Derek Dougan hardly showered Bill McGarry with praise over the latter years of their time together at Wolves. But the manager undoubtedly did him a favour following one of the more controversial episodes in the striker’s colourful career.
Long after Wolves were done with their series of high-profile floodlit games, McGarry arranged a mid-season friendly with a difference in 1969-70 as the club were preparing for FA Cup third-round day.
By agreeing to a fixture at Bournemouth on the freezing Tuesday night of December 30, he was surely doing more than just honouring home right-winger Ray Bumstead in his testimonial season.
Sure enough, a check in the record books confirms that Dougan had then just completed what now seems a draconian eight-week suspension imposed for two early-season sendings-off against Sheffield Wednesday and Everton – and was in urgent need of match practice.
Wolves were playing four days later in the third-round of the Cup at Burnley, where Doog always seemed to do well. He had scored in both of his only two previous visits there with the club.
And McGarry had another Turf Moor specialist, Jim McCalliog, in his ranks. Starting in the autumn of 1969, the Scot scored in each of his first three League games against Burnley as a Wolves player.
Little wonder, then, that McGarry took special measures in the countdown to Cup day. McCalliog was suffering from flu and was left behind when Wolves headed for Lancashire on the Friday but, with an improvement apparent overnight, a car whisked him north on match-day so he could play.
So where did all this planning lead Wolves? It would seem fitting to recount that they made it to the fourth round, at least. Alas not.
On a frosty pitch, they crashed out to three goals in the final 17 minutes from a side including Steve Kindon and Molineux-scout-to-be Dave Merrington. Maybe that long post-Christmas haul to the South Coast wasn’t such a bright idea after all.
As so often happens, Wolves were back at Turf Moor in the League the following week. This time, they won 3-1 and McCalliog scored.
Dougan remained stuck in the slow lane for the rest of his troubled season, though. He netted only another four times and two of those were in the Anglo-Italian Cup.
The Burnley side in the Cup tie included a debutant striker called David Wilson, who was born in Wolverhampton and had previously played for Walsall.