Wolves will parade 10 of their highest appearance makers at the Chelsea game – and it’s a line-up to make fans’ mouths water.
The club are planning a series of events to mark the 130th anniversary of Molineux for their return to Premier League action – and while Nuno Espirito Santo’s current side will wear special commemorative shirts to honour the occasion, it also promises to be a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane for supporters.
Phil Parkes, Geoff Palmer, Derek Parkin, Mike Bailey, John McAlle and Kenny Hibbitt from the much-loved 1970s team and Andy Thompson, Steve Bull, Andy Mutch and Robbie Dennison from the late 1980s revival will walk a lap on honour at half-time of the fixture to a backdrop of video footage of special moments of Molineux history.
The 10 have been invited to the game as special guests to mark the celebration and are being treated to a champagne reception and three-course meal hosted by director John Bowater before the game prior to being introduced to the crowd then invited to walk on in pairs.
All those invited have played significant roles in Wolves’ rich and varied Molineux story. Parkin is the club’s record appearance maker with 609 games, Hibbitt is second on the list with 574 and Bull is third with 561. McAlle is sixth with 509, Palmer eighth with 496, Thompson 11th on 451, Bailey 13th (436), Parkes 16th with 382, Dennison 22nd (353) and Mutch joint 25th on 338.
Bull is the club’s record scorer with 306 goals including a record 18 hat-tricks, and has a stand named after him, Bailey is one of Wolves’ greatest captains having lifted the League Cup in 1974, Palmer, Parkin and Hibbitt all won two League Cups, Parkes holds the record for consecutive appearances (123 League and 171 league and cups) and Palmer is one of only two players who played for the club in all four divisions.
In addition, Parkes, Parkin, McAlle and Hibbitt helped Wolves reach the UEFA Cup final in 1972 and win the Texaco Cup the year before, while Thompson, Bull, Mutch and Dennison were all part of the team that won Fourth and Third Division titles back to back in 1988 and 1989 and the Sherpa Van Trophy in 1988.
Nuno is proud to be part of the day and said: “The club has been here since 1889 – it’s been a long, long time. It’s special – Molineux is our home, so it will be a good day.
“It’s an honour and you can see how many fantastic nights at Molineux are ahead. To be part of this club’s history at this moment is a big, big honour.
“Us as manager, staff and coaches should be proud to be there. It will be fantastic, and a fantastic day. But we still have to play the game, and this is what is more important.”
Nuno has done his research on the club’s history too. “I did a couple of visits around the museum,” he added. “I learned the history of the club, the tough moments when the team trained outside in the car park, so to be there after the glory of before, then to go down again and back up, this is history. I am proud to be part of that, so of course I know the history of the club.”
Wolves have three statues outside Molineux celebrating those who gave so much to the club – Billy Wright, Stan Cullis and Sir Jack Hayward.
Asked if he would like to be similarly immortalised, Nuno said: “I don’t want a statue – I want to stay around as long as I can! For me? I am here, now I go there (points to office) and then I will be at the game. I’m only focusing on the game. There’s nothing more important.”