legendary Sir Matt Busby pays his respects at the grave of Dudley's
It was a year of agony and ecstasy, tragedy and triumph in West
Midlands football - and it all happened in a period of just 10 weeks.
On February 6 Dudley's golden boy Duncan Edwards was critically
injured in the Munich air disaster which claimed the lives of some
of the greatest names in British football at the time and - very
nearly - that of their manager Matt Busby.
Manchester United star Edwards was only 21, had already played
many times for England and was variously described as a gentle giant
and living legend.
What made his death on February 21 so poignant both in his home
town of Dudley and his adopted city of Manchester was that he had
clung on to life for more than a fortnight and at times appeared
to be making a recovery.
A few weeks later Wolves kicked off the most glorious era in their
history by winning the league championship.
They had already won it in 1954 and since then had pioneered football
under floodlights at their Molineux home against some of the greatest
European teams of the day.
1958 was the first year in which Wolves, managed by Stan Cullis
and captained by Billy Wright, scored 100 goals in a season. They
were to do it in the next three seasons as well.
The boys in black and gold overcame a shaky start to the campaign
to race away with the title by five points from runners-up Preston
Average attendances of 37,000 were among the highest in the old
first division and more than 55,000 crammed into Molineux for the
local derby with West Bromwich Albion.
And the performances of the non first teamers augured well for
the furture with the second team winning the Central League and
the youth team the FA Youth Cup.
day Joy for Billy: The Wolves skipper enjoyed his own match of
the day later in the summer when Billy Wright married Joy Beverley
of the Beverley Sisters singing group.
Nuptials between a star footballer and a popular singer bring
to mind David Beckham and Posh Spice more than 40 years later but
the Wright approach could not have been more different.
There were strenuous - but unsuccessful - attempts to keep the
wedding at Poole in Dorset a secret but the word got out and there
was a large contingent of both fans and well-wishers at the ceremony.
One of those fans was one of his youngest.
Little Ann Littlewood, of Sedgley Road, Woodsetton, who was on
holiday with her parents, presented the happy couple with a lucky
horseshoe before Billy returned to Wolverhampton the following day
for pre-season training.
Eye-eye, that's your lot at Cannock: Strong measures against
hooliganism at civic restaurants in the Cannock area were being taken
by the town's Urban District Council. The council was told at a meeting
in November that two men alleged to have caused a disturbance at Cannock
had been banned from restaurants in both the town and neighbouring
There was to be no further dancing to music on the juke boxes
at the restaurants following reports that girls were being "eyed
up" by boys and being made to feel uncomfortable.
"Unseemly incidents have been reported but it has been difficult
to get people to give evidence in court," Councillor Mrs E Jones
Gutter humour is no joke for council: The streets of Wolverhampton
were branded the dirtiest and untidiest in the West Midlands by local
councillor E Mitchell who claimed, possibly with unintended humour,
that the town's latest street cleaning machines were fit only for
Attention to the gutters meant that rubbish was getting piled
up on the pavement, said Councillor Mitchell. But his comments provoked
disagreement from other members of the council's public works committee.
"It is news to me that our streets and footpaths are on the dirty
side," said committee vice chairman Councillor J Hale. "Compared
with some towns in the Midlands they are not bad at all."
We were guinea pigs says former test observer: During the 1950s
thousands of British servicemen were "observers" at nuclear-bomb tests
in the South Pacific. Ted Bagnall of Bilston was on Christmas Island
during four detonations. He recalled:
"About 1,000 of us were taken down to the beach. We were given
no protection at all. We were wearing standard khaki shorts and
shirts and were sat down, a fair distance away.
"We were told over the address system to cover our eyes. This
was in the Pacific, in the midday sun, which was really bright.
But when that bomb flashed, the sun was as dull as the moon. When
the flash came, you could see all the bones in your hands through
your closed eyes. I have had skin problems for years. I am sure
we were used as guinea pigs. There is no way that kind of thing
would be done today."