Wolves legend Kenny Hibbitt reckons the ‘electric’ Molineux atmosphere at the Manchester United game was like a World Cup final – so much so that he had to video it.
The double League Cup winner also says the noise equalled the best he has known
in all his 50-year association with the club, even though he played in several bigger crowds in his 16 years as a player there.
“I thought it was electric last Saturday. It was like a World Cup final, like ‘wow!’” the 68-year-old told www.wolvesbite com
“The only times I have experienced it like that was against Leeds in 1972 when they were going for the Double when there was 53,000 there and about 10,000 locked out, when Liverpool came here in ’76 and they had to win to clinch the title and we had to win to stay up and fans were climbing the floodlight pylons, and for the Juventus and Ferencvaros games in the UEFA Cup.
“But I felt it even more because I was in the stands – when you’re in the middle of he pitch you don’t feel it as much.
“If I’d have been out there playing, it would have inspired me.”
Hibbitt believes Nuno Espirito Santo’s side matched the superb support with their winning performance.
“They performed for the fans as much as they did the club,” he said.
“The players responded to the fantastic support. It was so incredible that I started videoing it because I had never known anything like the atmosphere and the noise, but then someone came up to me and asked me something and I got distracted, so I took six or seven pictures instead.
“When I looked all around the ground and I saw the gold and black banners, I thought ‘I’ve got to take some pictures of this’.”
Hibbitt experienced Cup fever several times, with the excitement dashed by three losing semi-finals.
And the former midfielder believes Nuno was right to pick a strong team because Wolves fans have so much feeling for the Cup.
“That’s how important it is to these fans because they have always been passionate about the Cup,” he said.
“If we get to Wembley in the final it will be the highlight of their lives.
“We’re different to lots of other clubs and fans around the country. Since I joined in ’68 the fans have always had a passion for the cups. Yes they want to do well in the league but to Wolves fans, the Cup is important, and they proved that on Saturday.
“You look at other grounds there were empty seats, but you couldn’t move at Molineux.
“So I am glad we picked a strong team. Yes, he made some changes in the earlier rounds because the priority was trying to establish ourselves in the Premier League, so you can understand it in a way because teams that have come up from the Championship want to stay there and don’t want to jeopardise their position.
“I think he has got it right. He has played a strong side at the right time. Winning breeds success – you can take your cup form into the league games.”