Memory Lane – Wolverhampton Wanderers
This season, I want to take a walk down memory lane back through my 24 years and over 600 games of watching Palace.
For each home game, I’ll reflect on the highs and lows that I’ve seen against our opposition. Some clubs, I’ve got a rich history of great Palace moments, and for others, there’s been limited encounters but I’ll try to capture the emotion, context and excitement of the Palace life.
At one point, Wolves were the club that I’d seen us line up against the most, but it’s been a while since we’ve faced them. Although we’ve only won four of the fourteen encounters, this was one of the hardest to pick my highlight for as there’s been so many brilliant moments.
One of those moments was when a seventeen-year-old Wayne Routledge scored just seconds into his first start in 2002, to put us on route to a 4-2 win. Additionally, two of the greatest Palace goals I’ve ever seen were scored at Molineux – long range volleys from Dougie Freedman, in a 1-1 midweek draw, and Jamie Scowcroft, in a 3-0 away win as we stormed up the table under Neil Warnock in 2007/8. The latter was also memorable as SEVEN youth players finished the game for Palace (Scannell, Morrison, Grabban, Hills, Moses, Soares and Watson). Of course, we also had fun last time out against Wolves when Andre Moritz scored not one, but two, free kicks in a 3-1 victory! Unfortunately, I can’t mention Freedman’s last minute heroics in the 1997 play offs as my first match wasn’t until the final, two weeks later…
Palace…3 (Butterfield 3)
2nd February 2010, FA Cup R4 Replay
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Clyn, Hill, Lawrence, Butterfield (Djilali 88), Davis, Derry, Ambrose, Danns, Carle (Comley 83), Lee (Andrew 74). Subs not used: Manns, Wynter, Scannell,
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hennessey, Stearman, Craddock, Berra, Zubar, Mancienne (Jones 76), Foley, Henry, Milijas, Mujangi Bia (Ebanks-Blake 59), Vokes (Iwelumo 58)
What else could I choose? It’s a night that sums up the Palace madness so beautifully. Our manager was leaving us, our team had fallen apart, we were tumbling down the table and the club’s mere existence was under threat so the FA Cup didn’t really matter, did it? A crowd of just 10,282 showed up. Not bad for a ‘meaningless’ game, but not inspired. Wolves were a Premier League club in name, yet the regularity of our encounters took the glamour out of that.
The first half was as you’d expect – drab, slow, quiet and sombre (if not sober for me, a university student who’d had little else to do in the day). And then, it became a match that will live on for ever. A header. A right footed shot. A cool left footed slot under the keeper. It was a perfect. It was our right back in six minutes. It was relief from the league, from the dour situation that Jordan had left us in, and it was smiles as wide as South London.
Here are some quotes from Danny Butterfield and Shaun Derry from my book, The Palace Addiction (availible on Amazon and in the club shop).
DANNY BUTTERFIELD: “I have nothing to lose, have fun, if I have a stinker it won’t matter coz I’m no forward anyway!!! All the thoughts going through my head as I went into the game… But more importantly, my team mates saw me as the joker and found it amusing that I was being given the chance to play as a striker…As usual the pre match “dance off to The Proclaimers” was followed with the dressing room rocking and our team spirit tighter than ever, considering what we were going through! We were ready for an upset!!! I remember not playing too well myself in the first half and then, WOW!!! 3 goals??…Me???… No?? Still to this day I’m embarrassed it was me but proud too as Palace are and will always be a part of my life.
A massive thanks goes to big Alan Lee who battered their back four all night and I took the goals… (Did I just say that?) The fans got a night to remember and most importantly, some more money to get the club out of the mess we were in. As a group of players and club it felt like the world was against us but with the togetherness in the dressing room, backed up by such loyal fans, there was no way that season was going to end in failure. On a personal note, the hat trick might sell a few more shirts in the club shop, and with my name on it too!!!!”
SHAUN DERRY: “On a lighter note, aside from the stresses that we had to contend with in the league, the game against Wolves in the cup stands out for me. The game when Danny Butterfield scored his hat trick. I’ve never played in a game where a group of players were so happy for one individual to take the glory before. Danny was an integral part of the team – not only for his role on the pitch but also because of the feel good factor that we tried to create in and around the football club. For me to see someone so respected score a hat trick, which was so surprising to everybody, still makes me smile today.”
28th April 2001, Championship
Crystal Palace: Kolinko, Mullins, Austin, Harrison, Frampton, Hopkin, Riihilahti, Rubins, Carlisle, Freedman, Morrison. Subs: Gray, Forssell, Gregg, Berhalter, Fuller.
Wolverhampton: Oakes, Muscat, Naylor, Lescott, Dinning, Branch, Robinson, Andrews, Sinton, Ketsbaia, Proudlock. Subs: Emblen, Stowell, Roussel, Robert Taylor, Camara.
“If he gets him sent off, that’s the first useful thing he’s done all season”
The analysis of Andrejs Rubins’ season by an angry man sat behind me in the upper tier.
Despite the first half sending off of a Wolves player, they cruised to their 2-0 win – as we seemed to cruise to the third level of English football for the first time in 24 years. Of course, we all now know of Dougie and the boys’ heroics at Portsmouth and Stockport, which has allowed us to extend that run to 41 years and counting. However, any one of the 18,993 fans who saw us roll over on that dark afternoon would never have believed what was to come in the eight following days.
It was about midway through the second half when the first disgruntled fan lobbed his season ticket booklet onto the hallowed turf and from then on, the storm of disgust didn’t stop crashing down. My brother and I counted no fewer than thirteen different ‘Anti-Alan Smith Chants’ in the car home – ranging from simple pleas of “Resign! Why don’t you just resign?” to ones that we had to whisper so our Dad didn’t hear us repeating. As far as I know, there’s never been another demonstration against a Palace manager like it, before or since, and not just because Jordan brought in the lighter, electronic season tickets that didn’t fly so well for the following season!
My Personal Record of Live Matches Against Wolves
- Played 14
- Won 4
- Drawn 5
- Lost 5
- Scored 22
- Conceded 19
- Home 9
- Away 5
- Palace…1 Wolves…1 (Division 1, 1999) – Bradbury
- Palace…0 Wovles…2 (Division 1, 2001)
- Palace…4 Wolves…2 (Division 1, 2002) – Routledge, Freedman (2), Thompson
- Wolves…2 Palace…1 (Championship, 2005) – McAnuff
- Palace…1 Wolves…1 (Champtionship, 2005) – Johnson
- Wolves…1 Palace…1 (Championship, 2006) – Freedman
- Palace…2 Wolves…2 (Championship, 2007) – Hudson, McAnuff
- Wolves…0 Palace…3 (Championship, 2008) – Morrison, Scannell, Scowcroft
- Palace…0 Wolves…2 (Championship, 2008)
- Wolves…2 Palace…1 (Championship, 2008) – Ifill
- Palace…0 Wolves…1 (Championship, 2009)
- Wolves…2 Palace…2 (FA Cup R4 , 2010) – Lee, Ambrose
- Palace…3 Wolves….1 (FA Cup R4 replay, 2010) – Butterfield (3)
- Palace…3 Wolves…1 (Championship, 2012) – Bolasie, Moritz (2)