Wolves Former Players Association have appointed former striker John Richards as their new chairman as they take on a fresh focus in 2021.
Former FPA Chairman and Wolves captain Mike Bailey has stepped down after his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s was revealed towards the end of last year, and supporting the increasing number of former players who are suffering from dementia-related conditions forms part of the organisation’s renewed approach with Richards at the helm.
Richards, previously the vice-chairman, was unanimously appointed as chairman by the FPA committee, with Andy Thompson also joining the group after John McAlle decided to step down.
Steve Daley has also been appointed as the new vice-chairman.
The increased approach on support will see the FPA combine their annual programme of social events, including the Hall of Fame dinner and golf day, with providing help for former players and engaging with suitable charities or agencies where necessary.
It is hoped that the change in focus will take the FPA, which was formed in 1988, into a new era of working closely with the likes of Wolves, the PFA, the FA, other former player organisations and important local services.
“I can still remember the original meeting being held at the Express & Star Sports Club in Tettenhall when Wolves Former Players’ Association was first launched,” says Richard Green, administration manager with the FPA.
“Stan Cullis was elected President, Billy Wright was named chairman, while Malcolm Finlayson, Ron Flowers, Roy Swinbourne and Bill Slater held key committee roles in those early formative days.
“Since then, thanks to the fantastic work of people like Peter Creed and the tremendous support of Sir Jack Hayward while he was alive, the organisation has evolved, and over the last few years has enjoyed a real revival with the social events being extremely popular and raising funds which have been donated to local charities.
“As a lifelong Wolves fan, it has been a privilege for me to work with such club legends such as Ron and Mike, and whilst it is sad that Mike has had to stand down, his influence will undoubtedly play a major part in our focus moving forward.
“Since I approached John to come on board, he has already helped the FPA step up our activities, and we are really looking forward to having more of an influence and helping our former players over the coming years. This new emphasis and involvement of younger members will be key to the changing face of the WFPA.”
Richards remains one of the most celebrated players in Wolves history, his 14-year Molineux career comprising 487 appearances and 194 goals, including the winner against Manchester City in the 1974 League Cup Final.
“I am both proud and delighted to be appointed as chairman of Wolves Former Players’ Association,” he said.
“First of all, I want to thank Mike for his contribution to the FPA over a number of years.
“As a former team-mate of Mike, I was always greatly inspired both by his ability as a player and his status as a fantastic leader, and the sad news of his diagnosis is something that will continue to have an influence on the FPA moving forward as we aim to help any former footballers who are struggling with dementia.
“We want to help these former players and their families, and ensure that they can find the right services which can make their lives just that little bit easier, as well as providing support in other areas for any former Wolves player who might be going through difficult times.
“In summary, I think our ethos moving forward is to offer support and guidance to former players and their families, and to continue to provide opportunities for social interaction between all of our former players.
All the emotions of a Wolves FPA committee meeting on Zoom! Nicely completed just in time for kick off in a bit! pic.twitter.com/6fnjWW3rxe— Wolves FPA (@WolvesFPA) January 27, 2021
“So while our main social events remain a focal part of our calendar, along with the vital fundraising for local charities, we are just honing our focus towards making sure we are there as an avenue of support for all of Wolves’ former players.
“We’re fortunate to have a very active and enthusiastic committee of former Wolves players who organise all of our social and fundraising events, and who are totally committed to helping their former colleagues in whatever way they can.
“As ever, the ongoing support of Wolverhampton Wanderers is very much appreciated; we would not be able to achieve our objectives without the help of the club.
“I must also take this opportunity to thank another of my former team-mates John McAlle for his years of service on the committee, as well as welcoming Andy Thompson, who I am sure will have an important role to play as one of our more ‘recent’ former players.”
Russell Jones, general manager for marketing and commercial growth at Wolves, added: “The WFPA have been an integral part of the Wolves family for many years. Our magical history is something that all Wolves fans are immensely proud of.
“On behalf of the club I would like to thank former WFPA chairman Mike Bailey, for his significant contribution and wish him and John McAlle all the very best for the future.
“We are delighted to hear that John Richards will become the new WFPA chairman and that Andy Thompson will also join the board.
“John, Andy and the rest of the management committee will continue to receive our full support as they look to make important changes to drive the organisation forward.”
The committee of the Wolves FPA as it stands now comprises Ron Flowers as president, John Richards as chairman, Steve Daley as vice-chairman, Geoff Palmer, Phil Parkes, Matt Murray and Andy Thompson.
Richard Green continues to serve as administration manager, supported by Paul Berry (PR/communications) and Michelle Westwood (finance).