ON THIS DAY
In the longest Football League season on record – 274 days – Wolves played their penultimate game of the season, beating Huddersfield 1-0 away with a goal from winger Johnny Hancocks. In the absence of record-breaking centre forward Dennis Westcott, who finished as the League's top goalscorer with 38 goals in 35 games – still a club record – inside right Jimmy Dunn was drafted in for only his second appearance, with Jesse Pye switched to the central striking role. Victory meant Wolves' title hopes would go to the last game of the season, five days later, with a home game against Liverpool.
Roy Swinbourne scored a hat-trick as Wolves continued their 100 per cent winning form on their South African tour with a 3-1 win against Natal in Durban. Angus McLean, Billy Wright, Jimmy Dunn and Jesse Pye were recalled to the line-up by manager Stan Cullis at the expense of Bill Shorthouse, Norman Deeley, Johnny Walker and Sammy Smythe. It was the third win out of three of a 12-match tour in 43 days. Swinbournee's treble meant he went one better than in the two previous games, taking his tally to seven in three outings on the tour.
Norman Deeley bagged his second successive hat-trick – but he was outdone in the scoring stakes by fellow winger Jimmy Mullen, who netted four goals in a 11-1 rout of Northern Rhodesia in Kitwe. Stan Cullis's side signed off in style with their eighth win in eight games in their South African and Rhodesian tour. Jimmy Murray and Colin Booth both bagged braces in the biggest win of the tour, surpassing the 10-1 victory against Southern Rhodesia two days earlier. Wolves scored 49 goals and conceded just nine on the tour.
Wolves finally reached the Premier League for the first time after beating Sheffield United 3-0 in the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium. Mark Kennedy gave Dave Jones's side the perfect start after six minutes and further goals from Nathan Blake and Kenny Miller gave Wolves an unassailable lead against Neil Warnock's Blades, before goalkeeper Matt Murray saved a second-half penalty from Michael Brown in front of a crowd of 69,473. Wolves were roared on by 33,500 fans in Cardiff, their biggest following since the 1988 Sherpa Van Trophy final against Burnley at Wembley when around 50,000 supporters. Victory ended a 19-year absence from the top flight for Wolves, and they were greeted by thousands of fans on their return to Wolverhampton.