Back to Work


The Wolves team got back together for training at Molineux for the 1947-48 season more determined than ever and Bert describes Joe Gardiner, front right, as one of the nicest men you could ever wish to meet.  Joe had a football bladder cut in half to keep his sponge in, to keep it wet, hence the “magic sponge” was born.  The season started full of optimism and everybody believed they could win the first division.  The press came along to Molineux to watch training.  As the training progressed Bert was asked by the press how many shots he could save.  Four players then took shots simultaneously and Bert saved two, one with his hands and one with his nose.

Four simultaneous shots, two saved, one with the hands and one with the nose

Bert always focused on his agility in training and preparing for a match, never using weights.

Bert is seen here in an International training game and it was quite common to use
school playing fields where the children could watch and be excited by the spectacle

Some Wolves players are discussing the merits of a white ball that would soon be used in the floodlit games that became a famous feature of Wolves’ history. 
For league games brown balls were used and when they got wet they were very heavy and this was the only time that Bert would wear gloves.

Previously I have shown Bert’s first contract and how his wages increased over the years.  In May 1947 Wolves again retained his services, as was their automatic right, and his new wages were to be £12 per week during the playing season and £10 per week in the close season.  He stayed on this wage for some time but always said what a privilege it was to make others happy playing the game that he loved.

Bert’s new contract paying him £12 per week

After five years’ service with Wolves the players qualified for a bonus of £650, a considerable amount of money at the time, Bert can be seen at the end of the line waiting to pick up his first 5-year bonus

This payment was given purely at the discretion of the club and not every club was as generous as Wolves.  In November 1945 Bert had picked up a benefit cheque for £300 from Walsall, the maximum allowed by the Football League at the time.  Despite their high scoring abilities 1947-48 proved to be an inconsistent season and Wolves finished 5th.  Ted Vizard left the club and his assistant, Stan Cullis, took over in 1948-49 and he led the team to 6th place in the league but the FA Cup was a different story.

© Soccer Nostalgia

Design: David Ainsworth