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When Wolves took on the Army in 1917

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 14, 2014

By Gavin Jones

Great War football between Wolves and the Army

Great War football between Wolves and the Army

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IT'S NOT often we get to combine two of our favourite themes – the First World War and Football – but we can now, thanks to Wolverhampton Wanderers' retired (but still enthusiastic) historian Graham Hughes.

This poster is a fascinating relic of the wartime Wolves, and the original now hangs in the corridors of Molineux. But many Wolves fans may well recognise it as something they used to see during their pre-match refreshers, as it once hung on the walls of The Wanderer pub, just next to the ground. It disappeared for a while but then a couple of years ago it came up for auction and the club added it to their collection.

The 'Great Football Match' in question took place on Boxing Day 1917 at Molineux, kicking off at 2.15 and featuring the Wolves' Full Cup Team against Lieutenant J. St. J Devey's Army XI.

It was a fund-raising game for the 4th Battalion Staffordshire Volunteer Regiment, with the Wolverhampton Borough Band performing. Admission was sixpence out in the open, a shilling under the roof, or two and six in the Waterloo Road Grand Stand.

Normal service was suspended during the war years as far as football was concerned, and it's likely that many of the Wolves cup team from the last season, 1914-15, would have been unavailable. Several players were able to return to the team in 1919 however, and may well have been members of the Wolves v Army side that day. They included goalkeeper Ted Peers; George Garratly; Fred Price; Albert Groves; Alf Bishop; Billy Harrison; Frank Curtis; Tom Langford; Archie Needham; Sam Brooks; George Parfitt; Richard Richards; Alf Riley; Henry Howell; and Tom Lea.

We've no idea what the score was. Can anybody tell us?

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