WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
We trace Wolverhampton Wanderers’ 1971-72 UEFA Cup finalists
JOHN RICHARDS admits he hadn’t been abroard before joining Wolves in 1969 – and within three years he was playing for the club in the UEFA Cup.
A fourth-place finish in Division One was enough to book Bill McGarry’s side a place in the newly created UEFA Cup. And for Richards and his teammates it was the start of a great adventure which would take them all the way to the final.
They dispatched Portuguese side Academica Coimbra, Dutch outfit Den Haag and East Germans Carl Zeiss Jena without losing a game.
“It was the first time we had been in Europe since the 1950s,”said Richards. “So for our generation it was a new experience.
“There was no fear at all. It was a break from the league and it was an adventure – a lot of us young lads hadn’t ever been abroad.
“The first time I had been abroad was when I came to Wolves. Suddenly you were going to Portugal and East Germany – it was a whole new world.
“I enjoyed every minute of it.When you look back we were a good team – and we played some top sides.”
Juventus were the opposition in the quarter-finals and McGarry hit upon the idea of taking Juve legend John Charles with his side to Turin for the first leg.
After drawing 1-1,Wolves made no mistake, winning the second leg 2-1 to book a place in the semi-finals against Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who they edged out 4-3 on aggregate.
“It was a bit of a coup taking John Charles to Turin because suddenly we were welcomed with open arms,” recalled Richards. “Everyone was shouting at him in the street and we even got discounts when we went shopping! It made a difference to us.
“When we walked into the stadium John was with us. Normally you would get a lot of animosity but we had none of that. After we drew 1-1, Bill McGarry said we have won this now because they will not send out a full team to Molineux.
“They wanted to win the Italian league and that’s what happened. I think they left out four of their top players, and we won 2-1,” he adds.
There was, however, no fairytale ending. In an all-English final against Tottenham,Wolves lost 2-1 at Molineux and then drew 1-1 in north London. 1. Hugh Curran: A striker who ran several pubs as well as a hotel, he then became a supervisor at the park and ride service in Oxford where he is now based. 2. Bertie Lutton: A Northern Ireland international midfielder, he emigrated to Australia in 1974. Has worked as a supervisor for a logistics company and previously worked in a warehouse. 3. John Oldfield: The goalkeeper settled in the Huddersfield area where he ran a sports and social club in Yorkshire prior to his death in Leeds in October 2002. 4. Frank Munro: Scotland international defender coached in Australia and worked as a traffic officer at Melbourne Airport. He lived in Wolverhampton until his death in August 2011 aged 63. 5. Phil Parkes: Worked as a goalkeeping coach before becoming a builder and also a matchday ambassador in the hospitality suites at West Ham United. 6. Dave Woodfield: A defender who spent 11 years coaching and working as a school teacher. Taught history and geography in Asia and the Middle East. Now lives near Cambridge. 7. Danny Hegan: The Northern Ireland midfielder worked at Butlins before undertaking a host of cleaning and labouring jobs before his death in Birmingham in August 2015 aged 72. 8. Les Wilson: A versatile player who settled in Canada and became an executive director of the British Columbia Soccer Association before working as a football consultant. 9. Bernard Shaw: The full-back spent three decades running a North Derbyshire pub before moving into property and building from his base in Bakewell. 10. Paul Walker: A midfielder who returned to his native Bradford and runs a business locally that manufactures cardboard. 11. Bobby Gould: A striker who enjoyed a successful career in management including spells in charge of Wimbledon and Wales. Is now a radio pundit. Son Jonathan was a professional footballer. 12. John Richards: The striker went into local government before returning to Wolves as managing director. Is now operations director of Pitchcare, in Telford. 13. John McAlle: After returning to the Wolverhampton area, he went into landscape gardening. Is now retired, living in Brewood, south Staffordshire. 14. Kenny Hibbitt: An England Under-23 midfielder, he has managed Walsall, Cardiff City and Hednesford Town. Has spent 12 years working for the Premier League. 15. Sammy Chung: He managed Wolves, Tamworth and Doncaster, and has also coached in the UAE and at Stoke City. Worked in a children’s home. Now lives on the Somerset coast. 16. Derek Dougan: Had a spell as chief executive and chairman of Wolves, later working in marketing and dabbling in politics. Died in Wolverhampton in June 2007 aged 69. 17. Dave Wagstaffe: A winger who went into the licensed trade in Blackpool and Wolverhampton where he ran Waggy’s Bar at Molineux. Died of a heart attack in August 2013 aged 70. 18. Mike O’Grady: The England international midfielder worked for Yorkshire TV and then at the Royal Oak Pub in Aberford near Leeds until his retirement. 19. Mike Bailey: A midfielder who went into management with Hereford, Charlton, Brighton, OFI Crete and Leatherhead and has held a number of other coaching and scouting posts. 20. Jim McCalliog: After managing Halifax and scouting for Orient, the midfielder managed several pubs and hotels. Now runs a B&B in Ayrshire. 21. Gerry Taylor: A defender who after retiring in 1976 spent 26 years in Staffordshire Police. Then worked at the RAF Museum in Cosford. 22. Derek Parkin: The England Under-23 full-back went into a landscape gardening business before going to work for a charity.