The picture painted of Bill McGarry

Former Wolves boss Bill McGarry will always be remembered as the manager who brought League Cup glory to Molineux in the 1970's - and then relegation.

bill mcgarryFormer Wolves boss Bill McGarry will always be remembered as the manager who brought League Cup glory to Molineux in the 1970's - and then relegation.

And last night he was painted as the tough tactician who made the difference to the last ‘great’ Wolves team.

But the late former boss was also described by his players as the man who failed to build on his success and sowed the seeds of the club’s decline.

McGarry came to Molineux in 1968, inheriting some of Wolves’ best talent for years in Frank Munro, Derek Parkin, Mike Bailey, Kenny Hibbitt, Derek Dougan and Dave Wagstaffe, as well as Peter Knowles.

But after steering the club to top-five finishes in 1971 and 1973, the UEFA Cup final in 1972 and the League Cup in 1974, he was sacked after the club were relegated in 1976.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ ‘Time of our Lives’ documentary on Wolves, former club record scorer John Richards - who grabbed the winner in the 1974 final against a star-studded Manchester City side at Wembley - had his own theories as to why.

He said: “The older players like Mike Bailey, Derek Dougan and Waggy were leaving and he tried to replace them like for like, but you couldn’t do it.

“He tried to make Steve Kindon into a centre-forward but he wasn’t a Dougan type of centre-forward. He brought in John Farley to be a Waggy and he wasn’t that, and he never replaced Mike.

“If there was ever a criticism of McGarry, it was that he could not adapt his tactics to different players.”

Hibbitt, who scored the first goal in the 1974 final, believes time worked against his former boss.

He said: "We should have been a stronger squad but he waited until it was too late and we never had the squad to maintain the standard.”

But all three believed McGarry brought a vital discipline and a tactical nous.

Bailey said: “Ronnie Allen could spot a player, but at times we were a bit sloppy on the pitch and McGarry changed that – there was a toughening up which was needed.

Richards revealed: “McGarry also made myself and Dougan more dangerous – I was right-footed and Derek left-footed so we used to play on our natural side of the attack, but he switched us around so we were coming in onto our favourite foot and it worked a treat.”

As younger players, Hibbitt and Richards were terrified of McGarry.

Hibbitt said: “He was a real tough guy, a sergeant major type. But he played a big part in my career. I didn’t necessarily like him, but I respected him.”

Some of the players’ fondest memories were from the UEFA Cup run and they believed McGarry eased the pressure brilliantly, particularly for the quarter-final away leg against the mighty Juventus.

Bailey said: “He pulled off a masterstroke bringing in John Charles as our ambassador.

“John took us shopping and him being there made a difference when we were in the stadium – normally there would have been animosity as the opposition, but as soon as we walked out into stadium, the crowd just stood up and the noise was incredible – ‘Charlo, Charlo’ went up the cry.”

With Wolves losing the UEFA final to Spurs, then going down in the FA Cup and League Cup semi-finals the following season, Richards believed the pressure was beginning to tell on their manager by 1974, which was to end in triumph.

The former striker said: “I can remember the League Cup semi-final away leg at Norwich. We drew 1-1, and we got back to the hotel and we were delighted.

“We fancied our chances for the second leg. All McGarry did was sit in the corner on his own, because he maybe thought that was our last chance.”

McGarry was also fiercely competitive and regularly took his players on at table tennis, golf and squash.

Bailey said: “I remember when we went to Worthing before the League Cup final. Myself and Waggy played the gaffer and Sammy Chung.

“We always played for a new golf ball and it was all level on the 18th, when Waggy hit one and it bounced and bounced before going into the hole for an eagle to win it for us. We were all due to have a sauna that afternoon but he was livid and instead he made us train.”

All three believed that Knowles, who retired at the age of 23 in 1969 to become a Jehovah’s Witness, would have developed into a giant of the game.

Bailey said: “He was a genuine superstar – top notch. He could do anything on the pitch.

“This is a lad I could never see packing up football. There was so much going for him, but I absolutely admire the lad for standing up for what he believed in. He had some funny ways.

“I remember we went on tour to America we were given so much a day as a living allowance, but Peter never spent a penny and used to pinch food off the players’ plates.

“Then I asked him what he’d done with his money when we got back and he’d bought himself a yellow MGB with it!”

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Comments for: "The picture painted of Bill McGarry"


The last truly great Manager that we had.

We could have, with a bit more luck, won the League in the early seventies when we were a "top four team".

chris hoggard

We also had a number of semi finals that we lost by the odd goal and a lick of paint.I am sure all fans at that time can remember John Richards' effort against Leeds in 73.At that time we could beat the best at home,Juventus, Liverpool, Arsenal and Leeds.Mc Garry's problem was he couldn't buy very well,when all we realy needed was a couple of quality additions to turn a good side into a great side.


A very good manager, a very good team,like

John Richards said not noticed by the London

press (But what changes). If John Ireland had supported him a little more, we would have won the league. These guys competed and stood with

the best, the only weak link was Phil Parkes,reaction saves great, but if he had to use his brain it became difficult.They also left Smethwick town in their wake.

Pompey Wolf

Watched this last night, nice to see, but a few clips of the matches would have been nice.

I'm sure i remember him coming back in mid eighties when we changed managers every week ?


No one has bought better than Ronnie Allen, its been such a hard task to follow. However what a team to start with.

All three thought McGarry brought vital discipline to the club? what about Danny Hegan! Come off it lads a couple of better signings and we would have been up there for good.

However the next time he managed wolves he bought Floyd Street for £1250 what a signing!!!!


Fantastic era.

The UEFA cup games were memory games, especially the defeat of Juventus with Anastasi in their side.

Waggy down the left side was poetry in motion. The swirl of cigarette smoke and the smell of pre-Moxey pies is etched in my memory.

Mike Bailey was superb - I don't think I saw him play a bad game. It was all worth the 60 mile round trip to Molineux as a teenager in my beat-up old Cortina!

Standing on Waterloo Road waiting to get in for couple of bob was almost orgasmic. Never to be replicated - I'm glad I experienced it.

JJ - the original

Bit before my time (78/80 onwards for me), and unfortunatley i missed the programme (no Sky).

Do the club do a DVD of this era


Would be nice if they did, if not doing so already.

Avid Wolf

unfortunately missed the program, would have loved to have seen it. But I do remember vividly the night we took on and beat the great Juventus, standing near the top of a very packed Molinuex, the atmosphere was electrifying, and then 'The Doog' and Danny Hegan smacked in the goals that were to take us to the semi's of the Eufa Cup. The 70s were and do hold the fondest memories for me, the thrashing of Chelsea 7 - 1 with Willie Carr scoring on his debut, Arsenal 5 - 1, to name but a couple of the sort of performances the team of that time used to put in. To my mind Kenny Hibbit was Wolves best player week in week out, he used to give his all for the cause. Oh to have those sort of days back....... perhaps we will?????

Avid Wolf

Unfortunately I did not get to see the program, but I do remember the heady days of the 70s, and in particular that Eufa Cup run that was to take us to the final. I remember vividly standing in a very packed South Bank, near the top, watching a performance that was every bit as good as the score, watching 'The Doog' and Danny Hegan put those goals away to take us to the semi's, and such other scores as thrashing Chelsea 7-1 with Willie Carr scoring on his debut and the beating of Arsenal 5-1 on a freezing cold day with the snow coming down. Those were the days........ perhaps they will be again????

chris hoggard

no5 Grogphil, I had never realised or had forgotten, that it was McGarry who signed Streete. Good signing as you say, an important part of our recovery.And let us not forget old Bill was principled enough to resign when he saw what the Bhatti regime was up to.Tears in his eyes at the time,that is how much the Wolves mean't to him.


Pompey Wolf - Bill came back for around 61 days in our first spell in the Third Divison for 60 Odd years.

Grogphill - Floyd Street was a reasonable player in a very very bad team !

old gold

what i would give for those 3 to be playing now

we have no body even close to any of those 3 great


Paul Norman

Does anyone see a similarity between then and now."We only needed a couple of top players to win the league".WE ONLY NEED A COUPLE OF TOP PLAYERS NOW TO MAKE CERTAIN WE STAY UP!!!!


USA Wolf

so many happy memories from back then

just one that stands out at this moment

is the 5-1 win over Arsenal


down at half time

wind rain sleet hail

soaked to the skin

freezing cold


thoroughly miserable

every time i went to leave in that second half

we scored

in the end i stopped for a good half hour

after the match

with hundreds of others

singing and dancing

caught the worst cold of my life

was worth every cough and weeze

happy happy days