Albion greats share joy of derby victory

The memories have faded a little but half a century on the names still leap off the page.

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Albion’s win at Wolves was their biggest at Molineux since 1962. Steve Madeley looks back with two men who played 50 years ago

The memories have faded a little but half a century on the names still leap off the page.

Albion’s five-star victory in Sunday’s Black Country derby had statisticians scrambling for history books in search of a win quite so impressive.

And they had to look back a month short of 50 years to find the last time the Baggies hit five goals at Molineux – another 5-1 triumph in March 1962.

The cast list on that day included Baggies greats like Graham Williams, Bobby Hope, Bobby Robson and Derek Kevan.

And the ‘class of 62’ today gave their backing to the side that equalled their historic feat with a remarkable derby display that cost Wolves boss Mick McCarthy his job.

Williams would go on to captain the Baggies to their 1968 FA Cup triumph but he was a 23-year-old full-back making his first appearance of the season when his side took Wolves to the cleaners in March 1962.

“If I’m honest, I don’t remember that game,” admitted Williams. “But then the derby game against Wolves wasn’t anywhere near as big back then as it is now.

“Because of the position of the teams in the league and the way the fans were, Villa was always our biggest derby as Albion players. They were the team we were always most desperate to beat.

“But if you look at the team that played that season it was a hell of a side with some excellent players.

“Most of it was the youth team from three or four years earlier and we all progressed together and kept getting better in the next few years and went on to win trophies.

“I don’t remember that game, but looking at the Wolves team they had Terry Wharton and Peter McParland on the wings and Jimmy Murray at centre-forward so we must have played well to win 5-1.

“And the team on Sunday played really well. It was a surprising result because Albion this season have struggled to score a lot of goals, although their record away from home has been terrific.

“But they fully deserved the scoreline. They played some very good football and they could have scored even more goals if it wasn’t for Wayne Hennessey in goal for Wolves making some good saves.”

Fifty years ago a couple of Baggies greats were on the scoresheet with Bobby Robson opening the scoring and Derek Kevan adding the fourth.

In between there were goals by George Smith and Chuck Drury while Wolves’ Bobby Thomson netted an own goal, with Molineux legend Peter Broadbent grabbing his side’s consolation. The Baggies side also included an 18-year-old named Bobby Hope, who would go on to be one of the classiest midfield performers ever to represent the club.

Fifty years on, the former Scotland international is still involved with Albion, scouting opponents and potential transfer targets across the country.

And, like Williams, he cannot recall the emphatic win at Molineux that subsequent Baggies teams took five decades to match.

But the 68-year-old watched his side’s scoreline equalled on Sunday with a sense of joy.

Hope said: “It was a very convincing performance. I thought we had so much of the play in the first half that we might regret not scoring more goals, especially when Wolves got an equaliser out of nowhere.

“But credit to the players because they came out in the second half and played well again and made it count.”