his successful Wolves debut in a 3-1 Molineux win over Bristol City. Like we said, there is more to discuss and ask……