Dave Harrison was the first journalist ever to interview Ian 'Iggy' Cartwright, who came through the youth ranks at Wolves in the early 1980's. Sadly Ian passed away at the age of 52 last night after a long and hard battle with cancer. Dave passes on some memories of a man whose courage on the pitch was surpassed by his spirit in the biggest battle of them all.
It took over 10 years for terminal cancer to claim the life of Ian “Iggy” Cartwright. It was typical that the former Wolves midfielder battled so long and hard to the very end.
Iggy was a combative player who emerged into the first team during the troublesome times of the early eighties after joining the club’s youth scheme as a 16 year-old.
He was one of the young breed of players nurtured by Graham Hawkins in a team which won promotion from the old Second Division in the 1982-83 season.
His career came to a shuddering halt when he suffered a serious ankle injury in 1986 after which he joined the prison service.
Iggy will be remembered for his tenacity and maturity on the ball which belied his tender footballing years.
But those who enjoyed his company will recall a cheerful nature and a beaming smile which shone brighter than the Molineux floodlights even through those dark days of the club’s decline through the leagues.
And, more importantly, those traits were with him through the final, painful years of his life.
Mel Eves became close friends with Iggy and helped stage a fund-raising charity match for his former colleague.
Mel recalled: “He was a very, very good player, a dominating midfielder, who played from box to box.
“He was the sort of player you would always want in your side. He showed the same tenacity and bravery off the field in fighting his illness.
“The charity match we put on for him was really well supported, especially by the Doog, and Iggy was so grateful for what we did for him.”
Graham Large, editor of the Wolves fanzine “Old Gold Glory”, visited Iggy during his last few weeks and can illustrate the best of his qualities.
“Even though he knew he was close to the end his spirits were fairly good and he brightened considerably when he recalled memories of players like Mel Eves and John Burridge and in particular a pre-season trip to Sweden,” said Graham.
“He spoke at length and great fondness of Graham Hawkins and his assistant Jim Barron. He also talked about what a privilege it was to play for such a great club as Wolves.
“When I mentioned your name, Dave, his face lit up and he said you were the first person to interview him. He asked me if you still had dark curly hair. I couldn’t lie I’m afraid.”
The hair is grey now but my memories of Iggy are coloured with great affection
He played just 61 times for Wolves but his contribution cannot be measured by his number of appearances but by the pride he had in playing for Wolves and the jovial, positive attitude he brought to Molineux on every single day of his career.
Iggy is survived by his wife Julie and sons Daniel and Matthew. Our thoughts are with them.