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Ronnie Allen

Discussion in 'Molineux Mix' started by Ian, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. Ian

    Ian Groupie

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    A query for the more "mature" members of the forum....

    Ronnie Allen.
    He was a bit before my time (I'm more McGarry/Chung era) but why was he sacked?... he seemed like he was building a good team and could obviously spot a young talented player, what was the reasoning behind replacing him with McGarry? and what was the feeling of the supporters at the time.. did they think he was hard done by or did they see McGarry as the man to take us to the next level (ie McGhee).

    Although the Bill McGarry period was relatively successful , with hindsight do you think Allen should have been kept on and maybe would have achieved more success?

    Ronnie Allen was obviously well regarded, he went on the Athletico Bilbao and Sporting after being sacked from Wolves.
     
  2. ShropshireLad

    ShropshireLad Just doesn't shut up

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    John Ireland responded to fan pressure, allegedly. We'd had a poor start to the season (we'd lost 6-0 to Liverpool at home) and if I remember correctly McGarry was in the stands when we beat Newcastle 5-0 without a manager (a bizarre result given the rest of the results that season). McGarry didn't do much better than Ronnie Allen did that season as we narrowly escaped relegation. However, Ronnie Allen built the team that McGarry benefitted from.

    I think that Ireland thought that Allen was too lovy-dovy with the players and he wanted to bring discipline to the team.
     
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  3. Jonzy54

    Jonzy54 Just doesn't shut up

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    The Board had their mind set on recruiting McGarry and Allen was the fall guy.
     
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  4. HowlinWolf

    HowlinWolf Newbie

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    There's a bit written about this in the book Waggy's Tales. IIRC, the powers that be thought that there wasn't enough discipline. Like Shropshire Lad says, McGarry benefited greatly from the work of Ronnie Allen (particularly his excellent signings).
     
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  5. Wagstaffe Was Magic

    Wagstaffe Was Magic Just doesn't shut up

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    It's an interesting question Ian. I know that results were poor at the time but I was in Ireland at the time where Wolves got zero media coverage and there was no social media back in the day!!
    Did the fans turn???

    Ronnie was the architect of the team Bill inherited. His parting gift was Kenny Hibbitt for £5k ..... unbelievable signing, perhaps the best ever!!!
     
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  6. Professional

    Professional 'Unprofessional'

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    My dad used to talk about this to me a few times. He was gutted at the time, because he thought Allen in time would have brought a lot more success than McGarry did- especially with the players at his disposal. What a great team that was in the early 70's. A league cup win, UEFA cup final, a few high-ish finishes in the league, and some decent FA cup runs were good- but should have they achieved more?
     
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  7. Jonzy54

    Jonzy54 Just doesn't shut up

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    We should.We were perhaps 2 players short of being a top team .It we had recruited Shilton and Todd to replace Parkes and McCalle who knows what we might have achieved during that period.
     
  8. Elvis Wolf

    Elvis Wolf Just doesn't shut up

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    I was a great fan of Ronnie Allen and thought he built an excellent team.
    Hibbitt, Knowles and Evans etc.
    My wife was also a big fan, but because of his good looks and perma-tan! Nothing to do with his footballing acumen!!
     
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  9. Jonzy54

    Jonzy54 Just doesn't shut up

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    McGarry was good at the time but the concencus was he was a bully and couldn't handle the big names who were free spirits like Dougan Waggy and Big Frank.
    Ronnie Allen was a footballers man and the Board thought he was too close to the players .McGarry was aloof and the Board wanted control.
     
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  10. 1965Wolf

    1965Wolf Senior Member

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    And we had the chance to sign Gordon Banks but John Ireland wouldn't pay the £50,000!!
     
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  11. Jonzy54

    Jonzy54 Just doesn't shut up

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    Yes indeed and you can throw in Franny Lee too
     
  12. 1965Wolf

    1965Wolf Senior Member

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    McGarry was the real life character behind the manager Jarman in Dougan's novel The Footballer
     
  13. Elvis Wolf

    Elvis Wolf Just doesn't shut up

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    I remember under John Ireland, we won the Football League's Social Club of the year, 3years in succession.
    That was when the Social Club and gym were in the space now taken up by car parking, opposite the Billy Wright and temp stand corner of the South Bank.
    Three Leaping Wolves adorned the front of the building.
     
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  14. bigbadwolftoo

    bigbadwolftoo Has a lot to say

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    Buying Alan Boswell who was ****ing ****e, being the major factor in losing 6-0 at HOME to the Red scouse *******s with the recently sold Alum Evans in the their team didn't help his cause.
    Seemed a decent manager apart from the Boswell aberration, albeit a Stripey Tesco ****!
     
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  15. Big Nosed Wolf

    Big Nosed Wolf Just doesn't shut up

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    Stan Cullis, 1964. In the sixties and some of the seventies his gargantuan legacy stalked Molineux like a balding Gulliver in a gold and black Lilliput. Many of the backroom staff were still here from his time. After a brief Beattie caretaker spell Ronnie Allen came in and many saw him as a 'yes man', one of my uncles included who had seen the fifties. Like many he despised Ireland for his role in the shabby sacking of the great one.

    The other gripe with many was the changing face of football, and, more generally, the changing face of society. The sixties gave us footballers who were free of the maximum wage. Many found players like Knowles and, to a lesser extent, Dougan too 'flash'. Of course they had a point with PK who, by his own admission, used to 'large it' a bit. But what a talent he was. Many accused Ireland and the club of trying to be too 'trendy'.

    Whoever had to take the club forward after Cullis was on a hiding to nothing. Ronnie Allen built a side who returned to the top flight in some style, and, as has already been mentioned, gave the club many who are now considered 'legendary'. One of the best in the club's history for spotting a player it could be argued.

    Ironically, given the Cullis puritanical-with-passion approach, (and the disciplinarian he was), Ireland and the board had McGarry in their thoughts for some time. He was also a 'disciplinarian'. He lacked much though. Including a personality! He did instill a degree of 'steel' at the expense of the admirable flair that Ronnie Allen's sides had. It is documented by several players how McGarry stifled 'expression' although in the early seventies there were still plenty of players in the side who could only play with a bit of that.

    It was, for me, a case of McGarry being seen in the Cullis image which brought him here. Mistakenly trying to replace the irreplaceable. Cullis's only come along once in a blue moon. I believe, in spite of the indifferent first two seasons back in the top flight in the late sixties, we would still have had the success of the McGarry years. Perhaps with even more flair and character than was evident in those years.

    Allen was sacked because the club was looking to emulate the Cullis years by looking for the impossible - another Cullis. It wasn't until we had failed to rebuild after 1974 and another spell in the second division that Ireland and McGarry went. In came Marshall as chairman and Barnwell and Barker and those demons were finally seen for what they were. A golden time which needed to return, but which couldn't be achieved by copying that time.

    Alun Evans, a striker who had been making a name for himself at the club, was sold to Liverpool for £100,000. On his return to Molineux with Liverpool we were hammered 6-0 with him getting 2 of the goals. That was in September of the 68/9 season. I was at the game. Ronnie Allen was the fall guy, for selling Evans and for being a 'yes man' to Ireland. He was sacked a few weeks after the Liverpool game.

    The years that followed saw the best years the club has seen since. Was that down to McGarry? He has to take some credit IMO but it was the players he inherited from Ronnie Allen's time here who were the driving force behind that success. Along with a youth set up which was still producing some who made it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  16. Dr Wolfenstein

    Dr Wolfenstein Just doesn't shut up

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    From 'The Complete Footballer' by Tony Matthews (2005):
    "In November 1968, to the great surprise of the football world, Ronnie was asked to relinquish his position which he did gracefully, replaced by Bill McGarry, his former team-mate at Port Vale all those years back. Football's a funny old game, but looking more deeply into his sacking, it was revealed that he was dismissed in a cover-up over illegal payments made by the club to certain players. In fact, there was more to it than that.
    "Some Wolves players were living in rented property & collections were arranged from time to time to raise some money to assist the younger members to pay their way. One week there wasn't a collection & things heated up. It involved the club chairman Jack(sic)Ireland, secretary Phil Shaw & the players-not Ronnie.
    "Some time later the Wolves chairman from 1968, Jack (sic)Ireland, admitted it was the worse (sic) mistake he ever made when he sacked Ronnie!"

    Perhaps not surprisingly, there was no mention of this in Matthews' 1989 book 'The Wolves. An Encyclopaedia of Wolverhampton Wanderers', (only the short run of poor results) but there do seem to be a few holes or missing gaps/dots in this particular story if it was the real reason for him leaving.
    (It doesn't seem as if Matthews had proof-read the Allen book, with the references to Jack Ireland.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  17. Wolfgang Wolf

    Wolfgang Wolf Just doesn't shut up

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    john ireland sacked ronnie allen because john ireland was an idiot who probably did more damage to wolves than anyone else in our history.
     
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  18. Monk

    Monk Newbie

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    One rumour at the time was that his dismissal was nothing to do with football. Allegedly there was some "hanky panky'" with a female who had links to Mr Ireland which didn't go down too well.

    I know the players didn't have any respect for McGarry as at an event I went to many years ago some of the players who played under him made what can only be described as disparaging remarks.
     
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  19. Jonzy54

    Jonzy54 Just doesn't shut up

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    I think that is unfair.He always had the Wolves at heart as opposed to the Bhattis who nearly killed us forever.
     
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  20. ShropshireLad

    ShropshireLad Just doesn't shut up

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    Ireland wasn't altogether a popular guy amongst some circles but he was by no means the Satan you portray him to be. Besides the Bhattis there were others in the 80s who nearly crippled the club and one of our ex-star players was also instrumental in making matters worse - and I don't mean John Richards.
     
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  21. kennyB

    kennyB Just doesn't shut up

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    I was one of those who despised Ireland for his sacking of Stan Cullis, when he then sacked Ronnie Allen too that was another nail in our coffin. It was an insult to me and those like me to name a stand after John Ireland, he may well have been a Wolves fan but IMHO he did more harm than good and alienated many fans of that era.
     
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  22. Jonzy54

    Jonzy54 Just doesn't shut up

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    And yet the players loved him as evidenced in Waggy's book
     
  23. kennyB

    kennyB Just doesn't shut up

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    But the fans didn't as far as I can recall, many were unhappy with him.
     
  24. Jonzy54

    Jonzy54 Just doesn't shut up

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    They were but as I said the players loved him
     
  25. Professional

    Professional 'Unprofessional'

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    Some very interesting stuff on this thread that I wasn't aware of, or my late dad, either. He did mention a lot of fans blaming Ireland for some poor decisions- perhaps he meant them.
     
  26. Big Nosed Wolf

    Big Nosed Wolf Just doesn't shut up

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    Perspective and context I suppose in the end. With a little reading on the subject. As per DR Wolfenstein's excellent post.

    This might be a lengthy offering!

    It is difficult to relay just how much Cullis meant to those who were around then.Not so difficult to appreciate his contribution as it's all there to be read up on. My memories are of his last years at the club. My perspective of this period - about which the OP asked the question - is of spending my childhood attending but not remembering much, through my adolescence to late teens and twenties. By which time I was, from 13 years old, in the North Bank where I stayed until it closed in the eighties. Therefore my memories are clearer from the mid sixties.

    My uncles still attended, but in the South Bank in the sixties. At family gatherings, where the ale flowed, songs were crucified and that which meant so much - WWFC - was discussed, without exception they would delight in informing me that I 'wouldn't remember' my visits to Molineux when there was a 'real' football team playing. There were frequent derogatory jibes made about John Ireland and the 'yes mon' theories about Ronnie Allen. They 'tut tutted' when discussing Peter Knowles, although acknowledged his talent. If he stopped the 'showing off' he would be great.( I always pointed out it was Stan Cullis who gave him his debut which encouraged a bit of perspective).

    Those older members of the family had, in the course of following Cullis's Wolves, narrowly escaped a court martial in the late forties after taking an army vehicle way off limits because he wanted to watch the visit of Manchester United. Another had played for Cullis and 'fallen out' with him after being told he wouldn't play in the 1949 Cup final. Only to be given £500 'bonus' on the nod of Stan when that relative went to Huddersfield a couple of years later. A gesture which said so much about the so called ' Iron Manager'.

    That Cullis was shabbily treated is I think without question. It might have been the time for him to stand down but Busby, his contemporary, adversary and friend, was treated far better at United.

    When Ronnie Allen was sacked I was in the middle of the Mediterranean. I received two letters in the two weeks I was there from my late mother. I have the second in front of me as I type. (if the type becomes a bit wobbly at this point it'll be the mistiness in the eyes) There's not much in it but the most important event was, She opened with ' ..news might not have reached you but Ronnie Allen (yes mon) has been sacked and Bill McGarry is now Wolves manager. Uncle Alf will be pleased about that....' It's dated November 23rd 1968. Another momento from a family whose souls revolved around their football club. In a time when there was much wrong with the game but so much that was better than today.

    I have always maintained that Ronnie Allen was treated equally as shabbilly as Stan Cullis. With the same Chairman at the helm. It doesn't make him a demon. It makes him, perhaps, a poor decision maker and typical football director. Either way that time saw the early beginnings of a club which would lose much of it's character and integrity by the mid eighties.. Even if there was still a bit of success along the way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 8:28 PM
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  27. goldeneyed

    goldeneyed Just doesn't shut up

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    Some great posts - thanks guys.

    I remember being very sad about Ronnie Allen's sacking. I think the 0-6 home defeat by Liverpool was a bit of a killer for him. But his transfer dealings were the best ever and his teams played very attractive football. I think if he had stayed we would would have had even more success than we had under McGarry whose disciplinary approach might have brought some positives but who overall was disliked by his players - without Allen's brilliant buys McGarry would have failed in my view. His own dealings were very poor bar Willie Carr.

    All in all Ireland got it very wrong imv and who knows what might have been achieved eventually under Allen. Of course it was a golden period with Doog, Bailey, Waggy and co but if we had built on that, replaced McAlle and perhaps Parkes with better players we might have won the league. The way the club fell away after the likes of Hibbitt had retired was pathetic. McGarry failed to create the building blocks for a new wave of players to take the club through the 1980s. I never liked him much and I would have much have preferred Allen to continue. In the end it was the beginning of the end and despite a little bit of joy under McCarthy we have never really recovered - UNTIL NOW.
     
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  28. nahae

    nahae Newbie

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    I think that Ireland thought that Allen was too lovy-dovy with the players and he wanted to bring discipline to the team.
     
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  29. ShropshireLad

    ShropshireLad Just doesn't shut up

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    We had a decent team under Barnwell...but for his car accident things could have been very different.

    DJ got us promotion but wasn't allowed to strengthen the team with youth and we lost Matt and Jo. We gave it a good try but the load was too heavy. Things could have been different.

    That play-off game against Notlob...nuff said. Things could have been different.
     
  30. Oldgold Wolfcub

    Oldgold Wolfcub Just doesn't shut up

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    Could some very clever person chronicle which players Allen inherited, which ones he brought in and which players McGarry brought in plus who both Allen and McGarry booted out?
     
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  31. ShropshireLad

    ShropshireLad Just doesn't shut up

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    Hey, mate, How much are you prepared to pay for all that work? :p
     
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  32. Big Nosed Wolf

    Big Nosed Wolf Just doesn't shut up

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    I was just trying to think who did what and when. Just for some historical perspective. Working from memory listing the 'important' bits.

    Wagstaffe came during Beattie's time. On his recomendation. Ronnie Allen was already with the club as a coach. So Ronnie Allen inherited a side with Flowers, Thomson, Wharton, Wagstaffe, Knowles, Mcilmoyle (who also joined under Beattie I think) Woodfield. After we lost to Southampton 3-9 Beattie went and Allen moved up. So Allen already had worked with most of them.

    Allen signed, Ernie Hunt, Bailey, Munro, Parkin, Dougan, Hibbitt, Boswell (whoops). Wignall, Kenning, Hatton might be a couple I've missed.

    McGarry signed, McCalliog, Curran, O'Grady, Gould, Kindon, Hegan, Jefferson, Withe, McNab and Willie Carr.

    Youth players from that time were Alun Evans, Parkes, Woofdfield,Taylor, Knowles, Hawkins, McCalle, All played under Allen.

    Then, Daley,Richards,Sunderland, Palmer and Powell all made it to the first team under McGarry

    Of McGarry's signings I suggest McCalliog and Carr were the only 2 who really were of the standard required to rebuild. Although Hegan was superb he had issues and Withe went on to do well elsewhere. The rest were 'decent' generally. Carr came a bit too late in many respects while McCalliog fell foul of the McGarry petulance and left for Southampton IIRC. Where he appeared at Wembley in the FA Cup.

    Allen signed Dougan, Hibbitt, Bailey, Munro, Parkin. Five players who would over the next ten plus years be prominent in many high profile games and performances.

    Stand to be corrected on any discrepancies.
     
  33. ShropshireLad

    ShropshireLad Just doesn't shut up

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    McCalliog went to Man U if I remember correctly as I used to sing his praises at the lab I worked at and the older guys (Pool and Man U fans) took the ****...then they signed him much to my disgust. As a late teenager I idolised him.

    Edit:
    Yes he played 31 games and scored 7 goals for Man U then went to Southampton.

    I'd also say that Curran, Gould and O'Grady were also good buys...Curran especially.
     
  34. Big Nosed Wolf

    Big Nosed Wolf Just doesn't shut up

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    Yep. That'd be correct.
     
  35. Big Nosed Wolf

    Big Nosed Wolf Just doesn't shut up

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    They were pretty good. O Grady was injured almost as soon as he arrived. Gould was a bit of a journeyman but was leading goalscorer in the season just before Richards 'took over'. I always liked Curran. The thing is the majority of McGarry's signings either didn't stay, or just were not up to it for one reason or another. Hegan the glaring example. Brilliant yet everyone knew he came with baggage. Then there was Jefferson.

    Allen also had his moments of grief with a couple of signings, but a bigger percentage of his buys stayed and became 'legends'.

    Allen also had a far better approach to playing attractively with flair. McGarry stifled too many with too much petulant discipline shown towards the players.

    It's also worth pointing out McGarry was given twice as long to 'rebuild' than Ronnie Allen. The former was here for eight years while Allen spent just over three years at the helm. Given that you would have to conclude that Allen did far better in identifying players that would do the job.

    There is another pointer to the cluelessness of Ireland and the board. They hung on to McGarry too long. Allen, because of the agenda that McGarry was wanted, went too early. He had achieved promotion to the top flight and stayed there (just) for a season. His signings went on to do well for the club generally, and would have done so had Allen stayed and received a bit of backing from the board I suggest.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  36. Florida Wolfey

    Florida Wolfey Groupie

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    McGarry also signed John Farley. Another on the list of flops.
     
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  37. Oldgold Wolfcub

    Oldgold Wolfcub Just doesn't shut up

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    To those who can achieve this, and you know who you are, I am prepared to send you the negatives.:D
     
  38. Ian

    Ian Groupie

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    Interesting comments and viewpoints...

    My take on it from reading various articles /biographies over the years, was that the selling of Evuns and the heavy loss to Liverpool was the catalyst for change and when the fans turned against Allen (didn't Alun Evuns soon after also get 'glassed'?).
    I also think that McGarry greatly benefitted from inheriting Allens team and that when some of those talented players left , they were replaced with inferior players and that the more experienced players, Dougan, Bailey etc were coming towards the end of their careers.... I guess the majority of the squad that were eventually relegated in 76 were McGarry's?.

    As I said I was more of the later McGarry/ Chung era so Hibbitt, Richards and Daley (should have built the team around him) are my all time favourites.

    Early days yet for the new Nuno era but we may finally have a team to be as revered and "hopefully" surpass that 70's team!

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  39. Geordie Wolf

    Geordie Wolf Groupie

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    Checked but couldn't see it mentioned, a comment on channel 5 football show last night. Wolves winning the first 3 games of the season in all competitions, is the first time since Ronnie Allen.
     
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  40. Big Saft Kid

    Big Saft Kid Just doesn't shut up

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    Not sure if that is correct. If it is, it must be the 67-68 season. We beat Fulham away on the opening day and Leeds the following week, 2-0. Can't remember what the 3rd game was.
     

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