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Golden Moments from 50 Years of Supporting the Wolves Tim Spiers E&S 2016 article here


This cutting from the 60’s is a 1967 shot of the WWLSC chairman in full dress with Robert Goddard, Dave Slade Slape,  Willie Waldron, Sid Green, Martin Duckett, Dave Bell Chris Stonnell and other WWLSC fans in Molineux’s North Bank.  The article At Home? That’s Quite a Trip published 31st Jan 1968 read:


There are plenty of football fans who are keen enough to follow their favourite football team  through every match, home or away, throughout the season. But few for whom a home match means a journey over over 100 miles! Every Saturday a group of 35 lads board a train to travel throughout the country to follow the Wolves  Founded halfway through last football season, the team’s London Fan Club spare no expense to follow their idols and have been known to spend up to £8 to go to one match.  For each home match the group have a specially allocated corner in the North Bank at Molineux, and the picture shows Stuart Earl of Treville St London SW15 surrounded by the rest of the fans at a recent home game.  Why do they go to such great expense to to follow Wolves in preference to one of the top London clubs? “Because we think Wolves are the best team in the first division” said Stuart.  He added that the club was only going through a bad spell at present, and the fans were confident Wolves would be back on top form very soon.There are plenty of football fans who are keen enough to follow their favourite football team  through every match, home or away, throughout the season. But few for whom a home match means a journey over over 100 miles! Every Saturday a group of 35 lads board a train to travel throughout the country to follow the Wolves  Founded halfway through last football season, the team’s London Fan Club spare no expense to follow their idols and have been known to spend up to £8 to go to one match.  For each home match the group have a specially allocated corner in the North Bank at Molineux, and the picture shows Stuart Earl of Treville St London SW15 surrounded by the rest of the fans at a recent home game.  Why do they go to such great expense to to follow Wolves in preference to one of the top London clubs? “Because we think Wolves are the best team in the first division” said Stuart.  He added that the club was only going through a bad spell at present, and the fans were confident Wolves would be back on top form very soon.


This picture also features in the Wolves V QPR matchday programme 19th August 2015 pictured here


Our first recorded member match though goes back a bit further when George Vincent went to the 8-3 thrashing of Chelsea in 1946 and the following year the 26th April - WW 6 Chelsea 4  George is pictured here with Life President John Richards

Although Dave Gilson remembers pre-war football









and 50 years on from Secretary Dave Slape’s first trip he was presented with an anniversary cake on the Euston Express




The London Wolves Football team of 1977 (youtube link from Louis Rómulo  - click on the picture)

Back row L:R Rob Coleman,Tim Maher, John Engleman, Ray Stock, Colin Cutts, Peter Coath, Terry Peachey, Martin Rutherford, John Saville, Reg Bartley, Ray Harris, Mark Feehan  Front row L:R Steve Roe, Tony Roche, Ivan Gillespie, Gerry Hirth, Bob Tyler, Mel Marston

Photo: Mike Woodward of the Daily Mirror.

 




About London Wolves:

Founded in 1966, and the longest established Wolves Supporters’ Club,  when several members got together on the train to Wolverhampton, we are still  helping our over 300 members with reduced rate travel - our first coach was 22nd October 1966 to the home win against Plymouth.  We are looking forward to celebrating 50 years of supporting  Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club - “THE WOLVES” - in 2016. Details here  If you are a Wolves fan based in the South of England (or anywhere else - we have members all over the world!)  why not join us?    

The teams for that first official LW  match a 2-1 win with Ernie Hunt and Dave Woodfield scoring. The sub, Graham Hawkins, a terrace fan, then a player, later became a promotion winning manager.

 Benefits of membership include:



Latest Travel news  is on the Travel page   Latest Wolves news homepage & Match Reports & pix on the matches pages

For the Honved 1954 story click here


This article congratulating London Wolves on their support of the Wolves appears in the January 8th 2005 Sporting Star (the pink pages) following Wolves’ win over Millwall in the FA Cup. John presents a regular “fan’s eye view” in the Sporting Star - which used to be published at 5:30 on Saturdays and available on-line Sunday morning.  Details of how to subscribe to the Digital edition of the E&S follow the article.....

this article is Express & Star Newspapers’ copyright.   You can also get the full newspaper every day (or on the evening following matches if you don’t want them all) Monday to Friday from about 5.30pm here:  http://www.expressandstar.com Follow the links to Digital Edition for full subscription to see the paper every day.









Wolves featured London Wolves in the matchday programme v QPR on 19th August 2015


Golden Moments from 50 Years of Supporting the Wolves Tim Spiers 2016 article Express & Star


http://www.expressandstar.com/sport/wolverhampton-wanderers-fc/2016/10/11/feature-golden-moments-from-50-years-of-supporting-wolves/


One of their members has missed only one home game in 40 years, they used to run out of the players' tunnel at Molineux to supporters chanting their name, and they've travelled to matches with players, Sir Jack Hayward and a famous pop star.


Welcome to London Wolves.


The club's longest-running supporters' club – and one of the oldest of its kind in the country – is about to turn 50.


They've experienced dizzying highs and endured devastating lows over the past five decades – and that's before you even get started on the football.


It all began, though, in a very different era.


Stuart Earl, who was there from day one and is the club's chairman, takes up the story as we travel from London to Wolverhampton ahead of the Wolves v Norwich game.


"Me and Dave (Slape, current secretary) met on the 9.15 out of Paddington," he said. "We saw each other every week and just thought there had to be a cheaper way of doing it, so we set about organising coach travel and it took off from there.


"It struck me at Wolves away games in London that there were a lot of Wolves fans around the ground.


"We put a couple of adverts in Football Monthly, Soccer Star and wrote to all the London clubs asking if they'd put something in their programme, which Fulham and Arsenal did. We got a few phonecalls and that was that."


Dave added: "I was on the first trip. Two weeks earlier we met Jack Howley, the Wolves secretary, with about 12 people saying we wanted to form a club. The first trip was Plymouth (October 22, 1966, a 2-1 home win)."


Football worked very differently back then. London Wolves would be let in to Molineux matches for free, with chairman John Ireland believing fans who travelled so far to get to games shouldn't have to pay.


They would board a coach from Victoria station (they switched to train travel after a couple of years) and have a corner of the North Bank allocated to them.


Stuart added: "We used to come out of the players' tunnel and the North Bank would chant 'London Wolves' and point at us!


"The commissionaire used to salute us. We'd go outside at quarter to three and all go into the stand together.


"It was quite embarrassing."


The club's numbers soon grew. At their peak, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, they had almost 400 members, with the 1981 FA Cup semi final against Spurs at Hillsborough attracted a record booking of 108 fans.


Just a few years later, with Wolves' rapid decline in full flow, things were very different.


Travel secretary Peter Woodifield has been with the club since its formation and still kept attending in the dark days of the 1980s. Yes, he even went to all three Chorley FA Cup games.


"In the Bhatti era you had to be a bit more dedicated!" he said. "The Third Division, when we were still on our way down, it was a real effort to go to those games."


Mark Feehan had joined in 1976, aged 12, after spotting an advert in a Millwall programme.


"You hear people complain today about bad games, but you really had to be a diehard in the 1980s," he said. "You didn't even know if they would put a team out some days.


"We even had the conversations about what we'd do if the worst happened and Wolves no longer existed."


But London Wolves, like the club, survived – and thrived.


Sir Jack Hayward used to travel with them for midweek games (even taking part in Dave's 'guess the score' competition), as did a host of former players.


Dexys Midnight Runners singer Kevin Rowland is a former member, as is BBC presenter Jacqui Oatley.


John Richards is the club's honorary president and the likes of Carl Ikeme, David Edwards and Karl Henry have travelled back to London with them after matches in recent years.


"We have interaction with the players, especially some of the older ones," Mark added.


"You bump into someone like Mel Eves, or John De Wolf, and they'll always chat to us. And some of the current players too – Richard Stearman was still in touch with us the entire time he was at Fulham."


That's not to say that travelling from London to every game hasn't been without its pitfalls.


There have been several mishaps, delays and breakdowns over the years, even as recently as last season when horrendous motorway traffic on the way to Middlesbrough forced the group, who travelled to that particular game by coach, to abandon in Sheffield and watch the match in a pub.


Peter, who sorts out the club's bookings and match tickets, added: "Travelling to Blackpool in 1985 we got as far as Reading. Some of us went to a game in Aldershot or somewhere.


"There was one at Huddersfield in the 1960s when the coach broke down just on the outskirts of Huddersfield and we ended up pushing it up a hill! I'll never forget that. We missed the first 25 minutes of that one.


"After the game we were playing football in the Huddersfield car park and one of their directors invited us into the boardroom. He paid for everyone who couldn't afford it to get the train back home.


"We also played Darlington in the FA Cup (in 1998) and we got all the way up there and the game had been postponed, purely on a bad weather forecast that never materialised. We got a 4-0 win in the rearranged game though."


And then of course there's the story that the majority of Wolves fans seem to have heard of - that of London Wolves member Peter Abbott, who missed his first home game for 37 years due to his stepdaughter's wedding being scheduled on the same day as the clash versus Coventry in 2013.




These days the group have around two dozen or so travelling to most games, with some of the older fans converting their sons and daughters to create the next generation of London Wolves.


Chairman Stuart said that without his dear old friends Dave and Peter Woodifield the club would struggle to keep going.


"It's down to Dave and Peter, the work they do," he said. "They're conscientious and honest as the day is long.


"I don't know what we'd do without them. Nothing is too much trouble. They spend the whole day up and down the train doing raffles, or competitions, or collecting ticket money bookings. People give their time for absolutely nothing to make sure the club keeps going."


The 50th year was marked in style with a golden anniversary dinner at Charlton's ground, The Valley, in July, attended by a host of ex-players and then-boss Kenny Jackett.


A special reception will be held in Molineux's WV1 bar on the day of the Leeds game on October 22, marking 50 years to the day since that first ever trip.


And whether it's an early 12.30pm kick off at home to Derby next month, or a Tuesday night trip to Cardiff in December - games that will involve unspeakably early starts or unfathomably late nights - this likeable, hardy bunch of fiercely loyal supporters will be there, cheering on their boys in gold and black, like they have done for the past five decades.


"I think the reason we all enjoy it so much is the social side of it and the camaraderie," Mark said.


"We have a lot of away fans travelling with us too. Brentford brought a bag of Chinese fortune cookies with them the other week to share out.


"Everyone knows everyone and we're all friends."


Stuart added: "My mother thought I'd grow out of it, but 50 years later I'm still here."


Let's hope that in another 50 years, London Wolves will still be here too. Football – and Wolves – would be a poorer place without them.



Read more at http://www.expressandstar.com/sport/wolverhampton-wanderers-fc/2016/10/11/feature-golden-moments-from-50-years-of-supporting-wolves/#BUj7EjY67JMisOFW.99


Tim’s article drew the following comments

Comments for: "Golden moments from 50 years of supporting Wolves"

bobsterman October 11, 2016 11:33 am

Well done lads keep it up . How are you Stefan haven't seen you in mayo for awhile.

paul October 11, 2016 11:59 am

Always had good support and does anyone remember the flag on the coach which said Wolves Supporters Club" Peking Branch," used to make me chuckle every time i drove past.

chris h October 11, 2016 12:05 pm

Top fans. I have been going 53 years and I can barely remember a time when you were not mindful of London Wolves taking the train up to the wilds of the West Midlands. It seemed to me during the worst part of the Bhatti years, a fair portion of the 3000 or so that kept going, came from outside the immediate Wolverhampton area .

rimmerp October 11, 2016 1:38 pm

best of the best saved me some 40years ago at millwall that tunnel four cockney guys follow us mate they saved my beacon god bless them

maltawolves October 11, 2016 3:12 pm

Great article but 1 mistake,London Wolves are NOT the clubs oldest supporters club.This honour goes to the Malta Wolves supporters club who in fact were founded in April 1960. I believe that the club currently has around 200 supporters Maltese and expats alike who attend matches at the Molineaux usually once or twice a year.

maltawolves October 11, 2016 3:14 pm

Sorry Tim but i think that you will find that the Malta Wolves supporters club founded in April 1960 is infact the clubs oldest supporters club.

Faagen-Bazs October 11, 2016 5:29 pm

Alright, don't bang on about it.

NewYorkWolves October 11, 2016 3:19 pm

Great article Tim. London Wolves have 50 years of stories for the next Steve Gordos book. How about it Steve?

blazindata October 11, 2016 3:30 pm

Excellent article, great supporters and almost makes me wish I still had my season ticket....almost.

Cape Wolf October 11, 2016 5:41 pm

Great story by the E&S for a change. These guys have displayed incredible loyalty down the years. I was a member of London Wolves in the late 70's when living in Hertfordshire and remember Dave Slade, Stuart and Terry Peachy very well. I used to go to the meetings in a club in Soho - don't get smutty - and there were some wonderful end of season dinners at The Oval Cricket Club. I lost touch after I moved to Northants and now Cape Town.

Just wanted to say well done and respect to all the London Boys still making the pilgrimage to The Golden Palace and also the trips to Bolton and Barnsley for a midweek fixture in January!

PS I thought we took more to the Arsenal semi final in '79 than the Spurs game in '81?

Bazwolf October 11, 2016 6:31 pm

These guys are the best. There no better nor loyal WW fans than these London Wolves . Can you imagine the hours these guys get home after away games upNorth on cold Winter evenings. I have the pleasure of knowing many of them. All have agreat story to tell as to how come they are WW fans. Alos they have the most wonderful of relationships with many of our old heroes from the 70 and 80s. Take a bow London Wolves - top folks the lot of you

Baz