How Wolves' 1950s glory inspired Cape Town football club

It was 60 years ago – Wolves ruled the footballing roost, successively winning the old First Division under the guidance of manager Stan Cullis.

Wolves season ticket holder David Dimbylow with Grant Peters, chairman of Cape Town's Wolverhampton Sports Club
Wolves season ticket holder David Dimbylow with Grant Peters, chairman of Cape Town's Wolverhampton Sports Club

The 1950s were the club’s most successful years, topped when declared the ‘champions of the world’ on beating Hungarian titans Honved.

All well publicised and part of Wolves folklore.

But what is not so well-known is that the club’s heroics inspired the launch of an amateur football club thousands of miles away in South Africa.

This year, Wolverhampton Sports Football Club marks 60 years since it was launched from the depths of racial divisions in Cape Town in 1958.

Despite a difficult start, faced with a lack of sports facilities and money, the club established itself within the South African Coloured Football Association.

Today, it boasts more than 200 players with the majority coming from deprived and gang-dominated townships of Hanover Park, Lotus River and Lavender Hill.

Coaches work hard on not only improving the footballers’ performance on the field, but also off it with tutoring on the dangers of substance abuse, peer pressure and racial conflicts.

The club’s success has resulted in the emergence of several professional players, including Gerald Stober who made four appearances for the South African national side in the late 1990s.

But Wolverhampton, despite there never being any official links between the city and club, is at the heart of the club.

The club play in black and and gold stripes, and have a wolf in the same shape as Wolves’ on the shirt emblems.

Wolves season ticket holder David Dimbylow visited Wolverhampton Sports Club chairman Grant Peters to hand over Wolves merchandise including baseball caps, key rings, pens and wrist bands.

The kit for the juniors is sponsored by lawyer Barrisford Petersen, who works in Cape Town.

To mark the 60th year anniversary of the club, Mr Dimbylow handed over a Wolves calendar for 2018.

In return, he was given Wolverhampton Sports Club’s anniversary pennant.

Wolves merchandise given to the club in South Africa

Mr Dimbylow said: “I would like to think that the city and the club could forge a link with Cape Town.

“I’m not aware of any other club named after the Wolves and the good they do in a challenging community is extremely valuable.

“If a partnership was created money could be provided to support the South African club’s projects.”

The domestic success of Wolves – with First Division championships in 1953/1954, 1957/1958 and 1958/1959 – may not have been the only inspiration for the South African club’s name.

Wolves did two tours of South Africa, in 1951 and 1957.

The club played 18 games, winning all of them, but did not play in Cape Town, instead going mainly to Johannesburg and Durban.

Wolverhampton Sports Club, which was registered as a non-profit organisation, is now affiliated to Cape District Football Association. It has eight junior teams and four senior teams.

Treasurer Ashley Pitcher said it was started by a Scouts movement. He added: “Most of the members belonged this group but to play they needed a name. Members liked the name and the club was formed.”

Bosses want to build more sport facilities have more equipment and bring in more coaches.

They are on the look out for one playing kit, additional training for volunteers and financial assistance for team and player registrations as well as awards presentations and stationary.

Chairman Grant Peters said: “We recognise that we will not be able to continue the momentum of our club initiatives without the goodwill interventions of sponsorships.

“Our executive committee remain committed to working with such sponsorships so that the initiatives may be realised in the near future.

“The club looks forward to welcoming all and any sponsors to the Wolverhampton family.”

Mr Dimbylow said: “I’m looking to generate any support I can for the club out there. It is great to discover another Wolves so many miles away.”

To help, email wolvesfc1958@gmail.com

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