Football: Jack and Bull still waiting to realise a golden dream

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The Independent Online
Third round day and it's Feethams, Darlington, away. As fields of dreams go, it's no Molineux and it's certainly not Wembley. But, if Sir Jack Hayward is finally to see his cherished dream of Wolves lifting the FA Cup realised then we must not, dare not, lose today. For Sir Jack, approaching 75, time is slowly running out.

He still he awaits his day in the sun, pounds 40m of the family fortune on. How he must envy Jack Walker and John Hall. True, his millions have made Molineux a modern stadium worthy of its Fifties legends; indeed, the magnificent bronze statue of the incomparable Billy Wright which stands outside the main entrance acts as a daily reminder to all who enter of their heritage and of our expectations of them. The team, though, remain infuriatingly on the fringe of making that final promotion step.

For all that, the fans have waited patiently (1983-84 was our last season in the top flight), and in considerable numbers (Molineux hasn't seen a League gate under 20,000 in over four years) - we can, if necessary, wait a few more years yet. Sir Jack Hayward cannot.

And nor, now aged 32, can Steve Bull. Bully will miss today's game with a knee injury. "He hopes to make the comeback at the end of this month in the Black Country derby against West Brom - the team that sold him to us back in November 1986, in our dark days in the Fourth Division. He is the only member of the playing staff left from a time we couldn't pay the milkman. He has had any number of offers to leave in the interim; had he done so, more England caps and some winners' medals could be sitting on his mantlepiece. But they're not there. Instead, he'll be sitting at the front of the team bus today, club captain and chief cheerleader, stuck frustratingly on 299 goals in a Wolves shirt. The delay is only adding to the sense of anticipation - the scenes when the next one goes in will be the sort about which Ian Wright can only dream.

Between them, Wolverhampton's two favourite sons have given back the town a sense of pride both in itself and in its most cherished institution. If Sir Jack has renewed the infrastructure, our body - then Bully has given us back our heart and soul.

Mark McGhee's job security depends on Wolves getting promotion. With another campaign in the Division From Hell not past the half-way point, it looks like the play-offs at best. I'm not sure if I could take another failure at that hurdle (it would be our third in four anguished seasons); but God only knows what such a disappointment would mean to Messrs Hayward and Bull.

If yet another season ultimately ends in tears, few Wolves fans will be shedding them for McGhee or for themselves. But they will for two men who have each given us more than we can ever begin to repay. When we kick off that first Premiership match at Molineux, then it must be with Steve Bull standing there in the centre circle, that black No 9 resplendent on his Old Gold shirt. And when a Wolves captain lifts the FA Cup, it must be with Sir Jack standing proudly there in the Royal Box, justifiably beside himself as schoolboy excitement for once overcomes the supreme good manners of the English gent.