Our Century

Sitting on the wall at Molineux

Clem Lewis,
Born 1924

Clem Lewis

"When I first saw the Wolves they were in the Second Division, playing Barnsley. Not long after they were in the First Division and I remember Arsenal beating them 7-1 at Molineux.

"That was when Arsenal was the supreme team of the 1930s. In those days we lads were looked after in the crowds. If we were stuck at the back of the terraces we would be pushed or carried down to sit on the wall.

"Peddlers of chocolate bars and sweets used to walk around the ground with trays of goodies, flinging their wares up to customers who in turn flung down the money. It was unbelievably civilised.

"In the later 1930s Major Frank Buckley hit the sporting headlines for his success as Wolves manager. The newspapers claimed that he fed them on extracts of monkey glands! One of those great stars was Bryn Jones, a brilliant inside-forward who was later transferred to Arsenal for a record transfer fee.

"After the war, Frank Buckley had a spell as manager of Walsall and it was his name that undoubtedly kept Walsall in the League when they had been bottom for about five years.

"This region produced some great sporting personalities. Some say that Staffordshire's Sidney Barnes was the finest bowler England ever had. I saw a testimonial match at Stafford to mark his 80th birthday in the early 1950s. He bowled the first over of the day. Denis Compton and many other star players turned out. Maurice Tate, the former Sussex and England fast bowler, was also professional for Walsall. He once bowled at me in the nets at Wednesbury Boys' High School - but I don't remember seeing the ball!