WOLVERHAMPTON Wanderers may have dropped to League One, and we’re sure they’ll come straight back up, but their opening fixture of the new season, on 3rd August, sees them taking part in a historic commemoration of the Football League.
The 2013-14 season marks the 125th anniversary of the Football League and on the opening weekend six special matches have been lined up involving founder members.
Wolves have joined fellow founders Preston North End in League One and on the opening day they will travel to Deepdale to take on the Lilywhites.
Preston utterly dominated that very first season of league football, earning themselves the nickname “The Invincibles”.
They were unbeaten and drew only four of their 22 matches. They did the double over Wolves that first season and they also won the FA Cup by beating Wolves 3-0 in the final at the Kennington Oval.
Deepdale Since that opening season Deepdale has staged 2,342 Football League matches, more than any other stadium.
Wolves’ first league visit to Deepdale, on 27th October, 1888, saw them loose 5- 2 but their last match there, on 20th September, 2008, was much more fruitful, Wolves winning 3-1.
In the Championship four founder members will meet in commemoration matches over the opening weekend.
Bolton Wanderers will take on Burnley at Turf Moor, one of three grounds from the first league season still in use today.
The Lancashire rivals have met each other in the league 114 times. In another anniversary match Derby County will take on Blackburn Rovers.
Oldest In League One, the oldest Football League club Notts Country will play Sheffield United at Brammall Lane, the world’s oldest professional football ground.
In League Two Accrington Stanley travel to the newest ground in the Football League, Rodney Parade, home of the league’s newest member, the reformed Newport County. Hartlepool United will play at Rochdale, the 137th time the fixture has been played, the most played Football League match between current members.
Wolverhampton Wanderers began as St Luke’s football club in November 1876 and played their first game against Stafford Road reserves on 13th January, 1877. Two years later they merged with the local cricket and football team the Wanderers and Wolverhampton Wanderers were born.
The were one of the 12 founder members of the Football League and their first league game was against Aston Villa at home. Wolves gained a 1-1 draw, thanks to a Villa own goal.
The team for Wolves’ first game was Jack Baynton, Dickie Baugh, Charlie Mason, Albert Fletcher, Harry Allen, Arthur Lowder, Tom Hunter, Jerry Cooper, Nick Anderson, Walter White, and Alec Cannon.
Halesowen-born Walter White scored the Wolves’ first league goal in their third match, a 4-1 win over Burnley, and Harry Wood scored the club’s first league hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Derby County on 3rd November, 1888.
Wolves finished that inaugural season in a respectable third place, albeit well behind runaway leaders Preston but only a point behind second placed Villa.
Wolves had played 22 games, winning 12, drawing 4 and losing 6, scoring 50 goals and conceding 37.
Campaign They began their FA Cup campaign with a 4-3 home win over amateur side Old Carthusians on 2nd February, 1889.
This was followed by a 6-1 home win over Walsall Swifts, a 3-0 home win over The Wednesday and then they met Blackburn Rovers in the semi-finals. The first game was drawn 1-1 but Wolves won the replay 3-1. They then met the indomitable Preston North End but could do nothing to stop them achieving the first ever league and cup double.
Let’s hope this special commemorative fixture will set Wolves on a flying start to the new campaign and they can begin the long road back to the rightful place in the football league.