Flowers family loyal-ties facing tough test

Ron Flowers' place in Wolves history is assured after winning three league titles and the FA Cup during the club's halcyon era half a century ago.

Ron Flowers meeting youngsters at Molineux
Ron Flowers meeting youngsters at Molineux

Ron Flowers' place in Wolves history is assured after winning three league titles and the FA Cup during the club's halcyon era half a century ago.

But despite his weighty achievements, the Molineux great, who was also part of England's World Cup-winning squad, has been unable to persuade his grandson Harry Flowers to follow the gold and black.

Instead, the 14-year-old from Brocton, near Stafford, is a Doncaster supporter.

So tomorrow, two members of the Flowers family separated by a generation will attend the FA Cup third round tie as guests of Wolves secretary Richard Skirrow — divided by their loyalties.

Flowers senior hails from Edlington, near Doncaster, and played for Rovers as an amateur before his glittering 15 year-spell at Wolves.

But the connection, and reason for Harry's allegiance, runs deeper than that.

"Harry was looking through a book about Doncaster Rovers three or four years ago and said 'I never knew my uncle John played for Doncaster' and I replied, 'yes he played for them for a few years, and Stoke and Port Vale too'," said Flowers, whose own uncle George Flowers also played for Rovers.

"Anyway, that was it — ever since then he's supported them and has got Doncaster scarves and shirts.

"I've said 'are you wearing your scarf?' and he said 'of course' so I said I hope he doesn't do it anywhere near the Wolves fans.

"He knows I played for Wolves but he's never asked me about it.

"I tell him I'm a golfer but he won't let me forget he's got a lower handicap than me — he plays off 16 and I'm 17."

Flowers watched Rovers play Wolves twice in the Championship-winning season of 2008-09, when he caught up with Doncaster's Wolves-supporting manager Sean O'Driscoll.

And that's where he was reminded of the other reason why he is known throughout the city — his still-thriving sports shop, which is now run by Ron's son Glen — Harry's dad.

"The Doncaster chairman, John Ryan, took a shine to Harry and invited him into the dressing rooms where he met the players on both sides," said Flowers.

"That's where I met Sean. He came up to me and said, 'I used to buy all my football boots from your shop when I was a young player.'

Fast forward to tomorrow, and even at the age of 76, Flowers still feels the magic of the Cup.

"Whenever I was in dressing rooms, the FA Cup always had that special tingle to it," recalled Flowers, who was part of Wolves' last Cup win at Wembley in 1960.

"It was something different because back then it was every footballer's dream to play in an FA Cup final at Wembley."

Flowers played in numerous ties against lower division opposition and recalls how legendary manager Stan Cullis warned Wolves to write them off at their peril.

"He always said not to take lower teams lightly because otherwise we'd be in trouble," added Flowers.

"He said if they scored a couple of goals, we'd struggle to get two back." Flowers doesn't see Wolves taking things easily against Doncaster.

"I don't think Wolves will approach it lightly," he said.

"I saw both games in the Championship between the two teams and although Wolves won both 1-0, they were very close and Doncaster never made it easy for them.

"I watched Wolves beat Liverpool and Chelsea and I was impressed.

"I don't think Liverpool are a good side, but Chelsea aren't bad — even if they're not getting any younger — and that win was down to Wolves not letting them play.

"That was a better win at home than the Liverpool one was away.

"So Wolves are in good form — and I take them to win 2-1."