Saturday the 6th October 2012 – Venue: Ewood Park – Kick-Off 3pm
As a child in the 1970’s I followed Wolves from afar when Rovers were marooned in lower divisions, primarily as I liked their kit! Both my parents attended the 1960 FA Cup Final.
It was the 26th September when I first started researching for this game. I originally thought I had agreed to preview a game that would be dominated by off-field events and potentially a mass boycott by the home supporters! I am pleased common sense has prevailed and a new start can be had by one and all.
Two founder members of the football league, meeting in a competitive game at Ewood Park, with the largest crowd of the season attending and a great deal at stake after relegation for both teams, is a mouth watering fixture rich in history. I am genuinely pleased the focus has returned to the football as this game is fully deserving of the headlines generated.
May I take this opportunity to welcome back all our fans who will be returning to Ewood Park for the first time this season. It will be pleasing to see many seats occupied again.
(My lasting memory from writing this preview is the amazing history of these two great clubs, the success Wolves have enjoyed over the years and lately the shocking results Wolves have had this last year or two!)
Our Visitors - Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club - Molineux Stadium, Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton, WV1 4QR – Year Formed: 1877 – Ground Capacity: 28,525 – Current Manager: Stale Solbakken – Chairman – Steve Morgan
Club Colours - The first badge to be worn on Wolves shirts was the coat of arms of Wolverhampton City Council, usually worn on special occasions such as cup finals. In the late 1960s, Wolves introduced their own club badge consisting of a single leaping wolf, which later became three leaping wolves in the 1970s. In 1979, Wolves changed to the now modern wolf-head badge.
The club's traditional colours allude to the city council's motto "Out of Darkness Cometh Light" with the gold and black representing light and darkness respectively.
It could be argued that this motto applies more to the Rovers than Wolves this week!
An Exclusive Club - Wolves are one of 12 founder members of the football league, which includes ourselves of course. The club was formed in 1877 as St. Lukes Football Club, but merged with a local cricket and football club, The Wanderers two years later and then became known as Wolverhampton Wanderers. The club's first manager was George Worrall from 1877-1885.
The club finished the inaugural season in a respectable third place as well as reaching their first FA Cup Final, losing 3-0 to ‘Double’ winners Preston North End. Jack Addenbrooke then took over from Worrall and amazingly stayed in the job for 36 years making him the longest serving manager in their history. Other managers over the years have included Stan Cullis, Bill McGarry, John Barnwell, Graham Taylor, Mark McGhee, Glen Hoddle and more recently Mick Mcarthy and Terry Connor.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have played at Molineux, since 1889. Their previous home was in the Blakenhall area and although no signs of the ground remain, a nearby road is called Wanderers Avenue. The Molineux name originates from Benjamin Molineux, a local merchant who built his home on the grounds of the old brewery that became Wolves home ground.
The ground is also steeped in history and in 1953, the stadium became one of the first to install floodlights at an estimated cost of £10,000. The first ever floodlit game was held on 30 September 1953, as Wolves beat South Africa 3-1. The ground’s old South Bank amazingly often held over 30,000 standing fans in that end alone!
The leading goalscorer for Wolves is Steve Bull, with 306 goals from 1986 to 1999. Bull also holds the Wolves record for the most hat-tricks scored - 18 in total! Bull also played 13 times for England scoring 4 goals, although Wolves were never in the top flight during his time there. In the 1987-1988 season he scored a record 52 goals in all competitions. An excellent achievement even in the old Division Four.
Derek Parkin holds the record for the most appearances with 609 between 1968 / 1982 and the clubs biggest league victory is 10-1 against Leicester in the 1937-1938 season. Jimmy Mullen was the club's youngest player, when he made his debut against Leeds United in Division 1 on 18 February 1939. He was 16 years 43 days .
An interesting fact regarding Wolves is that they were relegated from the old Division One into Division Four in consecutive seasons. In season 1983-84, Wolves were relegated from Division One, but by the time season 1986-87 came around, they were playing Division Four football.
Main Club Honours
First Division Champions: 1953/1954, 1957/1958, 1958/1959.
UEFA Cup - Runners-up- 1972/1972.
F.A. Cup – Winners - 1892/1893, 1907/1908, 1948/1949, 1959/1960.
League Cup – Winners - 1973/1974, 1979/1980.
Charity Shield Winners - 1959/1960.
1960 FA Cup Final – 7th May 1960
Recognised as the one of the biggest games between the two clubs. This match was one of the warmest cup finals recorded, with many spectators having to be treated for fainting, leading to the game being played at a very sedate pace throughout.
Wolves had won the league title on two out of the previous three seasons and missed out in this year by 1 point only to you guessed it…. Burnley! They were clear favourites going into the match.
Rovers on the other hand, had not had a great season, finishing in 17th place in only their second season back in top flight football. Both league games between the two during the season had been won by Wolves (3–1 and 1–0).
A Mick Mcgrath own goal and a double from Norman Deeley secured an easy 3-0 win for Wolves, with Dave Whelan famously being stretchered off with a fractured leg in the days before substitutes. The attendance was a mind blowing 98,954! My family attended, travelled down on the train and apparently had an amazing day out. They report that Rovers were very poor and once Whelan was injured we had little chance against a quality Wolves team.
Current Form Rovers
29th September 2012 – Away – Charlton – 1-1 (D)
21st September 2012 – Home – Middlesborough – 1-2 (L)
18th September 2012 – Home Barnsley – 2-1 (W)
15th September 2012 – Away – Bristol City – 3-5 (W)
1st September 2012 – Away – Leeds – 3-3 (D)
28th August 2012 – Away MK Dons – 2-1 (L)
Current Form Wolves
2nd October 2012 – Home – Crystal Palace – 1-2 (L)
29th September 2012 – Home – Sheffield Wednesday – 1-0 (W)
25th September 2012 – Away – Chelsea – 6-0 (L)
22nd September 2012 – Away – Peterboro – 0-2 (W)
19th September 2012 – Away – Ipswich – 0-2 (W)
16th September 2012 – Home – Leicester – 2-1 (W)
2nd September 2012 – Away – Cardiff – 3-1 (L)
Recent Head to Heads – Last Four Fixtures
10th March 2012 – Barclays Premier League – WWFC v BRFC – Referee – Chris Hoy – Attendance 26,121 - Half Time – 0-1 – Full Time – 0-2 – Scorers - (Hoilett 43, 69).
13th August 2011 – Barclays Premier League – BRFC v WWFC – Referee – Kevin Friend – Attendance 21,996 - Half Time – 1-1 – Full Time – 1-2 – Scorers - Formica (20) – Fletcher (22), Ward (47).
22nd May 2011 – Barclays Premier League – WWFC v BRFC – Referee – Howard Webb – Attendance 29,009 - Half Time – 0-3 – Full Time – 2-3 – Scorers - Roberts (22), Emerton (38), Hoilett (45+0:47) – O’Hara (73), Hunt (87).
04th December 2010 – Barclays Premier League – BRFC v WWFC – Referee – Howard Webb – Attendance 22,314 - Half Time – 2-0 – Full Time – 3-0 – Scorers - Dunn (29), Emerton (43), Nelsen!! (55).
Wolves Scored First!
It was a letter from William McGregor, a Director at Aston Villa, to four other clubs on March 2, 1888, which led to the formation of the world's first league football competition. "I beg to tender the following suggestion," McGregor, a Perthshire-born draper, wrote to Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End and West Bromwich Albion, "that ten or twelve of the most prominent clubs in England combine to arrange home-and-away fixtures each season…"
In the inaugural football league season, Villa, Blackburn, Bolton, Preston and West Bromwich were joined by Everton, Burnley, Accrington, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Notts County, Derby County and Stoke as The League's founder members.
Ten of that dozen played on the opening day - Blackburn and Notts County being the exceptions - though a variety of kick-off times led to much debate about who scored the first ever goal. It has now been credited to Gershom Cox, the unfortunate Aston Villa full-back, who in attempting to clear a shot around the half-hour mark in a match away to Wolverhampton Wanderers, only succeeded in turning the ball over his own goal-line!
PNE are accredited with the first ever ‘intended’ goal. Gershom with the first ever ‘own’ goal.
One to Watch
Number 9, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Nationality: English - DOB: 29/03/1986 - Height: 5'8" (172.7 cm) - Weight: 14st 5lbs (91.1 kg) – Goals this season 4. I chose Blake as all and sundry find it easy to score against us and I am sure he will get chances.
2-1 to the Rovers. Recent results have gone in our favour and Wolves have had a torrid last year or two. Last year the Wolves won just 5 of the 38 matches they played, drawing 10 and losing 23. And we thought we had it bad! The year before they won 11, drawing 7 and losing 20 matches whilst accumulating 40 points for survival.
COYB - With fans at long last being able to look forward to visiting Ewood again and many old fans returning for this fixture it is imperative we put on a good performance. Losses to Boro and the draw at Charlton have seen us slip down the league and we have a tough game away at Forest as well to factor in. We must win our home games to stand any chance of automatic promotion.
Source: Rovers v Wolverhampton Wanderers