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Sherpa Van Trophy - 30 Years On

30 years ago, at a golden-painted Wembley, Wolverhampton was made proud again by the efforts of its football club - a phoenix from the flames

On 29th May 1988, Graham Turner’s team banished years of misery under the old Twin Towers as Wolves lifted the Sherpa Van Trophy to spark an incredible upturn in fortunes for this historic football club.

An unprecedented topple through the Football League had seen Wolves inexplicably competing in the fourth tier of English football, after three consecutive relegations, but that drop simply made Turner and his men hungrier for success.

Liquidation had become a growing concern on a site of neglection, with three of four Molineux stands dilapidated having surpassed their expiry date, meaning time was of the essence.

Turner’s arrival and the double signing of Steve Bull and Andy Thompson breathed new life into the football club and, after Play-Off heartbreak in 1887, the men in gold and black were not going to be denied success the following year.

The league title was safely won by the time Wolves hit Wembley Way, with 90 points seeing them comfortably beat Cardiff City to top spot - ironically the same duo who in 2018 were promoted to the Premier League together.

Backed by 48,000 supporters, some of whom had camped overnight to secure their ticket, Wolves cruised to a 2-0 victory and reminded the football world that this sleeping giant was slowly starting to wake at the sport’s spiritual home.

The victory itself was a Turner masterclass. The build-up in Spain had relaxed and reenergised the players, meaning they arrived in London knowing exactly what was expected of them from the masses who’d travelled down from the West Midlands.

There was an assured manner to Wolves, who’d finished 23 points better off than the Clarets and twice beaten them 3-0, and those advantages showed on the day as Turner’s men began brightly.

Having already rattled the bar, Wolves took a deserved lead when Bull, who’d netted in every previous round of the competition, turned provider and crossed for his striker partner Andy Mutch to stoop and head into the back of the net.

After the break set piece specialist, Robbie Dennison curled a stunning free-kick over the wall and into the top corner, meaning it was party time for those supporters who had suffered years of hurt since the club’s First Division relegation four years earlier.

The football club never looked back and 12 months on were promoted back into the second tier, with momentum from the Fourth Division and Sherpa Van success seeing them through another tough campaign in the lower leagues.

Now, as Wolves celebrate a return to the Premier League, many fans still speak fondly of this trip to the old Twin Towers, where the revival of Wolverhampton Wanderers kicked into gear.