Foundation column | The generation game

“If you’re good enough you’re old enough,” said the great Sir Matt Busby.

Mark Twain’s verdict? “Age is an issue of mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

An opinion that Nuno Espirito Santo would probably concur with, as Wolves move on from the Premier League return to action at West Ham and prepare for a very different Molineux and Bournemouth on Wednesday night.

The 33-year-old Joao Moutinho may well be pulling the strings in midfield, 20-year-olds Pedro Neto and Morgan Gibbs-White will be desperate to be involved, and, earlier in the season, Chem Campbell made his senior debut at the age of sweet sixteen.

Age and crossing the generation gap is no barrier in football, and that is the same with Wolves Foundation, who have now announced a new project which means they can justifiably declare a strong community contribution for people across the city right through from the cradle to the grave.

With funding from the City of Wolverhampton Council, the Premier League and the Professional Footballers Association, a new Healthy Goals initiative has been launched, which will work to promote healthy growth through education and activity sessions.

Toddlers can be lively and energetic at the best of times, and this project will – when regulations allow -  nurture that with interactive stay and play sessions, family education and physical activity classes as well as workshops about fussy eating, cooking guidance and reducing screen time.

“Healthy Goals is a really exciting project, and one which will help parents and their young children pursue a healthy and active lifestyle,” says Rachel Smith, Health & Wellbeing Manager with Wolves Foundation.

The initiative is already underway online with an interactive Facebook group and any parent interested can contact

Heading to the other end of the age spectrum, the Foundation launched a Pen Pal scheme during lockdown where young people whom the charity were engaged with wrote letters to the elder generation involved with the Molineux Memories or Wolves Elders programmes.

“I had a letter off a girl from St Peter’s St Paul’s school and it was just lovely, telling me not to be lonely,” said Muriel, who is a mere 95-years-old!

“I haven’t been out of the house for a month and it was so nice to receive such a lovely letter.”

We probably shouldn’t really mention Steve Daley in a piece about age, but never mind, we’ll crowbar him in somehow.

The popular former Wolves midfielder is among the ex-Molineux contingent who have been part of the ‘Wolves At Home’ initiative joining club and Foundation staff in making over 3,000 calls to elderly and vulnerable supporters to check on their welfare.

The once British record signing  got more than he bargained for with one particular conversation.

“The fella I phoned didn’t seem too convinced,” Daley explains.

“First of all he asked who I made my full debut against.

“’Southampton’,” I replied. “1971. We won 4-2 and I scored the last goal.”

The conversation continued.

“Did you play for Wolves all of your career?”

“’No, I moved to Manchester City for £1.5million in 1979.”

“Well, last one then, who has scored the quickest goal in European football for Wolves?”

“It was me, against Ferencvaros, in the semi-final second leg at Molineux in 1972.”

Silence at the other end of the phone, before the exclamation: “I can’t believe I’m talking to Steve Daley!”

Three out of three for Dales, who in another call found himself the subject of an elderly lady's affections as she refused to pass the phone on to the intended recipient - her husband!