Wolves are back in Europe – and favourites from some of the club’s greatest European nights have been on the continent too, which left their host in tears of joy.
Kenny Hibbitt, John Richards, Steve Daley and Colin Brazier returned this week from a four-day trip to Norway to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Viking Wolves.
The quartet and their respective wives Jane, Pam, Lynda and Tracy were invited to Bergen by long-term Wolves fanatic Odin Henrikssen and his wife Cecilia.
Seventy-two Wolves fans from all over Norway – including one who drove for eight hours to be there – travelled to Bergen for an evening of entertainment which included a question and answer session on stage involving the four players.
The event took place in a marquee in the back garden of the Henrikssens’ house, where the former players enjoyed a meal and presented Henrikssen with a signed, framed picture featuring photos of Hibbitt and Richards scoring their goals in the 1974 League Cup final against Manchester City.
“It was absolutely superb,” Hibbitt told WolvesBite. “They made us feel very welcome and could not have looked after us any better. We were so well received and Odin and Cecilia were the perfect hosts. It was such a nice trip and something we will always remember and treasure.
“The fans came from all over Norway to see us and it could not have gone any better. Most of them had never met us before and the greeting we got from them was unbelievable. Odin loved his framed picture – he was crying when we presented it to him.”
Odin has helped make lifelong memories for those who were lucky enough to attend and he was delighted for everyone to share such a happy occasion. “The party was absolutely magnificent! Everyone, both the supporters and the legends, had a great time,” he said.
“I talked to John and he told me he had been to a few similar arrangements before, but he had never experienced anything like this before. The atmosphere was unique and everyone was so friendly.”
The players also got to view Henrikssen’s Wolves museum. “He has a lounge full of signed photos and other memorabilia,” said Hibbitt. “Then someone said to me ‘go next door’, and that was full of up to 50 different shirts from even before I joined the club right up to the Tatung shirt which we wore. It was amazing.”
Wolves visited Scandinavia regularly for pre-season training in the 1970s, hence their enduring popularity in the region, which has grown with the club’s recent success. But it was the first time the quartet had travelled abroad together since their Molineux days.
“It was a great experience for us all and we all got on really great,” added Hibbitt. “We had a bit of a drink and a laugh together when we first met up in the hotel, and when we were over there, we all met up for breakfast every morning. Bergen is a beautiful city and we had a great time.”
Hibbitt and Richards and their other halves had met up on Thursday and travelled up to Liverpool and stayed in a hotel overnight, to be met by the Daleys and Braziers the following day before all eight flew out from Merseyside.
After the anniversary celebrations on the Friday night, they blew out the cobwebs the following day with a walk round Bergen. Daley, in typical wind-up mode, couldn’t resist trying to tempt Hibbitt, who is scared of heights, to look down during a ride up a funicular railway which opened out to offer spectacular views of the harbour at a cafe at the summit. “You know what Stevie’s like – he kept saying, ‘come on Hibby, look down!’ and I was facing the other way!” said Hibbitt.
A three-hour trip to see the fjords followed, then on the Sunday they gathered to watch the Everton-Wolves game live on TV in a city centre pub. The game was preceded by footage of the Friday night’s Q&A session, where they met former West Ham striker Trevor Morley, who is now a TV presenter there after settling in the region.
“The first pub we went in was full of Liverpool memorabilia all over the ceiling, so we left there and found somewhere else down the road,” said Hibbitt. “I think watching the Everton game with us was the highlight for Odin, even though we lost. He told us it was the first time he had watched a game with players and he said he enjoyed every minute of it.”
Fittingly, the final words go to Odin, who did so much to make the experience a memorable one. “I think the legends had a great weekend and it was finished off in a pub in Bergen city centre on Sunday afternoon watching Everton v Wolves. The result was the only thing not being perfect during the weekend,” he concluded.