Half-time entertainment has always been a much talked-about part of the matchday football experience.
From zorb racing to crossbar challenges, ‘dizzy penalties’ to singing and dancing, that 15 minutes which dissects a game of football can be filled with all manner of weird and wonderful.
Who can forget ‘On My Shed Son’ at Molineux in the 1990’s when participants could win – you guessed it – a garden shed, and that time at Bristol City when Wolfie and the Three Little Pigs decided to…o-k then we’ll perhaps not go down that route.
In recent years however, there is little that has stirred the Molineux soul at half time more than when the Wolves Disability team took to the pitch at the halfway point of the Premier League fixture with Cardiff in February of last year.
The team is part of the Foundation’s extensive programme of activities for people with disabilities, and their performance that day, brimming with unbridled enthusiasm and sheer joy, earned deserved acclaim from all four corners of the stadium.
“A dream come true,” was how it was described by the adult team goalkeeper Joe Cope.
“The atmosphere and the fans ensued that it wouldn’t be a memory I would never forget.
“Plus, playing against Cardiff help me to improve my skills to ensure that I become a much better player for the next time I play in a football match.”
The team also took on their Aston Villa counterparts in a follow-up half time fixture earlier in the current season, and were poised for another runout at the weekend in the Foundation’s annual Focus fixture against Everton, only to be scuppered by the Covid-19 pandemic putting football behind closed doors.
“The two half time fixtures signified how far Wolves Disability has come over the years,” explains Lee Smith,” Senior Manager with the Foundation whose role includes overseeing the cohesion and inclusion programme.
“Starting as Sporting Chances FC in 2012, we are now a recognised Wolves team and have not only been involved in the half time fixtures but also part of kit launches and sponsor announcements.
“The fixtures gave us the platform to raise awareness of the teams and an opportunity for the players - who are all Wolves fans themselves - to play in front of a rocking Molineux crowd.
“The footage from the matches reached over 1million views on social media and a BBC radio station also interviewed me afterwards.
“I am very proud of the staff, players and volunteers involved and would like to take the opportunity to thank all the Wolves fans for their support at the matches and we certainly hope to do it again in the future.”
Half Time was obviously far quieter than normal against Everton at the weekend in what has become the Foundation’s annual opportunity to both showcase their activities to the Molineux masses and also attract vital fundraising.
Under normal circumstances there would have been pre-match activities in the Fan Park and Wolfie’s Den, pitchside interviews highlighting latest Foundation initiatives and beneficiaries, not to mention a spectacular half time parade.
Even without that, the Foundation was still able shine a ‘virtual’ light online and the Wolves players also wore special warm-up shirts and had the Foundation crest adorning their strips.
Fans can still support their fundraising to replace that lost from the bucket collection, via some fantastic auction items of memorabilia on the Foundation’s eBay site or by donating directly via the Wolves website on the Foundation’s home page. (https://www.wolves.co.uk/foundation/).