Express & Star

It's a game of two halves as details of classic Wolves picture goes to VAR

Our feature about a day in the life of a 1950s match-day photographer sparked a lot of interest from readers – and one or two scratched heads who say it should go to VAR.

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Reminiscing about his days as a football photographer, former Express & Star man Graham Gough produced one of his favourite pictures, showing a striker with a shock of black hair heading home for Wolves.

Graham recalled the goalscorer as being Wolves goal machine of the mid-to-late 1950s Jimmy Murray, and believed the goal came during a clash with Newcastle United during the mid-1950s.

However a number of readers have been in touch to say it was not Murray, but rather the much-travelled Scotsman Hugh McIlmoyle, who scored 35 goals in 90 games for Wolves between 1964-67.

To complicate matters further, one reader also suggests that the opponents may not be Newcastle United, but rather Sheffield Wednesday.

Giving the picture our own equivalent of the video referee – we conclude that it is a very close call.

As the photograph is in black and white, it is difficult to ascertain whether the opposition are wearing the black-and-white kit of Newcastle United, or the blue stripes of Wednesday. On balance, we believe the darkness of the stripes suggest it is probably Newcastle.

Goal machine – Jimmy Murray
Heading ball Wolves player Jimmy Murray
Press photographer Graham Gough with an MPP Press Camera ready for action in 1956
Graham Gough with his collection of cameras
Hugh McIlmoyle

Similarly, the face of the goalscorer is not very clear, and both players had distinctive black hair. However, close-up examination does lend weight to the argument that it is McIlmoyle – we have included pictures of both players, to help you make your choice.

Reader Robert Johnston points out that Wolves wore black shorts until the start of the 1965/66 season, when they switched to gold. The forward is clearly wearing light-coloured shorts, which again points to the era when McIlmoyle was leading the line.

However, putting the evidence to the man who took the picture, Graham insists it could not possibly have been taken in the mid-1960s as it was clearly taken on a glass-plate camera, with the details of the plate number on the back. Furthermore, Graham was no longer working as a match-day photographer by the mid-1960s. At times like this, you can sympathise with the video official.

Whatever the details, we think you will agree it was a cracking picture ­– and all the more remarkable given that Graham had to load a glass plate every time he took a picture.