My First Game: Wolverhampton Wanderers Vs Manchester United, August 1969

Graham 30 March 2016

Lifelong fan Rob Cartwright has kindly allowed us to share his story of the first Wolves game he attended – a goalless draw against Manchester United at Molineux in August 1969.

Nearly 47 years ago, my dad took me to my first match at Molineux – and I haven't missed many games since!

The thing that got to me the most was the atmosphere; not just inside the ground either. We parked the other side of town and walking towards Molineux I could sense the anticipation. The steps down seemed very steep to a 5-year-old.

Crowds started to gather the closer we got. It was like being part of one big family. Before we got to the subway, there was a congested stream of people – young, old, male and female – everyone seemed to be going to the match that day.

The subway gave me an adrenalin rush, it was exciting. None of the lights worked in the subway. It was pitch black. I could see daylight above the heads of those in front of us. The smell of fried onions and cigarette smoke got stronger and stronger as we approached the end.

‘Out of Darkness, Cometh Light’ – never a truer word spoken.

Out of the tunnel, you could see the floodlights, but not the stadium (like today). We turned left and walked up the hill, past The Molineux Hotel. It was busy with people drinking outside. There was a lot of noise, shouting and singing.

I remember walking through the famous gates, towards the South Bank, thinking how great it would be to have one of the wrought iron W's. Never did get one! Dad bought a programme and it smelled different to anything I'd ever known before.

The queue at the turnstiles was massive. This added to my excitement. It took quite a while to get into the ground.

When inside, it's fair to say the South Bank concourse was horrible. You were greeted by the smell of the toilets and an all too small bar area was heavily congested. Little did I know how much time I would spend in those queues in the years to come.

We walked up the steps onto the terracing – wow, just wow. The green pitch was bigger than I could imagine. I noticed the clock on the Molineux Street Stand. When the teams came out, that was it, I was hooked. It was the old gold and black that did it for me.

As for the actual game, well, I can't remember much about it at all. I remember there were no goals and I think I caught glimpses of George Best. The other player to make his mark with me was Derek Dougan – ‘The Doog’ would soon become my hero.

The main things I remember are the roar of the crowd and the regular surging forward of the South Bank masses. This was one of the biggest terraces in the country. Dad made sure we stood in front of a barrier to offer protection to 'little' me. Reports suggested that there were almost 30,000 fans in the South Bank that day. This included both Wolves and Man United supporters because this was well before crowd segregation was introduced.

The fact there were no goals didn't really matter. It had been a fantastic day.

Wolves had won their first four games of the season, and this was the first point dropped. It would be 10 games before we won again! This was a good introduction to managing expectations of being a Wolves fan.

We did recover and finished that season just under half way in Division One, and my first game had been biggest crowd of that season.


If you're reading this post, then we want to hear YOUR story of your first ever Wolves game.

It doesn't matter if you were watching Wolves in the glory days of the late 1950s or venturing in to the Premier League with Dave Jones and Mick McCarthy in the 2000s, no matter when you started following the club, we want to hear about it.

Please send us an email - info@oldgoldglory.co.uk - and provide us with all the details on that memorable day. We'll be more than happy to publish the best pieces either on our blog or in a future issue of Old Gold Glory and provide you with full credit.

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