Emlyn HUGHES OBE (1947-2004)

Emlyn Hughes This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 535
  • Subject No: 532
  • Broadcast date: Wed 27 Feb 1980
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Tue 26 Feb 1980
  • Venue: Molineux Gymnasium, Wolverhampton
  • Series: 20
  • Edition: 14
  • Code name: Horse

on the guest list...

  • Bob Paisley
  • John Barnwell
  • Jack Taylor
  • members of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC team
  • members of Liverpool FC team
  • Kenny Dalglish
  • Billy Wright
  • Joe Mercer
  • Barbara - wife
  • Emma - daughter
  • Anne - mother
  • Gareth Edwards
  • John Toshack
  • Gareth - brother
  • David - brother
  • Margaret - sister-in-law
  • Karen - niece
  • Janet - niece
  • Christine - niece
  • Joe Humphreys
  • Ray Maguire
  • George Best
  • Bill Shankly
  • Hughie Fisher
  • Mike Smith
  • Emlyn - son
  • Red Rum - horse
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Kevin Keegan
  • Ginger McCain
  • Jonjo O'Neill

production team...

  • Researcher: John Graham
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Paul Stewart Laing, Terry Yarwood, Robert Reed
  • Producer: Jack Crawshaw
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...
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Screenshots of Emlyn Hughes This Is Your Life

Emlyn Hughes biography

Phil Thompson recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, Emlyn Hughes: A Tribute to Crazy Horse...

Another special moment for Emlyn Hughes during his stint at Wolves took place in the weeks before their League Cup victory. Emlyn was the subject of a This is Your Life television programme.

The surprised Wolves skipper was presented with the famous red book after their home game against Liverpool, which they won 1-0.

The Liverpool team were all in on it and agreed to stay behind after the game to pay their own tribute to the former Anfield great.

Bill Shankly travelled to the Midlands for the programme, and gave the viewers the line about being afraid to go back to Blackpool after paying £65,000 for the teenage Hughes in case they locked him up for daylight robbery!

wolvesheroes.com 21 July 2017

Booked - And Emlyn Was Delighted!

How Hughes Stepped Out Of One Spotlight And Into Another

Billy Wright was in on it. So, too, Bob Paisley, Bill Shankly, Jack Taylor and most of John Barnwell's upwardly mobile, Wembley-bound squad. But, in keeping with the essential element of surprise, the main man was in the dark until the last dramatic moment.

Tuesday, February 26, 1980 at Molineux was about more than Wolves' first League victory for seven seasons over a Liverpool side enjoying their years of near-invincibility.

It was also the night a beaming home skipper had the icing spread over his cake by the famous tones of Eamonn Andrews.

"Emlyn Hughes, of England, Liverpool and Wolves.... This is Your Life."

Never before in its 12-year history had makers Thames TV recorded this must-see programme outside London. It was also by far the biggest studio audience - 1,000 fans, relatives, friends, team-mates and opponents saw to that. [Bigredbook.info editor: Since ITV relaunched This Is Your Life in 1969, the programme had been recorded outside London on at least 20 occasions!]

The 'ambushing' of the heroic defender was planned for several months but the fact he had just been named man of the match by sponsors Staffordshire Building Society meant the evening could have gone no better.

No matter which side Emlyn was on, Wolves had not beaten Liverpool since a Hughes own goal helped them to a 2-1 home success in 1972-73. Furthermore, they had scored only once against them since Steve Kindon's memorable goal in vain on the infamous title decider/relegation night of April 1976 and had been beaten 3-0 at Anfield in the November of 1979-80.

This inspirational Barrow boy had experienced mixed feelings that afternoon; pride at his wonderful, prolonged reception from The Kop but deflation at the result against a team who were on the way to retaining their League title.

Almost four months later, he had no inkling of what was in store and said when the penny dropped: "It's just great, unbelievable".

Such was the need for secrecy that Thames bosses, with the help of Billy Wright at ATV in Birmingham, passed off the presence of the TV lorries in Molineeux's car park by saying they were for the staging of a sports forum in the huge Social Club next door.

Billy was purported to be the main attraction at that but was instead busy ensuring that as few people as possible knew that not only had a large stage been built inside but also various camera positions raised.

"The first I knew about it was when an internal memo dropped on my desk," said ATV sports chief Gary Newbon. "Billy swore me to secrecy and explained what was happening."

The scene was set even more perfectly as John Richards hit the only goal, turning inside Phil Thompson following a long diagonal ball from Peter Daniel, baring down on the North Bank end and driving past Ray Clemence in the 71st minute. Wouldn't you just know it... Hughes then headed off the line from David Fairclough in the dying minutes, having earlier cleared when Kenny Dalglish followed Alan Kennedy in hitting Paul Bradshaw's woodwork.

Two minutes before the end, referee Eric Read of Bristol gave a pre-arranged signal towards the tunnel area, where Eamonn Andrews was lurking and readying himself with his famous red book and a microphone plugged into the loudspeaker system, so the crowd of nearly 37,000 could be part of the moment.

As the final whistle blew on an epic victory, Newbon and commercial manager Taylor struggled to locate Hughes among the back-slappers but eventually steered him towards what he thought was going to be a chat with Billy, only for the Irish presenter to step in and utter his famous words.

'King Emlyn is crowned with blarney,' announced the Express & Star the following night, the story coupled on the front page with a photo of the two men, their faces beaming.

Newbon had a weekly column in the paper at the time and used it to reveal, among other things, that the referee's room was used to brief the subject on what was happening.

While he showered and floated only gently back towards earth, the audience filed into a landmark building that is no longer a feature of the Wolverhampton landscape.

It was the first time a This Is Your Life programme had been recorded with all those present knowing (albeit for only an hour or so) who the subject was going to be. Tickets were hurriedly allocated around fans who thought they were about to head for home and journalists in the press box were handed passes. Wolves Heroes' two co-owners were in attendance for a close-up of proceedings.

Among those in our midst were George Best, Joe Mercer, Gareth Edwards, John Toshack, Kevin Keegan, Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and various members of the beaten Liverpool side, although we were told by Newbon that Clemence and Phil Neal did not stay.

For the inner circle, it had all been about preventing the cat being let out of the bag. Suddenly, a horse had been let out of its box, though... Red Rum was also there, with Jonjo O'Neill on his back. Gee! What time did we get home that night?

The programme went out, as usual, at 7pm on the Wednesday - between Crossroads and Coronation Street. With all respect to Billy, we all agreed it had been a step up from a sports forum. And we still had the League Cup final to come, two and a half weeks later.

wolvesheroes.com unknown date

Back-Up Of The Highest Order

Supporting Roles For Dynamic Duo

Forty-one years apart... two inspirational Wolves defenders and skippers, one common European Championship link.

In Italy in the summer of 1980, Emlyn Hughes was part of Ron Greenwood's England squad without kicking a ball in any of the games against Belgium, the host nation and Spain.

Now, another man with strong Merseyside and even Anfield connections, Conor Coady, appears destined to return to Molineux from the same tournament without making it as far as the pitch... apart from to belt out Sweet Caroline the other night, that is!

Similarly, Ron Flowers was unused in England's 1966 World Cup campaign but Euro 2020 hasn't passed without one or two extremely positive name-checks from Gareth Southgate and the England coaching team for the present-day leader. He has, as we would all expect, been the perfect squad man; supportive, enthusiastic and very low maintenance.

We hope and trust he will have many further opportunities to bring those qualities to bear at this level in the coming seasons.

And a look at a film kindly donated to Wolves Heroes by Pattingham-based supporter Paul Davies during lockdown has reminded us of the galvanising effect Hughes also had on dressing rooms at club and international level.

For the first time in more than 40 years, we have just watched the video of when the 1980 League Cup winning captain followed in the footsteps of the likes of Billy Wright and Derek Dougan and appeared on ITV's This Is Your Life.

Wolves Heroes' co-owners John Richards and David Instone were both in the capacity audience, as was Billy, when the programme was recorded in the Molineux Social Club an hour after Hughes had been approached by Eamonn Andrews as he left the pitch at the end of Wolves' 1-0 home win against his former club Liverpool on February 26, 1980.

The film, which went out the following night - just over a fortnight before the defeat of Nottingham Forest at Wembley - shows the show's genial long-time host loitering in the players' tunnel with his famous red book during the last moments before the whistle blows. Then commercial manager Jack Taylor appears at pitch-side and ensures the duo's paths cross as planned. Was that also the club's former ticket office manager Mel Bird joining in the back-slapping?

Hughes was clearly delighted to be chosen and the words 'I can't believe it, it's amazing' were heard more than once. The smile never left his face during the 30 minutes next door as a stream of guests appeared on stage to honour him. Guests from the bluechip end of the spectrum, no less.

With Mel Eves, Kenny Hibbitt and coach Ian Ross in shot behind him, Hughes was greeted by his family, Joe Mercer, Bill Shankly, John Toshack, George Best, rugby union star Gareth Edwards and, at the incredible climax, by the appearance of Grand National triple winner Red Rum, with whom he had earlier been pictured running on the sands near Southport.

The cameras also picked out Bob Paisley, sat next to Wolves boss John Barnwell, and a host of that night's defeated Liverpool stars including Kenny Dalglish. A recorded tribute from Kevin Keegan was also played.

Hughes ended his career with 62 caps, the last three of which were won while he was at Molineux, and, was due at Buckingham Palace soon after recording to receive the OBE.

Although current skipper Coady will be hard pressed to challenge that number, he is at the forefront of those we hope might end the long wait to have a Wolves player on the pitch for England at a European Championship finals.

Series 20 subjects

Pat Seed | Fred Trueman | Noel Barber | Charles Aznavour | Eric Sykes | Andrew Sachs | Gerald Harper | Terry Griffiths
Paddie O'Neil | George Martin | Geoff Capes | Roy Kinnear | Nyree Dawn Porter | Emlyn Hughes | Stewart Granger
Clare Francis | Jilly Cooper | Robin Cousins | Brian Bevan | Bill Beaumont | Mike Tetley
Alan Minter | Nat Jackley | Cathleen Nesbitt | Michael Aspel | Clive Lloyd