Watched By The Eyes Of The Football World

A Wolves Pledge – United They Must Stand!

Norman Deeley – one of the scourges of Old Trafford towards the end of Wolves’ glory years.

Wolves’ Monday night start to 2023-24 means they will be under the microscope like rarely before when they set foot on Old Trafford tomorrow.

This is no shared spotlight…..theirs is the only game of the day or night in this country and the fame of their opponents will help ensure a huge TV audience, across the globe as well as domestically.

It is a tough opener for Gary O’Neil and his men but, in the build-up, we have delved into the record books to come up with eight happy past trips to Manchester United – a small way in which we can maybe create a better mindset among supporters.

Monday, April 21, 1958: United 0 Wolves 4 Matt Busby’s players, then under the temporary management of Jimmy Murphy in the wake of the Munich tragedy, gave Wolves a guard of honour to welcome them on to the pitch as newly-crowned First Division champions and were then swept aside by them through goals from Peter Broadbent, Eddie Clamp, Noman Deeley and Ron Flowers.

Saturday, March 5, 1960: United 0 Wolves 2 Stan Cullis’s men were pushing hard for a third successive League title triumph when they prevailed again at the home of their arch rivals of the 1950s. Deeley and 21-year-old debutant Barry Stobart supplied the goals and, although the crown proved a step too far, both played at Wembley when the FA Cup final provided handsome compensation.

Saturday, September 24, 1960: United 1 Wolves 3 Winger Gerry Mannion had also played for the first time in the above victory. This follow-up clash six months on was an occasion for another new boy to savour, Ted Farmer netting twice and Des Horne once to shock most in a crowd of more than 44,000.”With venomous joy and unashamed elation, I raced around celebrating,” Farmer wrote in his autobiography.

Saturday, September 30, 1961: United 0 Wolves 2 A clear-cut fourth Wolves win at the ground in five visits in the space of three and a half years, secured by goals from Stobart and Johnny Kirkham; a surprise one, as well, maybe, given that the club would finish in a disappointing 18th position – albeit only three places below their hosts.   

Winning at Old Trafford, 1972 style. John Richards celebrates his goal. The photo is taken from Granada TV’s coverage of Wolves’ 3-1 win.

Saturday, January 8, 1972: United 1 Wolves 3 What a triumph this was after seven first-team trips to Old Trafford without a win, five of them without a goal being scored by those in gold. Frank O’Farrell’s side were top but Wolves were on a brilliant run, ten unbeaten and with a settled side. They tore into United and went three up through Derek Dougan, John Richards and Jim McCalliog (penalty). Job done!

Saturday, March 6, 1976: United 1 Wolves 1 Only a draw but this FA Cup quarter-final clash was a stirring affair – and a personal triumph for Phil Parkes. The keeper had one of his best games for relegation-bound Wolves and it took a late deflection to beat him in front of 59,000 enthralled spectators after John Richards’s second-half deadlock breaker.

Saturday, February 9, 1980: United 0 Wolves 1 For much longer than we wanted, the fine right-foot shot Mel Eves propelled high into the Scoreboard End net was the last KO blow Wolves landed on these opponents at this venue. John Barnwell’s men were terrific travellers that season – not least at Wembley – and who would have thought they would go for so long without winning again at Old Trafford?

Monday, January 3, 2022: United 0 Wolves 1 Joao Moutinho was a stadium specialist, having crashed in a left-foot beauty for the equaliser three seasons earlier, so maybe the terrific late cross-shot he powered past David de Gea with his right shouldn’t have been a surprise. As in 1979-80, Wolves were a real force on the road – just ask Villa, Brighton, Tottenham, Chelsea and others. 


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