Tales From The Tours

Pre-Season Memories Over The Decades

With Wolves once more in Iberia, we strike a topical note by looking back at ten notable pre-season matches the club have played overseas. We concentrate on friendlies played away from the home islands and, true to the nature of this site, on those played in the more distant past than in recent years.

Wolves’ players in West Germany in 1965 on their visit to face Kaiserslautern. From left: Dave Maclaren, Johnny Kirkham, Hugh McIlmoyle, George Miller, Bobby Woodruff, Peter Knowles, Les Wilson, Dave Woodfield, Terry Wharton (seated), Gerry Harris.

August 8, 1965: Kaiserslautern 2 Wolves 3 A touring party with a strong tartan element fulfilled Wolves’ first game since relegation and finished victorious. Two of the three Scots on view, George Miller and Hugh McIlmoyle, netted, the other goal coming from Peter Knowles. Auchterarder-born David Maclaren also lined up in a side managed by his countryman Andy Beattie.

August 4, 1970: Groningen 1 Wolves 0 Following two defeats in West Germany, Bill McGarry’s men were beaten again after crossing the border into Holland. The main feature of the game was the deployment of Frank Munro in goal as John Oldfield was injured and Phil Parkes went down with appendicitis. And Munro’s form was one of the brighter features.

July 27, 1972: Wolves 2 Everton 1 What might look like a top-flight result was in fact the outcome of a cup final in Gothenburg. John Richards and Kenny Hibbitt struck the match-winning goals as the club got their hands on the Rous Cup (donated and presented by FIFA president Sir Stanley Rous), as they did by beating Leicester in the final in the same city 12 months later.

July 27, 1978: Hvidovre 1 Wolves 5 A special night for Mel Eves in the Copenhagen suburbs as he hit a hat-trick during the last stop-off before home following five matches in Sweden. Willie Carr and Billy Rafferty were also on the score-sheet for Sammy Chung’s side but the manager’s job tenure was becoming increasingly shaky.

July 25, 1993: Ljungby 0 Wolves 3 A Sunday afternoon fixture remembered for all the wrong reasons, mainly because it was abandoned eight minutes from time after substitute Kevin Ashley broke an opponent’s leg with a poor challenge. The former Birmingham full-back was sent off and earlier goals by Lee Mills (2) and Paul Birch immediately seemed rather hollow.

July 24, 1998: Union Berlin 1 Wolves 2 This looks a better result now than it did 24 years ago, although there was a certain satisfaction at the time in the way goals by Carl Robinson and Paul Simpson overturned an early deficit. Union Berlin finally made it to the Bundesliga top flight for the first time in 2019 and qualified for the Conference League in May.

July 13, 1999: Hassleholm 2 Wolves 3 The first game the club played following the announcement that Steve Bull was being forced to retire because of persistent knee trouble. A sombre mood hung over the gold and black following in Southern Sweden as goals by Carl Robinson, Mark Jones and Robbie Keane secured a narrow victory in the evening sunshine.

July 31, 2001: Royal Antwerp 2 Wolves 2 Not too many pre-season games are marked by sendings-off, so midfielder Tony Dinning’s dismissal against Manchester United’s nursery club was notable. This was a one-off midweek visit rather than part of a tour and it looked like being a winning one when goals by Cedric Roussel (on his return to Belgium) and trialist David Suarez opened a 2-0 lead.

Dave Jones…a chastening experience in a country he knew well and liked.

July 18, 2002: Sporting Lisbon 5 Wolves 1 How Dave Jones loved a trip to Portugal, this slaughter in the sun bringing his chastened players into opposition to a young Cristiano Ronaldo. Wolves found themselves chasing shadows, not just the one belonging to the future Manchester United and Portugal star, with a Shaun Newton goal providing only brief respite.

July 11, 2009: Perth Glory 0 Wolves 1 Warrants a mention as it’s only the second time the club have ever landed Down Under. Thirty-seven years on from an exhausting tour of New Zealand and Oz in the Bill McGarry era, they returned to Western Australia under Mick McCarthy to win two matches out of two in their build-up to Premier League life, this one sealed by an early Sylvain Ebanks-Blake strike.

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