Are a new wave of strange patterns developing between Wolves and Newcastle?
We have written before about how results and even the dates of head-to-head games involving the two clubs took on unusual characteristics.
We referred to how David Instone’s Wolves 1970s Scrapbook highlighted how away victories proved highly elusive in meetings of the sides in that decade.
And to how the annual trek to St James’ Park always took place in August or September – an occurence we calculated to be a freakish 1-in-16,000 chance over the years in question. No-one has told us our maths was wrong but please take a look and do you own arithmetic!
The themes now aren’t as spectacular but they have been emerging nonetheless.
In nine meetings of the clubs since Wolves won the Championship in 2018, only one has brought an away win – when Nuno’s side scored late through Matt Doherty to seal a 2-1 victory on Tyneside in December of that year.
No fewer than six of those nine, including the one at Molineux in August that contained a last-minute Allan Saint-Maximin equaliser, have finished in 1-1 draws.
That was a less common result when the teams met in the 1970s, with the clubs clashing 17 times and the away side winning none of them.
There was some respite for Bill McGarry’s Wolves in 1974-75, though, with a 0-0 St James’ draw on the day of one of Gary Pierce’s recalls.
As for the timing of the fixture Julen Lopetegui’s men face tomorrow, it is the third successive season in which it will have been played at this time of year.
Newcastle won a home Friday night clash in early April in 2022 and there was a 1-1 draw at the end of February, 2021.
Now we have a mid-March meeting we hope will bring Wolves another step towards safety – and towards ensuring this particular rivalry will be resumed next season.