Saturday 30th August 1986 – Aldershot V Wolves Today League Division 4 1986/1987
First up is our first ever away game at Fourth Division Level. Wolves made the trip to The Recreation Ground, Hampshire for the first ever meeting competitively between Aldershot and Wolves. Ironically it would be the first of 4 meetings this season alone.
Wolves had of course been saved from extinction in the Summer of 1986 with a 3-way consortium consisting of Gallagher Estate, Asda and Wolverhampton Council. We began the 1986/1987 season with a home game against Cambridge United on 23rd August 1986. Peter Zelem scored our first goal at Fourth Division Level. This was of course the game where the two Matthews started in Hellin and Forman. Matthew Hellin of course only ever played this game. After the Cambridge game Wolves then played Lincoln City at home in the First Round First leg of the League Cup or as it was named that year for the first time the Littlewoods Challenge Cup.
Sandwiched in between the Lincoln home leg and our trip to Sincil Bank for the 2nd Leg on 2nd September 1986 was this trip to the Recreation Ground. Wolves also returned their first victory in Division 4 with a 2.1 win with goals from Keith Lockhart and Andy Mutch. This was Eric Nixon’s debut for the club after he joined on loan from Manchester City. He replaced Vince Bartram who played the first two games. Bartram in fact played at Sincil Bank a few days later but then only appeared again this season in the 3 Chorley games. Another interesting fact about Nixon this season is before the season was out he also had loan spells at Bradford City (Div 2), Southampton (Div 1) and Carlisle United (Div 3). This of course meant he appeared in all 4 Divisions in 1 season. Nicky Clarke also made his first start of the season at the Rec.
Aldershot had some Wolves links. One was Andy King who had played for Wolves in 1985 in the back end of our Division 2 relegation under Tommy Doc in 1984/1985 and he had also played in 1985/1986, our Division 3 relegation. In fact, that season he finished as our top scorer. This was despite him leaving the club in December 1985. I believe he was a very good character in the dressing room. King had spent a small amount of time on loan in Sweden whilst he was at the Wolves. Another is Tommy Langley. Langley had been at Wolves between 1984 to 1986. Langley was recruited by Tommy Doc in the Summer of 1984. Langley did begin his career at Chelsea and scored Chelsea’s goal at Molineux in the final home game of the 1976/1977 season. Langley also put Shots 1.0 up in this game too. Another Wolves link although not at the time was Shots keeper Tony Lange. Lange of course joined Wolves in 1989. Both teams also had two players with the same name. David Barnes. Our David Barnes did not play. Aldershot also had David Barnes however he was more commonly known as Bobby Barnes.
And for Darts fans you may notice the advert for the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green. This of course was the home of the BDO World Darts Championship between 1986 to 2019 after its move from Jollies in Stoke on Trent.
You will see in the programme the squad photo that was taken in the Summer of 1986 where we are wearing the pin stripe Umbro Kit. We of course changed the kit in November 1986 to the STAW Distribution number. There is of course another squad photo of us this season in the new kit when of course Graham Turner had taken over. The other squad photo also features some of the new backroom team such a Gary Pendrey and of course Bully. Geoff Palmer is on the first photo. This season he made one appearance on 30th September 1986. This was Brian Littles last home game against Preston. This means Geoff Palmer played for Wolves in Division 1, 2, 3, 4, Associate Members Cup, League Cup, FA Cup and the UEFA Cup. The only player that rivals this record is Pee Wee aka Paul Dougherty who can boast all of that with the exception of the UEFA Cup. Palmer left Wolves in October 1986 around 10 days into Graham Turners time to of course join the West Midlands Police. He was on duty at a couple of Walsall games during this season as he was based in Walsall.
And finally, a funny tale from this match was told to me by my fellow Tour Guide Neill Pennington. This was the Wolves fans when the teams ran out began the famous chant of “Who the F Hell are You”. This was however was aimed at the Wolves players in a great piece of gallows humours. There is a cutting about this in the pics that Neil kindly provided me. Thank you, Neil.
The full side that played at the Rec in August 1986 were Eric Nixon, Darren Oldroyd, Nicky Clarke, Floyde Streete, Peter Zelem, Steve Stoutt, Keith Lockhart, Micky Holmes, Andy Mutch, Derek Ryan, Jon Purdie. Roger Eli also appeared from the bench replacing Floyd Street. The attendance was 2963.
See you for Episode 2 soon. It’s to the 1990s we go.