I don’t know if I should admit this, but I have cried over the Wolves on three occasions…
The first was the most inconsequential of games, when we lost 4-1 on a plastic pitch against Oldham in 1990. It was a year or two after we won the third division, there was nothing riding on it, but I couldn’t comprehend us losing. As a 10-year-old boy, I literally couldn’t deal with the shock of defeat. Spoilt little brat!I then shed a tear in 2002 when me and Dad sat in the Billy Wright Stand to see our promotion dream die on a video wall. Dad looked weary and I felt bloody sorry for him.
The third time was an altogether more uplifting experience, as I watched seven heroes of yesteryear get inducted into the Wolves Hall of Fame at Molineux.
Being a Wolves fan never felt so humbling, uplifting or downright emotional, as legend after legend were celebrated in front of an adoring family.
Billy Harrison of 1908 FA Cup fame was commemorated by ex-E & S sports editor Steve Gordos, before Bill Slater, Bert Williams and Peter Broadbent were inducted into the hall.
The appetite for each anecdote and story was more insatiable than the hunger for the three course meal, and each memory swelled your levels of pride to unheralded levels.
Hearing Micky Stowell talk about Bert Williams’ England jerseys in a mouse nibbled cardboard box made you smile, while Broadbent’s wife Shirley made you cry with laughter, as she talked of pulling her flirty husband in the Civic Hall.
But the tears really started to well up when Skipper Mike Bailey took to the stage, his barrel chest hidden behind self deprecation.
Derek Parkin and Kenny Hibbitt waxed lyrical about Bailey’s indefatigable spirit, talent, and penchant for bursting opponents into the Waterloo Stand, when necessary of course. Arguably the best captain the club has had, although Bailey wasn’t having any of that.
He said he didn’t feel worthy, when the reality was that half the room didn’t feel fit to be in the great man’s company.
And then came King John Richards, who Dave Wagstaffe couldn’t believe would ever succeed at the club, being as he never drank, smoked or gambled!
Phil Parkes recalled a time when the players trained at Molineux on the morning of a game against Everton. After killing two pigeons at the back of the South Bank with such wayward shooting, Parkes was quick to take the piss.
But typically, Richards scored a 20 yard screamer during the game, and ran back to the halfway line to flick Phyllis the finger! (he scored a hat-trick and we won 4-2)Graham Turner was the last man inducted into the hall, another genuine legend who was quick to downplay his achievements.
“I feel like a fraud being here,” he said. Nobody agreed with him. Certainly not Andy Mutch or Thommo, who recalled one or two lighter moments of their time with GT.
Once in a team meeting, David Barnes rubbed liquorish into his teeth and gave Mutchy a big goofy smile, bearing teeth like a dirty set of piano keys.
Mutchy got the giggles, and Turner got the yips, flinging tea cups at saucers at his head, narrowly missing a confused Robbie Dennison, before he kicked his chair back and went to storm out the room.
The only problem was that Mutchy had vaselined the door handle, thus depriving Turner of the dramatic exit he craved, cue more anger!
All in all, an evening to make you proud to be a Wolves fan and so grateful to support a club with so many unassuming stalwarts. Enough to make a grown man cry.
Up the Wolves!