Palmer: Playing in Europe is 'special'

Legendary Wolves defender Geoff Palmer is loving his boyhood club being back in European competition after almost 40 years.

The 65-year-old, who made almost 500 appearances in gold and black which included winning two League Cup titles in 1974 and 1980, was part of the last team which represented Wolves in the competition, facing PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Cup first round in 1980.

On watching Wolves back in Europe

“You hear a lot of people saying now how nice it is to see Wolves back in Europe, and they are special games.

“You’re pitting your wits against teams from other countries, you’re going away, playing on different pitches, there’s different atmospheres there, so it’s nice to see the club back in Europe.

“Just before I came, we reached the UEFA Cup final and all the lads who were here would tell me about how good it was. We would go away, get away from the same environment in Wolverhampton for two or three days in Germany or Italy.

“It’s a special thing to play in Europe and I believe it makes you a better player, pitting your wits against foreign players.”

On the impact of European football

“I personally think it’s only a good thing for the club, although you obviously hear bad things about the Europa League, people saying that they don’t want to be in it because of the travelling and the extra matches – but if you don’t want to do well, if you don’t want to win it, then don’t enter it!

“I think it’s good for the club, it expands the Wolves name across other countries in Europe, it’s good for the fans to see the team playing around Europe and it gives them a chance to see some good foreign teams playing here at Molineux.”

On Wolves’ European side of the 1970s

“There were so many good players back in the teams of the 70s. When I first came into the first-team at 19 we had the likes of Phil Parkes, Derek Parkin, John McAlle, Mike Bailey, Frank Munro – they were all senior players, some of the best who have ever played for this club.

“They all helped you out and they all got you through the games, especially Mike who was a tremendous captain, as it was later in life when I played with Emlyn Hughes, another very good captain.

“But Frank Munro was Mr Cool – he would never sweat in a game; he reminds me of van Dijk who plays for Liverpool now, he never let himself get one-on-one, he was so dominant and comfortable on the ball.”

On Wolves’ double League Cup titles

“We played against Man City in 1974 and I was only 19 at the time. Although we weren’t favourites to win the game, during that season we’d played them twice and drew with the twice so we were quietly confident that we would get a result against them.

“Walking out onto the Wembley pitch before the match as a 19-year-old, I didn’t know what to expect, but when you’re in the tunnel and look across at their players, there was Mike Summerbee, Rodney Marsh, Denis Law, Colin Bell, Franny Lee; so I was a bit awestruck.

“We weren’t favourites either against Nottingham Forest in 1980, but we played to a system which won us the game.”

Read more about Geoff’s time living the dream of Wolves supporters by wearing the gold and black of his boyhood club, as we delve into his 16-year playing career at Molineux in Saturday’s matchday programme against Aston Villa.

This season’s Premier League programmes – priced at £3.50 – will be available around Molineux on matchday, as well as online by clicking here.