Prominent DDCWWFCSC member Rod Ireland takes a look into his soul to give us this piece of how he feels about Wolves life and everything……
What Wolves Mean To Me
By Rod Ireland
Like others who have shared their love for our great club here, I have many years of happy memories and favourite times watching the Old Gold and Black. Seeing Peter Knowles dump Bobby Charlton on his backside, treasured goals like John Richards scoring against QPR in front of the North Bank, Bully’s flick, turn and and shot against Millwall, and Willie Carr’s exquisite curled chip away at Upton Park.
But what Wolves really means to me is summed up by one special match at a very special time in my life. Early in 1988 I was told I had cancer – a very unusual kind, with three big growths on my heart. I discovered only later that my friends at work had been told not to expect me back.
Most of us know someone who’s suffered from cancer – well most of you know me, so it must be true! It may surprise you if I say that I now see it as one of the positive events in my life. I learned so much about myself, about what’s really precious in life, and about how important it is to maintain self belief and never stop fighting to keep hold of what you want – in my case, my life.
So there I am, at the end of May, with Coxy and other good friends, being literally dragged up the steps of old Wembley Stadium. I’d had intrusive surgery, followed by my first batches of chemotherapy. Bald as a coot (what’s changed?), I was as weak as a kitten, and collapsed worn out into my seat.
The significance of what I saw that day has stayed with me ever since. A sea of gold and black, dominating with colour and noise, where not so many months ago poor Molineux had echoed to the sporadic chants of the faithful few; when the life of the entire club hung in the balance. There was only going to be one winner that day – Wolves were back, and the future was so full of promise. How I identified with that feeling, how to capture it in words? Rebirth, renaissance, renewal – sheer euphoria at what might lie ahead.
The rest you know. Wolves have climbed back towards the top; sure, just as in life, there have been stumbles. But more than twenty years on there are so many great memories, those same treasured friends, and so much more ahead. Just one little side story about Coxy, who recruited me into the DDC way back in ’76. I’m lying in my Oxford hospital bed, feeling rotten. Enter Mr Cox. No grapes or flowers. “Coming out for a pint?” Having sweet-talked the nurses into agreement, I get dressed and he takes me down the Victoria Arms on the banks of the Cherwell for several pints of 6X. Best tonic I could get. Pure Coxy. Thanks, mate.