I have long had a soft spot for Wolves, maybe because when I was a starry-eyed youngster – yes really – I grew up with their famous team of the Sixties with players like Bill Slater, Ron Flowers and Peter Broadbent.
I think I could probably run through their whole team, so enthralled was I by their exploits in Europe against teams like Moscow Dynamo and Honved.
More recently I used to be a regular visitor at Molineux because my son Darren played there for four years and I would go down to watch him whenever I wasn’t involved with Manchester United.
So I got to know and like the club all over again. It has something about it and I always felt that if someone could really get hold of the place and give it a good shaking they could be a top club again.
They certainly have the history and tradition and it’s good to see them back in the top division. It’s where they belong.
David Jones hauled the club back into contention when he was manager there and I felt their board could have shown him a bit more patience and loyalty because he was certainly moving them in the right direction.
It was not to be, but at least they have got a good manager again in Mick McCarthy, a strong personality and an experienced football man. He is a down-to-earth guy, straight-talking, and players respond to him.
We offer Mick and his club a warm greeting tonight as we set about our task of tying to retain the Carling Cup we were so delighted to win last season.
It’s always being said that the Carling Cup is not my first priority but that is misleading because while obviously you don’t quite rank it alongside the Premier League or Champions League, I certainly regard this competition as an extremely valuable tool in my club’s strategy.
I will not have it lightly dismissed because over the years the Carling Cup has served Manchester United as an important component in the development of our playing squad.