The story of the 1986 / 87 Play-off Final cannot be told without putting the entire season in context… Probably the most memorable and eventful season any of us will ever go through? In June 1986, having suffered three successive relegations, the dogs of doom were howling through the carcass of Molineux. Only two sides of the stadium were open at that time: The South Bank and the ‘John Ireland’ Stand [now Steve Bull]. A gentleman named Sammy Chapman guided us through the ignominy of being relegated from the 3rd Division the previous season. Having no funds he was playing the likes of his two sons, Cavan and Campbell, amongst other people who had no business to be wearing the old gold shirt. A 1-1 draw at Molineux against Bury in March 1986 was watched by only 2,205 people [I was certainly not there]. The only positive memories of that appalling prior season were a number of goals from Andy King, and a certain Andrew Mutch joining towards the end of the season [saving us from 24th place by scoring in the final 3 games]. Chapman duly resigned. But if we thought that was bad: things were to get much, much, worse. After a disappointing World Cup [our only solace in those grim days] - losing to Maradona's 'Hand of God' in the quarter finals; Wolves fans finally received the news we had been dreading. Wolverhampton Wanderers is being wound up. I shed so many tears that day. I was living in London and away from the rumour mill and took the news literally ... FFS I thought it was the end. A High Court appeal was made in early July 1986 and we had to endure three nail-biting weeks before successfully winning the appeal. A few days later a rescue package was put together by Wolverhampton Council and Asda, to give us enough funds and wherewithal [under a new company Wolverhampton Wanderers 1986 Ltd.] to allow us to be admitted into the 4th Division for 1986 / 1987. Brian Little stepped into the breach as caretaker manager with the makeshift bunch of players we had and, to be honest, did an excellent job in the first 10 games, getting 5 wins. I remember being so satisfied after the horror of the previous three years. This [start] included a 2-1 win at the Recreation Ground [Aldershot] in the second fixture of the season. However Little was sacked, in mid October, in favour of Graham Turner; Turner himself having been recently sacked by Aston Villa after taking them down to the second tier at the end of the previous season. At the time I remember being slightly disappointed with Little's sacking, thinking the decision was a poor, and unfair, one. Two events then proved pivotal, not only to the season but to the very fabric of the club. In mid November 1986 we played two FA Cup games against Chorley … a side languishing in the depths of non League. Both games ended 1-1. On 21st November Turner made two signings from West Bromwich Albion: Andy Thompson and Stephen Bull. On 24th November we lost 3-0 to Chorley and we became the derogatory headline on the back pages of every National tabloid. This was our nadir. Everyone knows the impact Bully made; but I remember the turning point as being in an away game against Burnley on Valentines day, which we won 5-2 I think coming back from behind? [I wasn’t at that game, being newly-wed at the time]. We lost only two games after that [Orient away, and more pointedly Southend away] and won 11 out of the last 12 games. The atmosphere at those away games was immense. We would completely take over the towns we played in. I clearly remember the lunchtime KO at Exeter [3-1] where the whole City was full of Wolves fans singing that song: “Where the Hell are you from? we're from Wol-ver-hamp-erton!”. It was the same in places like Halifax and Peterbrough. But the Friday night defeat at Southend, near the season end, would prove our undoing. Despite our fantastic run-in to the end of the season we finished just one point behind those same Shrimpers [Southend] and were consigned to contest in the first playoff lottery in the modern era [prior to 1987 the top four teams in the 4th Div were automatically promoted, and we had finished fourth]. We started well in the Play-off Semis beating Colchester in a night game away and then drawing at home; enough to get us into the two-legged Play-off Final against Aldershot FC. The same Aldershot that we had beaten 2-1 away and 3-0 at home. So on to that Friday night 1st Leg game away at Aldershot on 22 May 1987 …. I’d been thinking of nothing else all week and got to the ground two hours early. I remember standing on the empty terrace with the railway line behind watching the Aldershot fans gathering. It had been raining onto the soggy pitch all afternoon, and I remember fearing how that could be a ‘leveller’ [I was ultimately proven right]. Suddenly I heard the familiar chanting outside the ground, and the terrace started filling up from the back with old gold. Although there were only 5,000 in the ground the atmosphere was huge. After the fantastic end to the year I was so sure we’d score a hatful leaving just a routine celebration at Molineux the following Monday. Tommy Langley was playing for Aldershot, the same Langley who’d played for us a couple of years previously. I can’t remember if he scored. There was also a Bobby Barnes in their side who played on the wing. But this night wasn't to have a happy ending and we lost 2-0. Aldershot is a small family type club and there were sadly some scenes of violence outside the ground which I am still ashamed to have been associated with [not that I participated]. To be honest I was a little worried, but still confident of a Bully Hat-Trick, in the Bank Holiday Monday 2nd Leg game at Molineux in a lunchtime KO on 25 May 1987. The two remaining stands were packed out and I was in my normal position to the left of the goal half way up the [real] South Bank. A huge attendance of just under 20,000 – good days were back only 10 months after the winding up order. The expectation was enormous. The atmosphere was electric - but maybe that was our undoing? We lost again. Bobby Barnes scored. I must have stayed on the terrace for an hour after the game unable to conceive what we had been through in that turbulent, but highly rewarding, 10 month period. I was moved on by some stewards. We’d lost to a team we’d beaten twice and finished nine points ahead of*. The first of many play-off disasters. But the seeds were sown for recovery. And I think that season is the best and most satisfying time I’ve had as a supporter … from despair to elation in 10 months. And to remind us we’re Wolves fans – a sting in the tail ….. But, of course, that takes us to the away game at Scarborough on the first day of the following season …… another day to remember [though a 1-1 scoreline] …. a tea-urn, amongst other kitchenware, on the pitch; a poor guy falling through the roof; baying Leeds fans to the right. Myself and my missus in the middle of the Scarborough terrace in a picture on the front page of Monday's Express & Star [with 1,000 or so other fans] under the caption 'ANIMALS' [or similar] .... but I'll leave that glorious season of 'milk & honey' for someone else to tell .... *Incidentally the irony was that Aldershot FC themselves were wound up two or three years later and sadly no-one was there to rescue them. Like AFC Wimbledon have done recently, they rebuilt from nothing and the side currently in the 2nd Division, Aldershot Town FC, is a new entity which has fought its way up through the non league pyramid..