Our Century

Wolves shock - Cullis sacked

All things must pass and this one had been coming for some time but the sacking of the legendary Stan Cullis as manager of Wolves still came as a huge bombshell.

Stan CullisMore than 35 years later some fans with long memories have still not forgiven the board for getting rid of the man who had piloted the team to post-war glory after a highly-successful playing career.

Under his stewardship Wolves pioneered the concept of international friendlies against quality continental opposition, won the league title in 1954, 1958 and 1959 and the FA Cup in 1960.

In that final against Blackburn Rovers Cullis had shown his midas touch by fielding raw youngster Barry Stobart after just five first team games. He played a blinder.

But in the years immediately following the magic started to fade and attendances dropped below 15,000 as Wolves slipped down the table.

Cullis had been at the helm for more than 16 years but was still only 48 when the axe fell on Tuesday September 15 1964.

He had recently returned to the club following convalescence from an illness which had forced him to miss five of the first seven matches of a miserable campaign which was to end in relegation.

Cullis was linked with a number of clubs inlcuding Sunderland, Coventry and even Juventus but after a spell out of the spotlight returned to football management with Birmingham City.

Queen;s Arcade fire
Dramatic scenes at the Queen's Arcade, Wolverhampton in 1964 when the fire broke out in the basement and the building was evacuated. The blaze was blamed on rubbish catching fire and thankfully there was little damage and there were no injuries.

Mayor's car stopped after robber escapes: Almost a year to the day after the Great Train Robbery came the Great Prison Breakout and one that was dubbed at the time the great escape of the century.

Charles Wilson, who had been jailed for 30 years for his part in the robbery, got away from Birmingham's Winson Green jail in the early hours of the morning of August 12.

He made his dramatic escape with the help of a gang of men who had broken into the prison and coshed the night patrol officer knocking him unconscious.

Wilson and the others then scaled a wall at the back of the prison with a rope ladder and escaped.

A nationwide manhunt was launched, the Home Secrertary had to interrupt his holiday in the Channel Islands and detectives went over Wilson's haunts in the London area with a fine tooth comb.

The spotlight also fell closer to home following a tip-off that Wilson was holed up in the Dudley area while the West Bromwich mayoral car was stopped by police on the M5 following reports that Wilson had been spotted at the wheel.

Wilson stayed on the run for three years before being re-captured in Canada.

He finally left jail in 1978 and was shot dead on the doorstep of his Spanish home in 1990 at the age of 57.

Strain as the Rhyl train heads for Manchester! In the year that mods and rockers were fighting each other on the beaches hundreds of disappointed Black County folk were having trouble even getting to the beaches.

British Railways was forced to issue a public apology to families who arrived at Wolverhampton's Low Level station for a holiday special to Rhyl.

Horrified holidaymakers armed with buckets and spades and all the other essentials for a day at the seaside were told: "It's all a mistake. There is no train for Rhyl today."

Many people boarded the train thinking it was to take them to North Wales only to find it was a scheduled service for Manchester. Although not everyone's idea of a seaside resort it proved a blessing in disguise for one woman who stayed on the train and went to visit relatives.

Star's new baby bucks trend: At a time when many regional titles were going to the wall the Express & Star bucked the trend when it launched its own sister paper the Shropshire Star on October 5 - just in time to report that month's General Election.

Produced at purpose-built offices at Ketley, it was Britain's first new post-war evening newspaper.

Earlier in the year the chairman and joint managing director of the Express & Star Mr Malcolm Graham had been praised in a Times leader for his courage and vision in starting the new enterprise.

On the day the presses rolled for the first time Mr Graham told a VIP audience at the launch it would be an evening paper of which Shropshire people could be proud and which would meet the requirements of the county.

David Hamilton
She made the assignment easy and great photo opportunites followed...