Try as I might, I can’t quite pinpoint my first match at Molineux. I’ve narrowed it down to 1975-’76 when I was 6-7 years old. There are a few possibilities: a reserve match against, I believe, Ipswich where my abiding memory from my vantage point in the South Bank corner of Molineux Street was the vastness of the South Bank itself. Another candidate was a reserve match against Derby that I was taken to courtesy of my near-neighbour at that time, a certain Dave Wagstaffe. However, I believe that my first match at Molineux was actually my first team ‘debut’ as such - a 1-1 draw against Leeds on January 17th 1976. Despite my slightly hazy recollection, there’s a distinctive memory of the Leeds match that proved so powerful and stimulating, it burned itself into my then impressionable mind and endures to this day - it was the noise of the crowd together with the beauty and perfect dimensions of Molineux itself. It was very much a sporting equivalent to the thespian ‘smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd’ allure! I was taken to the match against Leeds by my dad and uncle. For some reason we were about 10 minutes or so late as we hastily negotiated through the streets of terraced house that formed the backdrop to the Molineux Street Stand. Although it was completely unknown to me at that time, it was the same match day journey performed by Wolves fans of a previous generation; from the impressively-attired crowds on their way to cheer Major Buckley’s exciting side of the 1930’s to the Brylcreemed masses and their support during the golden years. Literally thousands of our forefathers had trodden the Staffordshire blue brick on their way to Molineux. Now it was my turn. As we made our way to the ground there was a sudden crescendo of noise that seemingly came out of nowhere, a collective “Ooooohhh” from over 30,000 voices that, I would soon learn, signalled that the home team had come close to scoring. I can’t say that it stopped me in my tracks as such but I’m sure that my eyes widened further in excitement and wonder. It was the most extraordinary and evocative noise that I’d ever heard. There then followed a loud, deliberately-paced and repeated urge of “Come on you Wolves” that accompanied our entry into the distinctive Molineux Street Stand. We emerged from the dimly-lit bowels of the old stand and the sight that then greeted me left me awestruck, an absolute riot of colours that even Van Gogh might have considered as too overpowering; a bright patch of green playing host to flecks of vivid, fast moving colour; the all-white of Leeds and those gold shirts, all vividly enhanced from a dazzling winter sun. I was an enthusiastic Wolves fan prior to this match but the subsequent live experience ensured that I was irreversibly hooked. It was all utterly intoxicating. My dad’s work commitments meant that I wasn’t able to attend as many Wolves matches as I would have liked. In fact, October 14th 1978 was the next time I was present at a match, a 1-0 victory over Arsenal made all the more memorable by the highlights the next day on Star Soccer and the rich, distinctive brogue of Hugh Johns describing Mel Eves’ winning goal. A couple of days on from the Arsenal match, I attended John McAlle’s testimonial against a Spurs team that included two future Wolves managers in Colin Lee and Glenn Hoddle and also Ardiles and Villa, those two Argentinean imports that created such a huge amount of publicity earlier in that year. It was for the league visit of Tottenham later that season that I next attended. For that evening match against Spurs on April 3rd 1979 I was stood near the front of the terrace on the Waterloo Road Stand. So close to the Wolves dugout, in fact, that I distinctly recall Steve Daley complaining to the Wolves manager John Barnwell that he was “having lumps kicked out of him” by his Spurs opponent. Another moment of trivia I recollect is of being intrigued at the frequent sight of lit cigarette-ends dotted around the darkened North Bank, their sporadic glow piercing the dark shadows. Out of darkness cometh light indeed. Another memory of mine from that particular match was the sight of a huge crane towering menacingly over the Molineux Street Stand, its very presence indicating that one of the most iconic and unique sights in football, the seven-gabled roof of the Molineux Street Stand, was soon to be completely demolished. It was to the Molineux Street Stand that I returned to complete my extremely brief experience of Wolves matches in the 1970’s. A 4-0 defeat of Derby was quickly followed by the final home match of the 1978-79 season against the soon-to-be European Champions Nottingham Forest. I have only one memory of that evening fixture; an excellent Paul Bradshaw save that was generously applauded by Peter Shilton. In those days, despite my great reluctance, we used to leave the match about five minutes or so before the end and it was as we were walking past those same terraced houses that witnessed our late arrival a few years previously, a huge roar revealed a last minute winner for Wolves. In many respects, for me, it had all started with the sound of the Molineux crowd. And as we made our way home that night, for what would prove to be my final first team match of the 1970’s, it was the Molineux roar that provided the full stop to that particular decade. It neatly book-ended those initial, but sadly limited, ventures to Molineux, her slightly fading elegance at that time standing testimony to the stories of old gold. It was beneath those gold gables where, after being summoned by the crowd for the first time, other potent impressions of mine continued to form: the smell and haze of cigarette smoke, a wall of blank, unified faces and the gold paint and dark wood. The history of Wolves could be found in the fabric of Molineux itself and it was all-too tangible. However, tradition and distinction were unable to prevent the dear old Molineux Street Stand from the inevitability of the wrecking-ball, but the nostalgic glow from my early Molineux memories remain very much intact.