Leicester celebration 'just pure emotion', says Rae

Alex Rae is still haunted by his celebrations after scoring the equalising goal as Wolves came from 3-0 down to beat Leicester City 4-3 during the stunning fightback of 2003.

The midfielder admits emotion overtook him after heading Wolves back on level terms when he talks about one of the most famous games in Wolves history as part of the third instalment of Old Gold Club: Big Match Revisited.

Rae is one of several key members of the 2003/04 squad who join Mikey Burrows and Chris Iwelumo to relive that memorable comeback win in the club’s first season back in the top-flight of English football for almost 20 years.

Supporters can catch the latest episode of Big Match Revisited at 8pm on Monday on Wolves’ official YouTube channel, with the likes of Kenny Miller, Lee Naylor, Jody Craddock and manager Dave Jones also joining Rae in looking back at a game which will live long in the memory.

On coming in 3-0 down at half-time

“I think everyone was a wee bit shell-shocked. We came into the back of the game on decent form – we’d beaten Man City, had a couple of decent draws away from home; up at Bolton and then went to Fulham as well, so we started to nick some points at that time.

“We thought it’s a game against Leicester and it had always been a bit nip and tuck with ourselves and them in terms of the personnel they had, so to go in 3-0 down, you think to yourself ‘my god, what are we doing?’

“It just takes the wind out of your sails. The fact that we’d been getting a few points and the Molineux was absolutely rocking that day as the Leicester fans were in good fettle as well.”

On a dressing room full of egos

“You go in at half-time and you’re all looking at the blame game. You’re getting into each other, but we were all trying to come up with some sort of semblance to get back into the game.

“There was always words. What a dressing room it was in terms of egos; there were a lot of egos in that room, so when you’ve got a lot of guys, with a lot to say, you’re all trying to put your pitch in and try to do your bit, but you don’t want to lose your perspective about getting back into the game.

“The one with the biggest ego was my golf partner and the man who never moved out of the centre-circle – Paul Ince. He was brutal and was the orchestrator, the conductor who just puts his hands up everywhere and tells everyone else to run and he was the guv’nor at it.

“If you’re talking about egos, there nobody bigger than Incey.”

On aims for the second-half

“When we came back out, you’re thinking ‘just nick a goal’ because at no point did anybody think that we were going to go on and win it.

“If you’re 3-0 down at home, no matter how much you’re in the game, there’s something not quite right, and we were just wanting to come out, scrap for some goals and get a bit of professional pride.

“But once Colin gets the first goal, you’re thinking brilliant. But I remember the Leicester fans were celebrating it sarcastically and I thought ‘you cheeky f******’ – they were mocking us.

“I thought to myself ‘this is not on’, so to get another when there is still 30 minutes to go, the momentum had changed. We were very much on the front foot and you could actually sense blood at that stage.”

 On scoring the equaliser

“I often nicked a few headers, and they were usually glancing ones, but that one was something I wasn’t known for.

“Denis Irwin had put the cross in, and it was an unbelievable cross, because he whipped it, which eliminated the defenders, and I was just trying to help it back to where it came from.

“But with the celebration, I’m still disappointed now and it taunts us.

“When players used to kiss the badge or take their tops off, I would think ‘what is that a******* doing? What a f****** idiot’. So, when I look back at the celebration for that header, I want to punch myself right in the face because of my behaviour. But it was pure emotion.

“I think I scored about 130/140 goals and not once did I celebrate my taking my top off and giving it all that, but it was pure emotion.

“There’s a camera which shows the crowd and us coming into shot, and I always felt ‘my god, look at the emotion of that crowd and the players to that equalising goal’.”

The third edition of the must-see 90-minute Old Gold Club: Big Match Revisited premieres at 8pm on Monday on Wolves’ YouTube channel, before being available in the archive at tv.wolves.co.uk.

Big Match Revisited will be powered by Blyth Group, an industry-leading construction company driving investment and infrastructure across the UK.