In football success is hard to come by, there’s only one team each season that can win the league, and cup success is limited to 2 or three competitions a season so there’s usually a maximum of 4 trophies a club can win in a domestic season. Under Graham Turner Wolves won 3 trophies, two consecutive league titles and the Sherpa Van trophy in two great seasons.
You can’t do better than win the league you are in and managers that achieve this feat in consecutive years are considered to be greats, somewhat easier with millions to spend in today’s Premier League, but Graham achieved it at a club that had been twice in the hands of the receiver in previous years, in a ground condemned on two sides and with a team that had suffered one of the most dramatic collapses in football league history.
In 1980 Wolves finished high in the top flight and beat the European Champions Forest at Wembley to win the League Cup. But by the ‘85 – ’86 season the club was playing 4th division football losing in the Cup to non league Chorley and very much at it’s lowest ebb. Brian Little took over as manager at the start of that season and was hopeless, he resorted to playing 8 defenders at home to try and get a point against Burnley, we lost 1 – 0.
At times he was clearly feeling the strain of trying to get promotion out of the second division, but he remained loyal to the DDCWWFCSC
Something drastic was called for, Little was sacked and Graham was brought in. A Wolves supporter as a boy, hailing from Ellesmere Port, he needed to turn the club around quickly. Attendances were around 5,000 or lower, results were required and a new team needed to be built quickly and cheaply.
Graham did this picking up players from here and there, not least Albion from where he acquired 4 players 2 initially in Steve Bull and Andy Thompson who were followed across the Black Country by Robbie Dennison and later Ali Robertson. Results turned around and in a Micky Holmes inspired run (he scored in 7 consecutive games) Wolves went on a run that saw them go from a poor 16th in the league up to 4th and a Play Off place in the first ever play offs.
Unfortunately the Play Off bogey started that year but the following year we raced to the Fourth Division Championship with Bully on fire scoring over 50 league and cup goals in a 4th Division/ Sherpa Van double winning season, followed by the Third Division Championship the following season which also saw the team reaching the area final against Torquay, and Bully scoring another 50.
It was during that season that Coxy managed to persuade the football club to bring the team back to the Dun Cow after a Sunday lunchtime game at Northampton, where they were all treated to a Sunday Lunch. At a meeting the previous evening the members present decided that Graham should be asked to become an Honorary member of the DDCWWFCSC succeeding John Humphrey, and we were thrilled when Graham accepted after the meal.
There after a strong relationship was formed with Graham and he came along to 3 of the next 4 dinners. At times he was clearly feeling the strain of trying to get promotion out of the second division, but he remained loyal to the DDCWWFCSC and always enjoyed the banter with members and wanted to know about what real ale was on and what people were up to.
We see Graham occasionally at Molineux at Former Players Association Dinners and other events, and although his life is now Hereford United in various roles he always has time for us in the DDCWWFCSC.
We are thrilled by the recent announcement from Molineux that Graham will make it a hat trick of Honorary Members being inducted into the Woles Hall of Fame alongside Mike Bailey and John Richards, and some representatives of the DDCWWFCSC will be present at the induction ceremony, to join in the celebrations with them.