Part of our ‘Wolves Oddities 11‘ series, we have Peter Crump to thank for this one. He was adamant that Wolves played in grey or blue kit in a pre-season friendly at Burton some years ago and that the shirt was never again seen. I helped him do some research but dredges of all the usual places produced nothing at all.
I did find an long-deleted archived report of the match that I’ll paste below if you reeeeeeally want to know about this (spoiler: we lose and Rohan Ricketts plays).
Peter, being a determined fellow, went one better, eventually came up trumps and found this in a corner of a 2002-03 season programme:
Well there it is. The article explained that the blue and white kit was specially commissioned prior to finalisation of our kit that season. Only 16 of the shirts were made and the one in the photo, number 8 as worn by J.J. Melligan (don’t pretend you recognised him) was being auctioned off on QXL. For younger readers that was a UK-based auction website that was taken out the back and soundly thrashed by eBay.
As if that wasn’t enough, Jez Moxey also bunged in a certificate signed by himself so the lucky bidder, whoever he or she was, was doubly-blessed.
There are only 16 of these out there somewhere, presumably in ex-players’ lofts. I’ve never even seen a photo of one until now – thanks for sharing Peter.
Burton Albion 1 (Clare 60) Wolves 0
Despite creating several chances against Conference side Burton Albion, Wolves failed to find the back of the net and they slipped to their first defeat of the pre-season friendly programme – Daryl Clare’s header on the hour proving to be the only goal of the game.
After a lively but chanceless opening ten minutes, Clare had the first on target shot – a volley from the left of the area that was pushed away by Matt Murray.
For Wolves, Kevin O’Connor saw his powerful header well held after Denes Rosa had supplied the cross. Leon Clarke was wide with a first time shot after Carl Corl had nodded down a cross from O’Connor, then home keeper Stuart Tomlinson dived to save from Rosa after Clarke and Cort had worked an opening. Former Grimsby striker Clare headed narrowly wide after a deep cross from Chris Hall, then Murray caught a Darren Stride header under the bar after Keith Gilroy’s centre from the left.
Five minutes before the break Rohan Ricketts cut in from the left and unleashed a curling shot that Tomlinson managed to turn away. The ball fell to Rosa but he completely miscued his follow up and the home defence cleared.
Half-Time: Burton 0 Wolves 0
Clyde’s challenge on Shaun Harrod led to a Burton free-kick just to the right of the Wolves box but Murray confidently plucked Andy Ducros’ centre out of the air. It took a fine save from Tomlinson to stop Seyi Olofinjana from giving Wolves a 53rd minute lead. Olofinjana ran on to a Cort pass but his shot was deflected wide by the Burton keeper’s legs. But it was The Brewers that broke the deadlock on the hour when Clare looped a header over Murray after a cross from Gary Rowett.
Five minutes later, Stride fouled Olofinjana right on the edge of the Burton box. The Nigerian took the free-kick himself drilling a low shot through the wall but Tomlinson, who couldn’t have seen the ball until the last moment, made a fine diving save. Moments later, in virtually the same spot, Gilroy handled a Cort cross. This time Ricketts took the kick pushing the ball wide into the path of O’Connor whose drive was deflected behind for a corner. Ricketts took the flag-kick and Olofinjana climbed high to head goalwards only for Stride to head off the line for another corner.
This time Ricketts played it short to Olofinjana and took a return pass before crossing to the far post where Clarke powered a header against the post. The ball bounced into the heart of the box where there was a tremendous scramble with both Rob Edwards and Clyde having shots blocked before the danger was cleared.
Stuart Gray introduced Stephen Gleeson, Mark Little, Tomasz Frankowski and Daniel Jones in the final 20 minutes. But, despite being forced back in the closing stages, Burton held on for the win.
Burton: Tomlinson, Rowett, Tinson, Austin, Webster (Brayford 73), Hall (Fowler 73), Stride (Holmes 73), Ducros (Walker 73), Gilroy, Clare (Shaw 73), Scoffham (Harrod 45). Unused subs: Taylor, Clough.
Wolves: Murray, Edwards, McNamara, Olofinjana (Gleeson 73), Craddock (capt), Clyde (Little 73), Ricketts, O’Connor, Cort (Frankowski 76), Clarke, Rosa (Jones 79). Unused subs: Oakes, Finkler, Soares, Riley. Referee: R.Olivier. Attendance: 1,293.