Wright revelled in
One man, above all, would have revelled in the collision of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal in tomorrow's FA Cup semi-final. The late Billy Wright loved and served both clubs, captaining Wolves to numerous triumphs, including the Cup win of 1949, before becoming manager of Arsenal, his boyhood heroes, for four years until 1966.
Late in his life Wright returned to Wolves as a director. A more volatile character who played alongside him in the old gold as well as for England, Eddie Clamp, also moved to Highbury but stayed only 10 months. Strange but true: his mother kept up the Molineux connection by washing the kit in the dark days of the mid-1980s.
Alan Sunderland, who scored Arsenal's last-gasp winner in the 1979 final, was a pounds 240,000 buy from Wolves. The Gunners' phlegmatic goalkeeper in the Double-winning campaign of 1971, Bob Wilson of ITV fame, joined them from the Black Country club without a League game to his name. Two contemporaries, Bobby Gould and Bob McNab, made the opposite switch.
Bryn Jones cost Arsenal a world record pounds 14,000 from Wolves in 1938, while John Barnwell and Tommy Docherty both played for the former and managed the latter. Latterday links include Ray Hankin, Vince Bartram and Jon Purdie, a winger released from Arsenal by the Wolverhampton-born Don Howe. Purdie made many goals for Steve Bull, also scoring spectacularly to seal Kidderminster's Cup upset at Birmingham four years ago,
Ten things that Leeds' Australian Harry
might be missing
1 His exciting birthplace, Smithfield. Home to the Dart Container Corporation, the world's largest producer of foam cups.
2 A healthy outdoor life.
3 A healthy dose of advertising censorship. Australian newspapers face pounds 20,000 fines for printing any Formula 1 photographs that contain tobacco sponsorship logos.
4 Quest Australia, More Than Gold. Not an account of how Kewell prefers Leeds to his national Olympic side, but a Christian group planning free food at Sydney 2000.
5 Kangaroos - although there are wild wallabies in Cheshire and Derbyshire.
6 The pounds 200,000 bronze mermaids being planned for Bondi beach.
7 Slabs of stubbies. Cases of small bottles of lager.
8 The National Dinosaur Museum in Ginnidera. Like Elland Road currently, not an exhibition of past greats, but interesting enough for the specialist.
9 Boomerangs. Return to their starting point as quickly as a Leeds plane.
10 Cooma centre. A ski resort (and just an absent `o' from Elland Road.)
NAME OF THE GAME
No 29: THE BAIRNS
Scottish football clubs have always had a liking for nicknames. Many, such as Falkirk's, come from local folklore. Anyone born in Falkirk Royal Infirmary, or indeed anywhere else in the town, is known locally as a "Bairn", or child.
On 4 April 1936, the finalists for that year's FA Cup final were already known, and the participants, one from the top division and one from the tier below, were involved in important League matches.
First Division Arsenal took on Brentford at home, and considering the Gunners were missing a number of players to the England side (who drew 1-1 with Scotland at Wembley the same day), they were lucky to come away with a 1-1 draw. The result took them to fifth in the table behind Sunderland, Derby, Stoke and Huddersfield.
Sheffield United, who would be the Second Division's representatives at Wembley, played at home to Barnsley and won 2-0. This took them to third in the table, behind West Ham and Manchester United.
As Arsenal take on Wolves tomorrow and Sheffield United meet Newcastle, one wonders whether they might be on course to repeat the 1936 Cup final, which Arsenal won, 1-0.
Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final against Wolves at Villa Park tomorrow will stir memories of their meeting at the same ground at the same stage 19 years ago. Arsenal won 2-0, with goals by Alan Sunderland and Frank Stapleton, then beat Manchester United 3-2 in a memorable final.
Sunderland, who moved to Arsenal from Molineux, played for Wolves in another FA Cup tie between the two clubs six years earlier.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s a short-lived experiment saw beaten semi-finalists meet in a play-off for third and fourth place in the Cup.
In 1973 Arsenal and Wolves - with Sunderland in their line-up - contested their FA Cup play-off at Highbury in August a week before the start of the following season. A crowd of 21,038 saw Wolves win 3-1 with goals by Derek Dougan (two) and Jim McCalliog, Brian Hornsby replying for Arsenal.
A week later Wolves opened their League campaign with a home win over Norwich by the same margin and with the same scorers.
THis WEEK'S TRANSFERS
Steven Tosh (midfielder) St Johnstone to Raith Rovers (pounds 50,000); Greg Miller (midfielder) Hibernian to Livingston (nominal fee); Billy Findlay (midfielder) Kilmarnock to Ayr (nominal fee).
Kevin Pilkington (goalkeeper) Manchester Utd to Celtic; Jason Blunt (midfielder) Leeds Utd to Raith Rovers; Paul Shepherd (forward) Leeds Utd to Ayr; Wayne Gill (midfielder) Blackburn Rovers to Dundee Utd; Lindsay Hamilton (goalkeeper) Queen's Park to Partick Thistle; Steve Maskrey (forward) Livingston to Cowdenbeath; Andy McCondichie (goalkeeper) Celtic to Airdrie; Brian McLaughlin (forward) Celtic to Airdrie; David Ross (forward) Inverness Caledonian Thistle to Ross County; Wayne Addicoat (forward) Inverness Caledonian Thistle to Ross County; Kevin Thomas (forward) Hearts to Stirling Albion.
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