Kenny Hibbitt and John Richards are the latest guests to be signed up for a Wolves European tour with a difference.
The two long-serving legends have been invited to the 30th anniversary of the Viking Wolves, the club’s Norwegian supporters branch, in Bergen on August 30.
Hibbitt and Richards will be joining friends and late 1970s team-mates Colin Brazier and Steve Daley at the celebrations at the home of Wolves fanatic Odin Henrikssen, a frequent Molineux visitor, along with their wives. Other Molineux stalwarts could be set to follow them too, as Odin looks to have a bash to remember.
“When John and I received the invite we both jumped at the chance,” Hibbitt told www.wolvesbite.com. “It’s a privilege to be asked and we are very much looking forward to it, and to meeting everyone.”
Hibbitt and Richards are set to travel with their respective wives Jane and Pam for the party and are looking forward to making it a long weekend to take in the delights of the city, which they never got to sample during their time at Wolves.
All four players were involved for Wolves in European competition. Hibbitt and Richards were major figures in the run to the UEFA Cup final in 1972, and both were in the team for the club’s last competitive European game before the club’s return to competitive continental action this summer, the 1-0 home win against PSV Eindhoven on October 1, 1980, while Brazier came off the bench in both legs of the first round tie. Daley scored in the first minute of the 1972 UEFA Cup semi-final second leg home tie against Ferencvaros, a 2-1 win which sent Wolves to their only European final.
Wolves continue to enjoy huge popularity in Scandinavia, which all started when they were involved in the first match to be broadcast live there in November 1969 for a 1-0 win against Sunderland, when Hugh Curran scored the only goal at a snowbound Molineux.
Hibbitt and Richards were both at Wolves at the time but had yet to become regular first-team members, the former having made his debut as a substitute in a 1-0 defeat to Albion the previous April, while the latter made his bow in February 1970, also against their Black Country rivals, in a 3-3 draw at The Hawthorns.
Although Wolves have never played competitive matches in Norway, they were regular visitors there in the mid to late 1970s for pre and post season trips.
Wolves first visited Norway in the summer of 1975 for a three-match tour, following that up by returning for another three games two years later, before undertaking a similar trip in 1978.
Hibbitt and Richards were regulars in the team by then, and figured in the tours to Norway in 1975 and 1977, although Hibbitt missed the May 1978 trip as he was still recovering from a broken ankle sustained two months earlier.
More than 50 fans, including supporters from Wolverhampton, Bridgnorth, London and Berlin, will be attending the dinner in a marquee in the garden of the suburban house where Odin lives with his wife Cecilie.
Odin told the excellent www.wolvesheroes.com: “The players will be on stage, there will be a tour of the museum and we have space for over 100 guests. It is all happening on a Friday night – it’s not an international weekend, so it will be possible to go back early on the Saturday morning if that is the day the Wolves game is to be played that weekend.”
Last month Odin was interviewed at home by Sky Sports reporter and staunch Wolves fan Johnny Phillips. But he had the misfortune to suffer a serious Achilles injury in the end-of-season game at Molineux for overseas supporters.
Guests at the August 30 bash will be given a tour of Odin’s basement Wolves museum and will be entertained by a players’ Q & A as well as a big screen showing items of the club’s history. His house is 15 minutes away from both the city centre and its airport.
The last of Wolves’ trips to the land of fjords and mountains was in 2004, when Dave Jones was manager.