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Toby's On The Spot!


16:52 6th May 2014

Fitting end to Jody Craddock testimonial

There have been many memorable Molineux moments to reflect on this season as Wolves blazed an impressive trail to the Sky Bet League One title breaking a number of club and league records along the way.

But there was one yesterday, right at the end of Jody Craddock’s testimonial match, which will remain right up there for the 9,095 who witnessed it.

Jody and Shelley’s youngest son Toby, 4, is two years into a treatment programme for leukaemia under the care of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, who are to receive a proportion of the proceeds from the testimonial year.

And with minutes remaining in yesterday’s testimonial between a Wolves XI and a Sunderland XI, and the score tied at 1-1 with Dave Edwards cancelling out Niall Quinn’s opener, Hollyoaks actor and Wolves fan Ayden Callaghan was, ahem, fouled in the penalty area, by Craddock himself.

Referee Alan Wylie pointed to the spot, but there was already something slightly different in mind.

Toby came bounding onto the pitch, quickly followed by older brothers Joseph and Luke, all of whom promptly despatched penalties past Norwegian international goalkeeper Thomas Myhre with much aplomb.

And the crowd went wild!

The tangible evidence of the excellent progress Toby is making provided a fitting conclusion to an excellent testimonial year for the popular defender.

A training day with Matt Murray, dinner featuring the 2008/09 Championship winning squad and Fans’ Forum with Kenny Jackett and Samuel Ricketts comprised the main events in the build-up to yesterday’s showpiece game.

So it was that a team made up of Craddock’s former team-mates from the two clubs he graced for longest met up in front of a near five figure crowd on a sunny Bank Holiday.

Players came from far and wide to join in the day, the Wolves side including the likes of Matt Murray, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Seyi Olofinjana, as well as special guests from the world of showbiz such as Mark Rhodes and Ayden Callaghan.

The management pairing of Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor masterminded proceedings, although, as Mick admitted pre-match, there were one or two positional situations he wouldn't have selected!

The Sunderland team included the re-uniting of the club’s legendary strike partnership of Kevin Phillips and Quinn, not to mention Myhre and fellow keeper Thomas Sorenson, and Gavin McCann and Kevin Kilbane.

Craddock and Alex Rae were two among several who had played for both clubs, and swopped teams accordingly during what can only be described as a fairly leisurely 90 minutes.

Although one or two typically uncompromising challenges from Rae certainly raised the tone once or twice during the game!

There was also plenty of entertainment at half time, firstly with a penalty shootout competition involving three random ticket purchasers firing kicks at Matt Murray, before Wolves’ Vice-Presidents Robert Plant and Steve Bull tried their luck against Jez ‘I 8 Ate All the Pies’ Moxey.

George Elokobi also got involved, and Jez must have been fearing the worst when he walked back for a Bob Willis style run-up!

Plant perhaps drew the loudest applause for one kick which found the net and almost took the Wolves’ CEO’s head off in the process!

The game had been billed as a tribute to both Craddock and Wolves’ past and present, and so it was that Kenny Jackett and the current squad took to the pitch before the game for one final parading of the Sky Bet League One trophy.

That however was wonderfully hijacked by Elokobi whom, later to go in goal on his final Wolves appearance, embarked on a one man procession with the silverware to the delight of the home fans.

And, the penalties from Craddock juniors followed by a post-match presentation of a specially designed canvas of the year’s events by Creative Framing, meant the afternoon finished in the same celebratory way in which it had begun.

*Thanks to match officials Alan Wiley, Joe Clark and Craig Taylor, match sponsor The Fox at Shipley , manager’s sponsor John Gough and John Bowater and Wolves kit sponsor Whathouse.

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