Kevin Phillips today revealed his Albion links were the reason he did not join Wolves last summer.
Phillips will make a final appearance at Molineux on Monday admitting he could have closed out his career for Kenny Jackett’s men.
The source of painful derby memories for Wolves fans is re-uniting with Niall Quinn on for Jody Craddock’s Bank Holiday special – a testimonial game between his old Wolves and Sunderland promotion-winning teams.
The occasion will bring down a celebratory curtain on a season which Wolves fans have lapped up and the former Villa, Albion and Blues forward has confirmed for the first time he could have been part of it.
Super Kev, who announced his retirement this week after a 20-year career climaxed by another promotion, this time with Leicester City, said: “Yes, there was contact last summer and if I had pushed it something could have happened. But we never got that far in the end.
“There were a lot of factors at play. I had the chance to stay in the Premier League with Crystal Palace and then, when the idea was raised again in January, the chance to help a promotion push in the Championship with Leicester.
“But there was also my strong association with Albion and I wasn’t sure that would fit well for both sides. I would never say anything derogatory about Wolves and have no bad feelings about the place at all – it is a fantastic club and the fact that my boy has been there (in the Academy) for the last two-and-a-half years says everything about my views on the club.
“But I didn’t want to risk the bond I have with Albion and I am sure people will understand that. So I’m going there on Monday to give Wolves fans one last chance to boo me!”
Craddock’s testimonial, at which Kenny Jackett’s League One title winners will make a final bow, has attracted fans and media from Sunderland because of the Quinn-Phillips re-unification.
The 40-year-old has even given up the chance of an open-top bus tour in Leicester to stick to his promise to help out his old team mate Craddock.
“Jody is a great lad, has been a fantastic professional and deserves a great day,” said Phillips.
“I don’t know what sort of state I’ll be in – there have been one or two parties with the Leicester lads and if I end up playing a chunk of the game on Saturday I’ll barely be able to walk.
“The ankles are feeling it now, and the lower back – training was becoming harder and it all just seemed the right moment to call it a day. But Jody is the kind of bloke you would always make an effort for.”