It started off as an on-field presentation, occasionally switched to other venues such as one of Wolverhampton’s best-known nightspots and then became concentrated on Molineux after Sir Jack Hayward’s spectacular stadium redevelopment a quarter of a century ago.
Still, though, the eagerly-awaited unveiling night for the club’s main Player of the Year award has had other homes, such as the Civic Hall in the middle of the 1990s and, in the last few years, the spacious and stylish Telford International Centre. So how many of the recipients can you remember? And you may be surprised by some of the omissions from the 1970s. Here’s the complete list and a reminder of who you may have forgotten……
Various of the photos below, especially the more recent ones, are courtesy of Wolves and we thank them for their cooperation. Fans looking to have a flutter can head over to bet365 and either place a bet on the team or on which players will be the goalscorers.
Promotion didn’t only come unexpectedly in local boy Graham Hawkins’ first season…….it came with a big smile on its face. The clown prince of keepers checked in at Molineux during a very troubled summer and quickly made himself a hero by keeping eight successive League clean sheets. He remained an ever-present and ended with a cabinet full of individual honours.
Molineux’s one-time record signing had plenty on his plate in the relegation campaign and carried off his duties brilliantly once more in his only ever-present term at the club. That the ‘goals against’ column rose significantly should not be interpreted as a slur on his reputation. The figure might have risen much higher had it not been for his heroics.
Thank goodness a club on the wane at the start of the new decade had such an accomplished last line of defence. Without the former Blackburn and England under-21 man, the slide might have become faster still. As in the previous season, he played right through until the final weeks (when Mick Kearns had a run) and was a star of the journey to the FA Cup semi-finals.
There was some stiff competition around in League Cup winning year, not least Wembley scorer Andy Gray and skipper Emlyn Hughes, but it was the striker’s compatriot and a third member of Molineux’s international set who got the nod from fans. Only in the final two games of the season did the little midfielder lose his ever-present status – what a reliable force he was.
The Player of the Year mantel passed from one home-grown former FA Youth Cup finalist to another during a season of Molineux transition; the one in which Sammy Chung’s long service to the club ended. The German-born Welsh international made a memorable debut in the title-clinching draw with Chelsea in 1977 but started to flourish a couple of seasons later.
A costly sending-off in the FA Cup at Highbury was only a temporary setback in a debut first-team season in which the powerful central defender didn’t enter the fray until the December. Such was the impact he made on a side battling to survive and consolidate in their first year back up that he became a regular alongside John McAlle – and even scored against Manchester City.
Was pictured on the front of the programme after being presented with the inaugural award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the club’s Second Division title-winning effort. He was one of no fewer than five players whose goal totals reached double figures and he appeared in 47 of the 48 League and cup games in that memorable season under Sammy Chung.