Wolves Blog Postcard Stop #7 – Melksham, Wiltshire

First of all, I would just like to say how chuffed I am to have received the Wolves Blog Postcard!

doog

It came as a bit of a shock to me, when I was thinking about what to write for this blog, that it is coming up to the 45th Anniversary of when I first fell under the spell of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.

April 15th 1969. Wolves at home to Coventry City.

Doog headshotI’ve told the story in a previous blog. It was the day that I had the bizarre photograph taken that appears next to my attempts at wit and wisdom on the blog. The game finished 1-1, it wasn’t a particularly good match. Peter Knowles stood out as a potential George Best impersonator but, that apart, there was not much to report…

Except that a seed had been sown inside the heart of the callow youth that I was then which over the years has grown into a full blown love affair.

Up until then I had watched Birmingham City play a couple of times (Francis, Latchford et al) without really being grabbed by the vitals. And, because I was born and bred there, Oxford United when ‘Big Ron’ was their captain. I think everyone is allowed ‘another team’ and Oxford United is certainly that for me. I admit that I went to Wembley a few years back when they got back into the Football League through the play offs and shouted myself hoarse with the best of them.

But when it all boils down to it, Oxford is like a member of the family. A brother that I was brought up with.

It was there, I was there.

But when you become REALLY involved with a football team, it’s like getting hooked on drugs.

Or falling in love with your mistress – or toyboy.

It’s a decision that you choose to make and, whatever the consequences of that decision, you are stuck with it.

For life!

Doog postcard 2

You’ll have great highs – Stuffing Arsenal 5-1 in the snow, beating Leeds 2-1 when they were odds on to win the double, watching The Doog or Waggy or Johnny Richards or Bully in their pomp.

And you’ll have gut-wrenching lows – we all know what they have been like. I’m not prepared to start listing them here.

But even when your lover – your drug of choice – is treating you like shit…. you still go crawling back.

And, over all these years, that’s the way it’s been for me.

Being a Wolves fan is a difficult business. But some poor sucker has to do it and it might just as well be me.

…And you lot aren’t going to get away with it either!

Doog postcard 3

But even us Wolves fans have a right to be optimistic and right now I certainly am.

I am beginning to think that this time it could be the start of something really good.

As such, I raise a metaphorical glass of alcoholical (?!) Yellow Tail to the man who has been largely responsible for the upturn in our fortunes.

Kenny Jackett!

And another glass – let’s make it real this time – to the members of his ‘Worldwide Barmy Army’.

US!!!!!!

Cheers all!

Doog postcard 1

The pictures show what a beautiful part of the World I live in, steeped in history and with strange, ancient links to The Wolves.

Silbury Hill is one of the enigmas of the ancient World. A vast monolith. Nobody really knows why it’s there or what use it was – a bit like a certain Chief Executive we all know and love.

The stones at Avebury have stood, unmoving, for centuries. Just like The Wolves defence of the last couple of seasons (Not now though).

The White Horse at Alton Barnes overlooks the crop circle centre of (and the best pub in) the Universe and is the highest point in Wiltshire… Top!

Wolves Blog Postcard Stop #5 – Melbourne, Australia

After getting lost for months in the back and beyond of Chile, the Wolves Blog Postcard has traveled across the South Pacific to Melbourne, where our very own Ash K (Ashley Kausman) was waiting with open arms.

Ashley Australia

How does an 8 year old boy in Melbourne, Australia become a Wolves fan when the year is 1970 and there are no live games shown, no internet, no Wolves Blog?

We used to get Match of the Day on a Saturday morning – a week after the match was played. The telecast was in black and white, so even if the commentators mentioned “old gold”, I probably did not have an accurate idea of team colours.

The local Australian Rules Football teams had nick-names like Lions, Hawks, Bombers, and it just didn’t make sense to me to cheer for a team called “City” or “Town” or “United”. So the “Wolves” became my team. Apart from the occasional game on Match of the Day, the only information that I really had was to check the scores and tables in Monday morning’s papers.

Ash K

My relationship was further cemented when I went to high school and a number of the kids followed English Football more closely. Whilst most were Man U, Derby, Arsenal and Liverpool supporters, I discovered a friend (Darren) who not only followed Wolves, but regularly received match day programs – My year 8 school folders were covered with pictures from the programs – I recall one reviewing the away match at Burnley headlined “Turf Moore, More, MORE!” (I think we scored 5 or 6 there).

The descent through the divisions was not covered in much detail in Australia, although I still checked the scores every Monday!

My first visit to Molineux came in the 1989-90 season. I was working in Liverpool for 6 months, and despite them having a more than useful local team, I managed to get myself down to Wolverhampton and stand on the terraces with a dilapidated empty stand on the left side of the ground.

Memorable results included a 2-1 win over the Baggies and 1-0 over Leeds. (My wife and kids are all familiar with the “Leeds” song).

Premier League status (first time) and the advent of live games on pay TV enhanced my connection with Wolves, where I could finally see a handful of games live. I also travel quite a bit for work and had a bizarre experience at a trade show in Singapore, where a gathering of a few hundred people at a Tax Free exhibition found a core group of Wolves fans from UK (Andrew), Abu Dhabi (Dan), Singapore (Alex) and Sweden (Janne Eric).

Ash and son

Premier League second time, saw Australian TV broadcast just about every game live, although it meant start times of anything from midnight to 5 am. Although my wife thinks that I am completely mad, I watched most matches and have managed to welcome my middle child to the fold and he is now a committed Wolves fan .

I have to credit Wolves Blog as being a major factor in my connection with everything Wolves – I find myself checking in pretty much every day (even in the off season awaiting trades that never seem to occur). It is great to hear the differing views of the good, bad and ugly and without having met any of the contributors, I somehow still feel like I “know” many of you.

Usain Bolt Ash Lastly, I want to let you know of my 2 sporting highlights of 2012…

At number 2 – being a part of the Gambian team at the London Olympics, including marching at the opening ceremony. (But why an Australian who has never been to the Gambia is a member of their team is a whole other story for another time!)

And my number 1 sporting highlight of 2012 was winning the Wolves Blog prediction league! Being 10,555 miles from Molineux, and therefore unable to attend any home or away matches, I can’t explain my predictive prowess other than to say that with Wolves, being a pessimist pays off – though hopefully that is now starting to change.

Go Wolves!

Ashley

Wolves Blog Postcard Stop #4 – Santiago, Chile

Just when I’d given up hope, the Wolves Blog Postcard has resurfaced. Colm in Santiago, Chile sent me the following:

colm santiago

Apologies, apologies, apologies! I have the post card. I received the card shortly before we left Chile as we are now back in the UK and the move has meant it slipped off MY personal radar.

Wolves Blog Chile 2

The two pictures on the rugby field are taken in the grounds of The Grange School, which is the poshest school in Santiago where I was the Principal of the Prep School and my two boys Fintan and Cormac attended. The blondest boy is one of their friends, Jose Miguel.

Wolves Blog postcard Chile

Although cloudy you can just make out the Andes mountains in the background. The other photo which has the card silhouetted is Cormac from the top floor of a hotel. You get a better view of the mountains in this one.

Chile postcardI am from the Dougan, Richards, Wagstaffe, Hibbitt & Munro era. My first game was in in 1973 – a home defeat to Ipswich Town.

Richards scored our goal and whilst we were pretty poor that day it wasn’t nearly as bad as the dismal 0-2 defeat by Ipswich last season which was my last live game and possibly one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen.

I live in Yorkshire at the moment but will hope to get to some games this season. In the middle of 2014 we are moving to South Korea and perhaps if I promise not to hide the card for several months like this time, you might let me take some photos from the Far East!

You can track the progress of the Wolves Blog Postcard and register your interest in receiving it on the dedicated section here.

Wolves Blog Postcard Stop #3 – San Francisco, California

Thanks to Andy in Sunny San Francisco for being the latest recipient of the Wolves Blog Postcard.

Wolves Blog Postcard Andy San Fran

Originally from Bushbury but grew up in Penkridge. My Dad was a lifelong season ticket holder until he passed away in July 2011 and it was he who introduced me to the North Bank as a nipper in the early Seventies with Waggie, Steve Daley, Mike Bailey, the Doug and John Richards, Frank Munro, Derek Parkin etc.

Went to the League Cup Final in 1974 and apart from being kicked by a Man City fan after the game on the way back to the coach, was a fantastic day and my one and only experience of being at Wembley.

Andy

I moved to San Francisco 25 year ago after graduating from Plymouth Poly and love living here. Weather is never too cold or too hot. Great beaches, nightlife, snowboarding in winter and camping in summer in the Sierra Mountains 3 hours away. San Francisco is a very small city as there are only 800,000 people who live here as its on a peninsula and theres no where else to build up so its only 15 minutes from the beach to downtown where my office is near the Giants Baseball stadium where I work for an ad agency.

Ive had the Wolves Blog postcard sitting in my office in San Francisco for 2 months after receiving it from those fine folks up in Canada. Frankly the reason its been sitting there is more to do with my depression at where the Wolves are the moment versus any antipathy on my part to get out the camera and take some snaps of the local sights. After a timely reminder from Thomas to pull my digits out I duly took some of the photos today of me, my dog, the Postcard and some familiar sights in the background.

Wolves Blog Dog

My dog funnily enough, looks like the Wolves logo. I swear it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part as he was a rescue dog and the kennel called me to adopt him but it must be fortuitous and serendipitous that he was chosen as he looks like the Wolf as evidenced by the sticker on the back of my Jeep which is proudly driven around the Streets of San Francisco in the vague hope that someone will recognize it and stop me as a fellow Wolves supporter so we can have a San Francisco Wolves Supporters Club that comprises more than one member (me).

So IF there are any Wolves fans out there in the Bay Area, then please get in touch so I can at least have a local moan about where the boys are at present and how the heck we get out of this mess.

C’mon Me Babbies!

Wolves Blog Postcard Stop #2 – Edmonton, Alberta

After it’s second journey, the postcard landed in Alberta Canada, experiencing generous hospitality from Wolves Blog regular Jed. Massive thanks to him for the following.

jed postcard

Being born and raised in Stoke, I spent the majority of my life as the only Wolves fan that I knew of, so I was happy to continue that when I moved to sunny St. Albert, Alberta, Canada in 2007.

Little did I know that a small group of expats and a lone Canadian (who thinks he’s English), that all share the same passion that is Wolverhampton Wanderers, would soon be forming the now famous Edmonton Wolves Supporters Club.

This is a beautiful part of the world. This picture is taken on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River which flows right through the city:

Joel

My lad Joel is proudly holding the postcard. I took it earlier today when we reached the daytime temperature high, a balmy -25C! We have snow here from October to April, fortunately it’s followed by a hot and sunny summer.

When I first came over I went to one of the local football matches, Edmonton FC v some other team I’d never heard of, eager to continue my love of watching live games, and still reeling from having to give up my Wolves season ticket.

As I walked up to my seat, proudly displaying my Wolves shirt, I heard this broad Cannock accent shout ‘Bloody hell didn’t think I’d see another Wolves shirt over here!’. That accent belonged to little Jimbo and our friendship began.

A few months later I was taking my lad Joel to play in his U6 football game and he shouted ‘Dad there’s a bloke over there in a Wolves shirt’. Replying ‘Yeah okay’ and thinking it was something to do with his over active imagination, I looked up to see Pete who was striding towards me with a big daft smile on his dimpled face.

Pete then introduced us to our lone Canadian friend Burnie, who was keen to add Wolves to his numerous favourite teams (Canadians change teams more times than they change their under crackers!). The Edmonton Wolves Supporters club was formed!

The main purpose if our club is to sit in the pub and moan about how crap we are and when will they sack fat Jez.

Canada is a country that is hockey crazy, ice hockey not the ladies game that few of us played back at school. I keep trying to tell my Canadian friends that it’s a girls game but it’s difficult to convince them when most hockey players are 8’10” and built like the proverbial brick structures found in the back yards of terraced houses. They can’t compete with the song singing as all North American teams have one song ‘Lets go [insert any team name] Lets Go!’ and repeat. YAWN!

This picture was taken last night in the basement of Jimbo’s house, known as Jimbo’s Man Cave where he has kindly installed a bar, pool table and dart board for us to abuse:

Edmonton Wolves

From left to right – Pete, Jimbo (standing on a box), Burnie and me. Interesting that the Canadian is the only one wearing a Wolves shirt!

Thomas: You can follow the progress of the Wolves Blog Postcard on a new section of the site I’ve created specifically for it. And if you’re interested in adding your name to the list of people who’d like to receive the card, contact me.

Wolves Blog Postcard Stop #1 – Houston, Texas

The Wolves Blog Postcard has safely crossed the Atlantic to Clive in sunny Houston, Texas. Massive thanks go to him for taking part and sharing some of his Wolves experiences.  Over to Clive…

postcard map

First Molineux impression.

How awesomely green the pitch was. This was back in 1950something, probably 1955 or 1956.

My “Uncle Don”, a neighbor from up the street was walking down to the bus stop, and me, being a cheeky sod even back then, asked him where he was going.

To the match, he replied.

Whats a match, and can I come?

Ask yer mum.

So I did, and I went, and thus began a fifty plus year love affair with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Clive with the scarf he won in a recent Wolves Blog competition

Clive with the scarf he won in a recent Wolves Blog competition

A million memories, like all of us old ‘uns, some good, some great, some bad and some downright horrible!

I came to America before the Premiership was formed, and before all the obscene amounts of money were bandied about, and I feel football has lost its soul because of it, but that doesn’t stop me enjoying it.

Americans have a funny take on sport.

They cannot understand the passion and wholehearted commitment I have to The Wolves.

They move around the country a lot, mainly with jobs, and switch sports allegiance to the city they move to.

Unbelievable!

And when my Englishness is noticed I always get ” I suppose you like Manchester”, and “We love Beckham”.

The bad thing about being here is I don’t get to see the lads, and the good thing about living here is I don’t get to see the lads!!

I miss the camaraderie of regulars at The Mol, but I don’t miss the piss taking when we lose!

A huge plus when we were in the Prem, was early kick offs, which take place at 6 in the morning over here, and having my loving wife cook me a full English while I’m watching the game.
In particular, that wonderful day in 2003 when we beat United with a Kenny Millar goal.

I could go on and on for ever, with memories and anecdotes, but enough boring stuff, suffice it to say, I have my Wolves shrine, I have a huge box full of Wolves shirts which will never be worn, and the Wolves logo is on all sorts of things dotted around the house, and I have even stolen it as my company logo.

My wife is like all Wolves wives, long suffering but fully understanding, finally. She has been brainwashed into the response to F… O, ………………………West Brom!

Clive and Houston Lobo with the Postcard

Clive and Houston Lobo with the Postcard

The Scarf and the Postcard get their first public outing, proudly displayed at The Richmond Arms pub in chilly Houston, Texas last night, 12.12.12.

Houston Lobo from Sedgley and James from Missouri City gallantly braved the arctic like 50 degree weather to attend Houston Wolves first annual Christmas Party and quiz (Wednesday nights is quiz night at The Arms).

Despite some quite brilliant brain work The Wolves quiz team finished where the Wolves football team will probably finish, but with not so many points. We came 7th with 70 points, a brave but ultimately futile attempt.

Still, several pints of Boddingtons and a wonderful steak and mushroom pie later, we were feeling no pain, and a splendid time was had by all.

The Scarf has now been reverently tucked away with all my other wonderful Wolves memorabilia, and the postcard will be winging its way to Canada in the merest hint of time.

A merry FOWB to you all.

Thomas: You can follow the progress of the Wolves Blog Postcard on a new section of the site I’ve created specifically for it.