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Golden Wolves memories go under hammer

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published:

Wolves may be flying high at the top of the Championship table but they have a long way to go to live up to their counterparts of nearly 70 years ago – the legendary team that inspired the creation of the European Cup.

Hansons’ football valuer Alistair Lofley with the Wolves programmes

Vintage football programmes have been unearthed which shed light on the golden era of the 1950s when the Molineux men were rightly regarded one of the top clubs in the world.

Now the programmes, brought to light by Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire, are to go under the hammer.

The find included seven original Wolves programmes from Molineux matches against European opposition, plus an FA Cup final programme from 1960 when Wolves last won the FA Cup, beating Blackburn Rovers 3-0.

Kevin Bucknall, valuer at Hansons Auctioneers, said: “This rare collection of programmes is a tribute to a Wolves team that took on Europe – and inspired the likes of George Best and Gordon Banks.

“This was a time when Wolves were a force to be reckoned with, playing the likes of Russia’s Spartak and Moscow Dynamo, West German champions Schalke and Hungary’s Honved.

“And all this success came when the England team were in the doldrums. In November 1953 England were soundly beaten at Wembley 6-3 by a team from Hungary, then again 7-1 in a match played six months later. English football supremacy was over.”

However, Wolves were flying the flag for the British game. They had invested in new floodlights at Molineux Stadium and a series of floodlit friendlies were organised against strong European opposition.

On November 11, 1954, Wolves secured a 4-0 victory over Spartak Moscow, watched by 60,000 fans. Then on December 13, 1954, they took on Honved of Budapest, a team which contained six members of the Hungary side which had recently destroyed England, including Ferenc Puskás, a man regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

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Classic Wolves programmes could cost as little as £1!

Mr Bucknall said: “Wolves came back from being 2-0 down to beat Honved 3-2 – and were hailed the best team in the world.

“The BBC broadcast the second half of the match live on TV and, at the tender age of eight, a young George Best watched the game – and became a Wolves fan.

“A 16-year-old Gordon Banks was also glued to the TV and a series of brilliant saves by Wolves goalkeeper Bert Williams inspired his career.

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“Plans were made for a Europe-wide competition as a result of the Honved game. That competition became known as the European Cup, now the Champions League. Consequently, that Honved programme is a crucial part of European football

history.”

In 23 matches under floodlights, both friendlies and competitive games against mainly European opposition, Wolves lost only one game to Barcelona. The Wolves football programmes have an estimate of just £100-£200.

They will go under the hammer in a Football and Sports Auction at Hansons Auctioneers, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, on February 22.

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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