Wolves' Wembley heroes sign up to boost Severn Hospice charity fund

As Wolves prepare to meet Nottingham Forest on Saturday, one gold-and-black fanatic has reunited members of the victorious 1980 League Cup-winning squad – all for a good cause.

It’s taken 103 days and led him to Altrincham, Blackburn, Stoke, Nottingham, deepest Warwickshire and nearly a dozen points of call around Wolverhampton, south Staffordshire and Shropshire.

But lifelong Wolves fan Mark Rigby, 42, from Bridgnorth, persuaded 15 Molineux stalwarts to sign 15 retro shirts and Wembley final programmes from the memorable day on March 15, 1980 – the last time the club won a major trophy.

Father-of-four Mark, who is a maintenance worker at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital, hopes to raise £3,000 for Severn Hospice, who looked after his older brother and devoted Wolves fan Stuart through his courageous battle against kidney cancer before he died in February at the age of 44.

Whether it be in a Telford pub meeting Derek Parkin and John McAlle, a beer in the back garden of Geoff Palmer’s house in Codsall or at Worfield Golf Club to catch up with Kenny Hibbitt, players and management were only too happy to give up their time.

And the memories came tumbling out.

Goalkeeper Paul Bradshaw, 56, claims to have been running down a street in London with the trophy in his hand the evening they won it: “Ask Andy Gray – he’ll tell you!” he recalled.

Palmer, 58, recalled how the Wolves squad would always stay in the same north London hotel for games in the capital, then when told to ‘walk off’ their evening meal would pass by an off-licence and drink the odd can of beer in a local park to help them sleep!

Willie Carr, arguably Wolves’ best outfield player at Wembley, was determined to savour every minute – and did.

“I’d never played at Wembley, and as I was 30 at the time, thought it was going to pass me by,” said the former midfielder.

“I remember speaking to Geoff Palmer, who’d played in the 1974 final when he was only 19, and he said it passed him by, so I wanted to savour it.

“We could have been beaten in the quarter-final by Grimsby and the semi-final by Swindon, so thought our name was on the trophy.

“Probably the biggest let-down was going back to Wolverhampton afterwards, as I felt if we’d have stayed in London like the 1974 lads did, we’d have carried on the atmosphere.

“And the heater on the wives’ coach broke, so they were freezing.”

One thing which shone through was the players’ pride in representing Wolves.

Hibbitt and Richards, synonymous with Wolves from the period, said they happily turned down moves away from the club where they would earn legendary status.

Ipswich, Manchester City and Stoke tried to lure Hibbitt and Richards was courted by Derby, Everton – via Mike Pejic on an England trip – and Birmingham.

While Hibbitt and Richards were the two long-established stars of the team, Bradshaw and reserve keeper Mick Kearns rated match-winner Andy Gray – then Britain’s costliest player after his £1.469m move from Villa six months before – as the best player in the side for his outstanding bravery.

There were some moments of sadness and regret as well.

What is apparent is how carefree and free-spirited some of the Wolves players from yesteryear were.

Palmer and George Berry never kept programmes from the greatest moment of their careers, while Bradshaw’s sad fall upon hard times has seen him sell his winner’s tankard to someone in Ireland for £3,000.

Parkin hasn’t seen his Wembley shirt since exchanging it with Forest’s John Robertson after the game.

Berry asked each player to sign a programme for him so he finally has a keepsake of the famous day.

Quick as a flash, fellow centre-half McAlle piped up: “Sign this for George?! You’re joking aren’t you?

“The only thing I ever got from George – who always wore contact lenses on the pitch – was a mouthful of broken teeth and blood after I called to head away a corner against Birmingham and he came through me, saying: ‘Sorry Scouse, I thought you were Frank Worthington!’”

Along with the premature death of captain Emlyn Hughes to a brain tumour at the age of 57 in 2004, saddest of all, midfielder Peter Daniel – now a taxi driver in his native Hull – didn’t want to be part of the charity sign-in as the depth of his grieving over the loss of his own son to cancer two years ago made the process too raw.

Mark still has five signed shirts and several programmes left for auction. Anyone interested should contact him via email on rigbym70@live.co.uk

Comments for: "Wolves' Wembley heroes sign up to boost Severn Hospice charity fund"

John Evesham

great article. Brings back memories of a great day - and a great night in Wolverhampton after the match!!

Selly park wolf

Well done mark rigby all for a great cause.its nice to recall some of those famous players too! Hibbitt, Richards,Gray and Hughes but a few from that fantastic season.my one and only visit to wembley seems like a dream now but I live in hope that one day I will return!

Mike Hankin

Yes, I was at that game, some great Wolves players there- gave their all for the shirt, was there with my Brother and Dad (RIP) whenever I see Andy Gray's goal I look towards where we were standing- just for a glimps of us all!

Great day out wonder if we'll ever get another like it

Mike T

Well done to Mark and I hope he raises loads. Also well done to all those former players for mucking in.

What great memories come flooding back from that period (1972 to 1981). Some wonderful times on the South Bank seeing some fantastic games and goals.

Newark Wolves

Legends - all of them.

Sir Lupi

Only major trophy since 1980??

Winning the Championship and a play-off final not major then?

It was for me.

When was the last time the Olbyen won a major trophy, I honestly don't know?

Wolf

Winning the championship was only like winning the old second division

I remember the 79-80 season, sixth in the top flight and going to wembley and winning the league cup, then playing in europe the following season

winning the championship weren't a patch on those days, we had class players not second rate players like Mad Micks

bickleywolf

Took my then 8 year old son to Wembley that day. He was standing next to a smlilar age lad with his parents and as we were scelabrating at the final whistle. I turned to both lads and said, "hope you see many more achievements like this in your lifetime and don't have to wait 20 years like we had to win a cup at Wembley (1960 FA Cup). Oh well, one can only dream and wish!

Wolfie

Not twenty years. Don't forget the glorious Wembley victory in 1974 when the underdogs Wolves beat Man City.

Ade

Was a brilliant day in a great era for Wolves (in my lifetime anyway !) Does anybody else remember Brian Clough walking towards us Wolves fans on his way to the tunnel after the final whistle? As you can imagine, he was getting loads of abuse until he put his arms above his head and applauded us! (the fans had been great) The jeers turned straight into cheers...easily swayed or what!

Charlie

Wow. Brilliant article and all done for a great cause. Sad to hear about Peter Daniel's kid. Daniel was my favourite player at the time.

I went to the game with my brother when i was 14, i lost one of my shoes just before half time after jumping up and down all game. I found the shoe at the end of the game. Will never forget the atmosphere.

Charlie

ATLANTA WOLVES

AucklandKiwiWolf

We did win the Sherpa Van trophy in 1988 at Wembley Stadium.Let's be grateful for small mercies.One can only speculate where and when the next silverwhere is going to come.

Melbourne Wolf

I was there with a mate, both aged 14, standing tunnel end, what a great day and let's not forget John Barnwell.

Had a moan at my 13 year old ( Gerard supporter) son last week after the Watford game. I remember going to VIc road for a mid week championship game which we won 2-0 thanks to an ageing Bully and a young Robbie Keane who was so easily the best player on the pitch

wembley 74

It was an amazing day because we never expected to win. Forest had won it 2 years running & i remember Cloughie cheekily asking if they could keep the Cup outright if they made it 3 in a row! Let's not forget they were also reigning European Champions and went on to win it again against Hamburg a few months after we had beaten them at Wembley. That was the size of our task. It would be like playing Man U or Chelsea today. The win in 1974 was expected because we felt it was our turn after near misses in '72 (UEFA Cup Final) & '73 (FA Cup S/F & League Cup S/F) but 1980 was totally unexpected as Cloughie & that Forest team were awesome. I'll never forget the goodwill from Liverpool FC & Bill Shankly who so badly wanted us to win for Emlyn Hughes to complete his collection of medals and because Forest were their big rivals at the time. His beaming face at the end as he lifted the trophy was simply unforgettable. Wembley '74 & '80. What days they were!