Tributes to Express & Star director who helped save Wolverhampton Wanderers

Tributes have been paid to a former Express & Star director and Wolves stalwart who helped save the club during the dark days of the mid-1980s.

Happy Wolves fan Peter Creed celebrates Wolves' 4-1 win over Watford after placing a £2 bet at 100-1
Happy Wolves fan Peter Creed celebrates Wolves' 4-1 win over Watford after placing a £2 bet at 100-1

Peter Creed, who was also a driving force behind the Former Wolves Players' Association, died aged 90 on Sunday after a short illness.

A childhood neighbour of Rachael Heyhoe Flint, he had been watching Wolves since 1939, and had a huge passion for the club which remained with him for the rest of his life.

Peter Creed, right, with former Wolves star Mike Bailey and wife Barbara

Mr Creed was part of the action group formed in the mid-1980s to bring to an end the disastrous Bhatti brothers regime, which saw the club plunge into the Fourth Division for the first time in history.

The group, which also included then Wolverhampton Council leader John Bird, encouraged Wolves' creditors to take out a winding-up petition against the club, forcing Mohammed and Mahmud Bhatti to relinquish control. The club was then taken over by a consortium made up of Wolverhampton Council, supermarket giant Asda, and property developer Gallagher Estates.

Mr Creed was well known with local bookies for placing a small bet on Wolves to win each home game 4-1, a habit he shared with his friend and former Wolves press officer John Hendley.

Charity football at Halesowen, Express & Star V Midland All Star XI. Man of the match Duncan Rose (middle) with his bottle of wine presented by Peter Creed (right) and one of the organiser Roy Williams.

Mr Creed, who lived in Tettenhall, joined the Express & Star as an advertising rep in 1957, becoming a director of the Shropshire Star at its launch in 1964. He was later appointed advertising director of the Express & Star, a post he held until his retirement in 1991. He was also a representative on the Newspaper Society and a governor of Tettenhall College.

He was also a keen speedway buff, and after his retirement from the Express & Star he took on the role as commercial manager of Wolves Speedway.

His son Mike said his passion for Wolves remained right up until his death, and on Thursday last week he had been watching highlights of his team's 4-0 victory over Watford.

He was close friends with former Wolves owner Sir Jack Haywood and club vice-president Rachael Heyhoe Flint, as well as many of the players from the club's halcyon days during the 1950s.

"We would have Bert Williams and Billy Wright coming into the front room," Mike recalled.

Peter Creed, second left at a meeting calling for action to remove the Bhatti brothers from Wolves in October, 1985. Speaking was then council leader John Bird, and former Wolves star John Richards can be seen second from right.

He said his father was extremely proud of the part he played in saving the club in 1986.

The Bhatti brothers had taken control of the club in 1982, as part of a 'rescue' package fronted by ex-player Derek Dougan. But their plan for the club depended on being able to redevelop Molineux to include a retail complex and hotel. When this scheme was refused planning permission, the Bhattis struggled to finance the club, causing Wolves to plunge from the First to Fourth Division and the brink of bankruptcy.

Mike said his father realised that drastic action would be needed to save the club from the very real threat of extinction.

"He was a big friend of John Bird, who was leader of Wolverhampton Council at that time," he said.

"The club was in a mess, the gates were very low. He always felt that if he and people like John Bird didn't do something, nothing was ever going to save the club."

Peter Creed, right, at a Wolvers Former Players' Association dinner with Rachael Heyhoe Flint, Mel Eves, John McAlle, Kenny Hibbitt, Willie Carr and Peter Creed.

Mike said his father, who was of Irish descent, also had a great love of horse racing.

"He was very much into Irish horse racing, he had a lot of friends in Ireland and would go over there occasionally to watch the races."

As a young man he had played for Penn Cricket Club, and in the 1960s he had been a member of Wrekin Golf Club.

Peter Creed, third from right, at the launch of the Shropshire Star in 1964

Mike added that despite his many interests, his father was also very much a family man.

Fellow Express & Star director Richard Green, who took over Mr Creed's role as administrator of the Former Wolves Players' Association about 10 years ago, recalls how the idea for the group came about at the funeral of club legend Jimmy Mullen in 1987.

"It was a time when the club was in total disarray, and the only time that the star players from the glory years of the 1950s would get together was at funerals," said Mr Green.

"Peter and others decided that an association should be formed."

Peter Creed, (back row, wearing glasses) celebrating the Shropshire Star's first design award in the mid-1960s

He added that it was the work of Mr Creed and others like him in the 1980s that laid the foundations for Wolves' success today.

"Wolves are enjoying a period of success on and off the field at the moment, but if it wasn't for Wolves stalwarts like Peter Creed, we wouldn't be where we are today.

"Many people forget that when we are winning matches and going well, they talk about Fosun, but it was the hard work of Peter Creed and others like him who made sure that there was a club for Fosun to buy."

Peter Creed at Rachael Heyhoe Flint's funeral in February 2017

Paul Berry, press officer for the Wolves Former Players' Association, said Mr Creed played a hugely important link between the organisation and the club.

“His love of the former players and his unflinching loyalty towards them in constantly looking out for their interests was legendary, and they have always been so appreciative of his support," said Mr Berry.

“The way the Former Player's Association has gone from strength to strength in recent years is only thanks to the strong foundations put in place by Peter, and him being named an honorary life vice-president back in 2018 was a fitting and much-deserved tribute to his years of dedication.”

Peter Creed leaves a widow, Joan, and sons Mike and Charles.

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