Something To Throw Into The Mix

Molineux Legend On Radical Law-Change Proposals

Ron Flowers…….was open-minded on a would-be new rule that would have threatened defenders.

From the annals of the Sporting Star comes a reminder of a fundamental football law change that was apparently given some consideration almost 60 years ago.

It’s one the present generation may find difficult to visualise as a starter but it had merit in the eyes of a huge Molineux voice of the time.

Ron Flowers was not only Wolves captain but also very much still part of the England set-up – a status that made him quite a catch as the Pink’s guest writer from the club, with Stan Jones (Albion), John Sleeuwenhoek (Villa), Ken Hodgkisson (Walsall) and Arthur Rowley (Shrewsbury) performing the same task elsewhere on the patch.

In his column of February 18, 1965, the heroic wing-half spoke of possible changes to the offside law; ones that had been explored in training sessions during an England get-together involving he and Bobby Thomson at Lilleshall that week.

But he also commented on alternative proposals that would have had defending teams under a considerably greater potential threat when the ball went out of play.

“Much more likely to have an effect in the game in my view (rather than tinkering with the offside laws) would be the substitution of the kick for the throw from touch,” he wrote.

“This seemed to me to have something to commend it. For instance, players defending tightly would think twice about turning the ball into touch if it were to lead directly to a kick right into their goalmouth – the equivalent of a corner.

“It is not every club, remember, who have long throwers like our own Bobby Woodruff. Old-timers tell me the penalty for a foul throw used to be a free-kick. But this was changed over 30 years ago, probably because it was felt the punishment was out of proportion to the crime.

This art, as demonstrated by Bobby Woodruff, might have become a thing of the past in the mid-1960s.

“But if it were the same for both sides, it could be interesting.”

Flowers’ comments came on the day Wolves suffered an unfortunate and damaging 2-1 defeat at Liverpool in their battle to avoiud relegation under the stewardship of Andy Beattie.

The skipper, with the debutant Ken Knighton as fellow half-back, was in outstanding form as the First Division’s bottom club took an unexpected early lead through Woodruff, only for the home side to be ahead through Roger Hunt and Chris Lawler shortly past the hour mark in front of a 40,000 crowd.

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