Top Of The Pile Down Under

Crowe The Star Of Thrilling Last-Gasp Escape

The blond-haired Chris Crowe troubles John Lyall and other West Ham defenders at Upton Park in August, 1962.

From Australia comes an appreciation with a difference of the late former Wolves inside-forward Chris Crowe.

We were surprised to check our in-box and find a long message out of the blue detailing the player’s impact on Sydney club Auburn in the late 1960s.

Keen football fan John Shelvey, who has roots in London as well as Down Under, brought the success of Crowe’s spell in Australia to our attention, writing: “At the time, I followed Auburn and watched most of their home games.

“I remember it was said at the time that Chris and his family were hoping to stay in Australia but his wife couldn’t settle there and wanted to return home.

“Deep into the season, the club were in great danger of being relegated to the second division and Chris, their star player, was under pressure from the missus to go home.

“But he was reported in the papers as saying he wouldn’t leave Sydney until his team were safe from the drop and stayed when his wife and child flew back to England.

“Results didn’t show much improvement and with only a few matches remaining, Auburn looked pretty much dead and gone. Eventually, it came down to the last match, which was at home. Win or be relegated.

“Chris scored direct from a corner and had a hand in a second goal in a 2-1 win that saved the club. I believe he flew out of Sydney the next day, job done. He was a very special player.”

A souvenir of the player in Wolves garb.

John identifies another star Auburn player as being Liam Brady’s brother Frank, who played for them in defence alongside Garry Marston, the son of Joe Marston, who became the first Aussie to appear in the FA Cup final when lining up for Preston against Albion at Wembley in 1954.

We had hoped to hear that John had been around to watch Wolves’ game in Sydney in 1972 – alas, he was back in the UK then for a while.

Crowe, who won his sole senior England cap while at Wolves in the first half of the 1960s, scored 24 goals in 85 first-team appearances while at Molineux.

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