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Gray and Richards in message to the current Wolves as League Cup win celebrated

From left, John Richards (slightly obscured), Mel Eves (holding League Cup winners tankard), George Berry, Norman Bell, Kenny Hibbitt and Geoff Palmer.

Andy Gray and John Richards re-united to hit the target with a message to the current Wolves heroes as the club’s last major trophy win was celebrated.

Gray, who scored the only goal in the 1980 League Cup final against Nottingham Forest, sent a video message which was broadcast in front of his former team-mates and 130 supporters at a charity lunch at the Mount Hotel in Tettenhall Wood, Wolverhampton, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Wembley success.

And the message was clear: To truly stand comparison with the 1980 side, Nuno Espirito Santo’s exciting side need to win some silverware.

“I’m sorry I can’t be with you guys but I am elsewhere in the world – in Qatar – doing some stuff on the Premier League,” said Gray, now 64.

“I would love to have been there but I just want to say I’m thinking of you all and I hope you have a wonderful time.

“I can’t believe it was 40 years ago – it only seems like yesterday. It was a brilliant day, and a brilliant night.

“It’s hard to believe we have not won anything (major) since, but by the looks of the current team, they are getting closer.”

Gray’s strike partner Richards agreed, saying: “I think they (current team) are a great team with some real quality players.

“But they have to seize this chance and win something, like we did.”

A full re-run of the final was played while the guests enjoyed a three-course meal, and eyebrows were raised at some of the incidents.

A late challenge from Forest right back Viv Anderson that caught Richards across the left knee and only warranted a free kick was deemed a red-card offence now by Premier League referees assessor Kenny Hibbitt.

The Wolves legend also claimed VAR would have awarded a goal for Richards’s effort disallowed for impeding goalkeeper Peter Shilton, a minute before Gray’s winning strike.

Richards was joined by fellow League Cup winners Geoff Palmer, George Berry, Hibbitt, Mel Eves and Norman Bell, while 1970s favourite Phil Parkes and ex-midfielder Dale Rudge also attended the event, hosted by Wolves fanatic Jason Guy, while former Molineux favourite Steve Daley put the questions to his old team-mates.

Berry and Bell travelled down from their homes in the north west, while Hibbitt journeyed up from the Cotswolds.

Manager John Barnwell, Gray, Colin Brazier and Willie Carr sent their apologies. Carr’s specialist warned it would be unwise for him to attend for concerns over risk of infection after he underwent a kidney transplant in January 2019.

The real winner was charity, and a total of £2,425.98 was raised from a raffle and an auction, which will be divided between the three chosen charities – Breast Cancer Now, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Promise Dreams.

After the screening of the game, each player was interviewed on stage by Daley about their playing careers.

With Daley playfully excluded from the photographs beforehand because he wasn’t involved in either of Wolves’ League Cup wins, the theme very much one of banter.

Richards joked that Daley’s clubs knew they were due a Wembley appearance when they sold him after Wolves got there in 1980 after selling him to Manchester City in 1979, with City promptly making it to the FA Cup final in 1981, just a few months after he left for the United States.

Daley introduced his close friend Palmer by saying he spent 14 years as a professional footballer followed by 16 years in the police force ‘but never stopped an attack!’

Palmer was later asked why he was nicknamed ‘Zico’, which brought the response ‘Just Google Burnley v Wolves, April 2, 1983’, when the former full back scored with a spectacular free kick for the only goal of the televised game.

Renowned mickey-taker Daley then said to Eves: “There were only two things that stopped you being an absolute legend at Wolves . . . your feet!” editor Tim Nash won a ‘true or false’ raffle based on a Wolves-themed 1980 League Cup quiz.

Nash has agreed to donate his prize – a framed picture signed by eight of the Molineux favourites who played in the final – to Claire Elliott’s gofundme page to raise money for her to receive vital cancer treatment not available on the NHS.