Richards Writes

A View From Within

John Richards.

When John Richards was taking his introductory steps in Wolves’ senior team, David Woodfield was on the verge of bowing out. By coincidence, the first three League games the young star played in were also the last three in which the stalwart centre-half appeared for the club.

Here, a couple of days before we post our promised article about Woodfield, the record-breaking striker reveals his memories of a man he was still to see plenty of…..

“I wouldn’t like to have gone up against ‘Duggie’ in his prime. I did face him many times in training, of course, but fortunately I was getting quicker by then and he was getting slower!

“He was certainly an imposing character. He was stocky as well as a decent height and he was uncompromising even in practice games because he believed in doing things right.

“He is one of the first players I have any recollection of at Wolves. He was captain in the first game I came down to play in for the reserves. We beat Derby 4-1 at Molineux in the spring of 1969 and he scored one goal and Jimmy Seal got the other three.

“I was taken on shortly after and played a lot of matches in the same side as Dave, mostly in the Central League because there weren’t many opportunities for him in the first-team defence by then with Frank Munro, John Holsgrove and John McAlle around.

“Although he was coming towards the end and had undergone a few operations, you could see he was a quality player. Playing in front of him taught me that.

“I’m sure that his professional attitude had much to do with his long career. He was a phenomenal trainer, fanatical really. He was the first in every morning and the last to leave.

“He was quite a sight on the circuit we had set up in the weights room and created the right example for the younger lads like myself.

Dave Woodfield heads clear in Wolves' game at Nottingham Forest in 1963.

“Because of the generation gap between us, I was never close to him socially – he was one of the married guys at a time when I was single. And I didn’t have any idea what his background was, even where he was from.

“He was a smashing guy but there’s something that has stayed with me all these years…..I never got round to finding out why we called him Duggie!”

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