Sunday 12th January 1997 – Wolves V West Bromwich Albion, Nationwide League Division 1 1996/1997
Today we naturally take a look at a programme for the big Black Country Derby. Today we go back to the 1996/1997 season.
This is the last season that we completed the double of West Brom. In the away fixture on Sunday 15th September 1996 we of course beat West Brom 4.2 with Steve Bull and a hattrick by Iwan Roberts. This was also Iwan Roberts only season at the Club. There is a photo of Roberts in todays pictures celebrating at the Hawthorne’s. For kit anoraks out there, you will notice that he has a white number on his back. If you look at other photos in the programme you will notice that the numbers were put back to black during the campaign. This of course is also our last win on enemy territory. There have been however a few gaps in the derby in recent years. This current gap between fixtures is a rather long one in 8 years 11 months and 3 days. This is not the longest gap in Black Country Derby. This occurred between 18th May 1911 to 23rd February 1924 which as 12 years, 9 months and 5 days.
The cover star for todays programme is Robbie Dennison who moved to Wolves from West Bromwich Albion in March 1987 and the made his debut on Saturday 14th March 1987 against Swansea. 1996/1997 was Dennison’s final season at the Club. The only other club he played for in his time at Wolves was ironically Swansea on loan where he roomed with a young Frank Lampard who was also on loan at the Vetch from West Ham. Dennison joined Hednesford Town from Wolves after excellent service. His final full Wolves appearance was the game before this at Charlton. He then appeared from the bench on twice more at Stoke in March and on the final day of this season against Pompey at home.
We see Robbie Dennison in the photos playing at the Valley on 28th December 1996, the league game before this Black Country Derby. In this photo he is also competing with a future Wolves player as you will see. Wolves previous game before this Derby was the FA Cup 3rd Round tie at home to Portsmouth where we had been knocked out. You can however see the picture of the goal from that game which was scored by Darren Ferguson.
The feature player in the middle is also Mark Atkins. Atkins joined Wolves in September 1995 for £1 Million. He was released in 1999. The only other club Atkins played more games for that Wolves was his previous club Blackburn where he picked up a Premier League winners medal in 1995. He of course won a medal alongside former Wolf Tim Flowers.
The game in January 1997 ended with a Wolves win. Iwan Roberts scored against Albion for the 4th time this campaign and the other was a header from the late Dean Richards. The attendance that day at the Molienux was 27336.
The Wolves team that faced Albion that day were Mike Stowell, Jamie Smith, Steve Froggatt, Mark Venus, Keith Curle, Dean Richards, Neil Emblem, Geoff Thomas, Steve Bull, Iwan Roberts, Simon Osborn. Andy Thompson appeared from the bench.
It was actually Keith Curles first start in a Wolves top. He had only appeared as sub once before this on 10th September 1996 at Oxford. This season for Wolves ended in the Play Off Semi Final against Crystal Palace and of course the famous Golden Tit Speech. West Brom finished 16th. This game you may also remember Albion keeper Paul Crighton and some rather excellent kicking from goal. At one point people in the Billy Wright upper and lower tier were taking cover.