Survival more important than derby win says Wolves' skipper Karl Henry
Feb 20 2011 by Bill Howell, Sunday Mercury
BOYHOOD fan Karl Henry leads Wolves out at Albion today looking to end 15 years of hurt at The Hawthorns – but says survival beats bragging rights.
Though he cringes at the thought of it, Henry says even a defeat at Albion would be acceptable as long as Wolves stayed up.
“For me I want to stay in this league – most of the fans would say the same,” he insisted.
“It is more important to stay in this league than it is to beat West Bromwich Albion. However the two completely coincide and we need to beat them in order for us to kick on and stay up. The two go hand in hand I’m afraid.”
Henry says Second Season Syndrome has been alive and kicking for bottom club Wolves this season.
And beating the drop this time would beat last season’s heroic effort.
“I think it is so much bigger than last season,” he said.
“People talk about the Second Season Syndrome. I don’t think that we’ve taken our foot off the gas this season at all at any stage.
“Maybe teams show you a bit more respect because you are not a new boy any more. The teams we maybe turned over last year have made it more difficult.
“They have realised that we have got a bit more about us. Also the teams that have come up this year are better sides. Newcastle and West Brom are good sides.
“It is a tougher league than it was last season so staying up this year would be fantastic, having been in the position that we have been in all season as well.
“To stay up would be a great achievement.
“We’ve got a real good run in as well. We’re aware of that and we’re also aware that we haven’t really done well against the teams around us, we’ve not done well enough so far.
“We’ve got to put that right. We’ve got a great opportunity and everyone’s confident.”
Henry says Wolves go into the game in buoyant mood despite an away record that makes pretty grim reading.
“It’s going to be a huge game. We are desperate for points and I think it is going to be a great game for us,” said Henry.
“I’m sure they’ll be saying the same, having taken five points from ten games.
“I’m not afraid to say both teams are struggling at the moment. It’s a definite six-pointer.”
But Wolves have already gotten the better of Roy Hodgson at Anfield this season and Henry is convinced they can do it again.
“Why not? Liverpool are a good side and played a little bit differently under Roy Hodgson.
“It was a shock result that night – we pulled it out the bag and the lads did tremendously well but this will be a completely different game.
“West Brom are a good side, good going forward. Maybe they’ve leaked more goals than they’d have liked. It is set out for an attacking display from both teams. Hopefully there’ll be a lot of goals for our side and none for them! It will be a great game, everyone’s really looking forward to it.”
Had Mick McCarthy not made a late call over four years ago Henry would be more than likely have been preparing to face Ipswich at Loftus Road on Tuesday than revelling in the cauldron of a Black Country tussle.
The tough-tackling midfielder allowed his contract to run out at Stoke City in 2006 and had agreed to sign for Queens Park Rangers.
“I turned down an offer for 12 months at Stoke and could have gone to QPR where I had agreed a deal,” he said.
“That was in the pipeline but I ended up joining Wolves.”
Then came the news of his England provisional squad call up a fortnight ago.
“To come from not really playing at Stoke to playing every week here and being involved with England is a real achievement for myself and I’m absolutely delighted with it.
“More importantly, and I know it is a cliché, but I am so concerned with us at the moment and staying up. That is the only thing that is in the forefront of my mind – us staying in this league.”
Henry says today’s game beats even the 2007 play-off clash between to two for importance.
“The play off semi-finals were huge but this is bigger,” he said. “I think maybe we over achieved that season. We did so well and the gaffer had not long been in. We got to the play-offs and hadn’t got a huge squad at the time.
“We did fantastically well to get there. Now it is a different story. We are here on merit. We are two evenly matched sides and I think it will be a fantastic game. It’s one I’m really looking forward to.”
EIGHT YEARS AGO TODAY
Ron Springett-From William Parnell To Wembley
Ron Springett was born in Fulham in 1935 and was one of six children. He grew up in Sands End in William Parnell House- a block of flats housing many large and deprived families. He went on to play in goal for Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday and England. He was first choice goalkeeper in the 1962 World Cup in South America but lost his place to Gordon Banks in the victorious 1966 finals in England. Springett recently received a winner's medal following a public campaign for all 1966 squad members to be recognised.
Portrait of Ron Springett and in action at White Hart Lane against Spurs
I contacted Ron in 2007 via his daughter Terry, an administrator at QPR, and asked him about his childhood and how he became a professional footballer.
FC: What do you remember about William Parnell House?
RS: We lived in a in a three bedroom flat in a five storey block - parents, three boys and three girls. There were no lifts. We had open fires so the coalmen had to carry their sacks up the stairs. Milk was delivered by horse and cart. There were two large courtyards used by the kids for football and other games. There were many large families on the estate but there was no trouble between neighbours. Collections were made from each flat for funerals.
FC; What School did you go to and were you academic?
RS: I was evacuated during the War years but then went to Ackmar Road School near Eelbrook Common.I was not very academic at school and thought more about football. I played truant a few times when Chelsea were playing in the afternoon and got caned for it -six of the best!
FC: How were you 'discovered'?
RS: I left School to work at Shell Mex as a fitter's mate and played football during the lunch hour. My fitter always thought I looked good and wrote to Fulham and QPR asking them to give me a trial. Fulham rejected me as being too short but eventually after a couple of trial games QPR signed me.
FC: Did you have to take a part-time job in your early days as a professional footballer?
RS: No, we worked as ground staff at QPR, cleaning boots, dressing rooms and sweeping stands and terracing- all for a very small wage. I had to do two years National Service between the age of 18 and 20, including one year in Egypt during the Suez Crisis.
FC: What was your most memorable moment as as a professional footballer?
RS: Saving a penalty in my first England match. I was also part of the 1966 World Cup Squad.
FC: What was your last match as a Pro?
RS: QPR v West Bromich Albion 26th December 1968.
Ron Springett Career Details
Signed by Queens Park Rangers in 1953. Sold to Sheffield Wednesday for £10,000 in 1958. He made 345 league appearances at Hillsborough. The Club allowed him to continue living in London. Trained with QPR.
England debut in 2-1 win over Northern Ireland at Wembley on 18th November 1959. He saved a penalty. Gained 33 England caps. Helped England to get to the quarter finals in the 1962 World Cup in Chile- the team losing out to eventual winners Brazil. His last England game was the 6-1 friendly defeat of Norway shortly before the 1966 World Cup Finals. Springett was a non playing squad member during the World Cup having lost his place to Gordon Banks. He recently learnt that all squad members of that victorious winning side were to receive medals.
Springett in Sheffield Wednesday colours (left) and on his England debut v Northern Ireland
Springett was sold back to QPR in 1967 in a part-exchange deal which took his younger brother Peter to Sheffield. He made 140 League and Cup appearances during his two spells at the West London Club.
I also reproduce an article written by Ron Springett and published in an old Charles Buchan Football Annual*, which my parents often used to buy their football crazy son for Christmas.
Now read more about the Springett family in the William Parnell House section of Where We Lived and what former W.P.H. resident John Warren has written about them.
All photographs on this page are used courtesy of IPC Specialist & Professional Press Ltd -publishers of Charles Buchan Football Publications.
Read more: http://qprreport.proboards.com/thread/5292/qprs-england-goalkeeper-turns#ixzz2ZrvVUWRu