1953–54 Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. season

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Wolverhampton Wanderers
1953–54 season
Chairman Jimmy Baker
Manager Stan Cullis
First Division 1st (1st title)
FA Cup 3rd Round
Top goalscorer League: Dennis Wilshaw (25)
All: Dennis Wilshaw (26)
Highest home attendance 56,550 (vs West Bromwich, 14 November 1953)
Lowest home attendance 19,617 (vs Bolton Wanderers, 23 March 1954)
Average home league attendance 34,598 (league only)
Home colours
Third colours

The 1953–54 season was the 55th season of competitive league football in the history of English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers. They played in the First Division, then the highest level of English football.

The season was a major success as the team won the League championship for the first time in their history, pipping local rivals West Bromwich Albion. Winning the title was a breakthrough for the club after three times previously finishing runners-up.

Season review[edit]

After an opening day mauling away at Burnley, the team found its feet and enjoyed a run of five successive wins to reach second place. The table was led by their Black Country rivals West Bromwich Albion. Both teams kept up a relentless pace before Christmas, with Wolves producing a run that brought 31 points out of a possible 36, including defeating West Brom 1–0. At the halfway mark only Burnley and newly promoted Huddersfield Town were managing to keep pace with the top two.

Defeat in their Christmas fixture against Aston Villa lost Wolves the top spot they had gained for the first time a week earlier. The start of 1954 brought an instant exit from the FA Cup at the hands of fellow Midlanders Birmingham City, but also saw them return to the top of the table. A run of three defeats in four though – including the end of their 11 game unbeaten away record (a club record) – allowed West Brom to regain top spot.

While March saw Wolves suffer further defeats, their main rival's form proved even worse. A second Black Country derby victory for Wolves against them in early April brought them level on points at the summit, second only on goal average with only five games remaining. Wolves then claimed top spot for the first time since early January the following week after thrashing Charlton 5–0.

The Easter period proved the pivotal twist in the title race. A 4–0 thumping of Huddersfield gave Wolves' goal average a further boost, while West Brom were held to a draw by Aston Villa. As was then traditional, the fixtures were reversed the following day, with decisive results. Although both title chasers lost, West Brom's 1–6 hammering at Villa Park left their goal average far short of Wolves' with just a single game to play.

Only a huge loss for Wolves coupled with a big win for Albion could alter the outcome of the championship on the final day. In the event, neither happened, Albion went down to defeat at Portsmouth, while Wolves' 2–0 victory over Tottenham confirmed their first ever league championship.

Results[edit]

Football League First Division[edit]

A total of 22 teams competed in the First Division in the 1953–54 season. Each team would play every other team twice, once at their stadium, and once at the opposition's. Two points were awarded to teams for each win, one point per draw, and none for defeats.

Final table
Pos Club Pld W D L F A GA Pts
1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 25 7 10 96 56 1.714 57
2 West Bromwich Albion 42 22 9 11 86 63 1.365 53
3 Huddersfield Town 42 20 11 11 78 61 1.279 51
Results by round
Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
Result L W L W W W W W D D W D W W D W D W W W W L W L W W L L W L W W L W D L W W D W L W
Position 15 12 15 9 5 4 3 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1

FA Cup[edit]

As a First Division team, Wolves entered the competition at the third round stage. The draw for this round was made on 14 December 1953.

Players[edit]

Pos. Nationality Player Football League FA Cup Total Goal
1  England Nigel Sims, Nigel Sims 8 1 9 0
2  England Jack Short, Jack Short 26 1 27 0
3  England Roy Pritchard, Roy Pritchard 27 1 28 0
4  England Bill Slater (footballer), Bill Slater (footballer) 39 1 40 2
5  England Bill Shorthouse, Bill Shorthouse 40 1 41 0
6  England Billy Wright, Billy Wright (c) 39 1 40 0
7  England Johnny Hancocks, Johnny Hancocks 42 1 43 24
8  England Ronnie Stockin, Ronnie Stockin 6 0 6 0
9  England Roy Swinbourne, Roy Swinbourne 40 1 41 24
10  England Dennis Wilshaw, Dennis Wilshaw 39 1 40 26
11  England Jimmy Mullen, Jimmy Mullen 38 1 39 7
12  England Peter Broadbent, Peter Broadbent 36 1 37 12
13  England Bert Williams, Bert Williams 34 0 34 0
14  England Len Gibbons, Len Gibbons 1 0 1 0
15  England Norman Deeley, Norman Deeley 6 0 6 0
16  England Ray Chatham, Ray Chatham 1 0 1 0
17  Scotland Bill Baxter, Bill Baxter 5 0 5 0
18  England Ron Flowers, Ron Flowers 15 0 15 0
19  England Les Smith, Les Smith 4 0 4 1
20  England Bill Gutteridge, Bill Gutteridge 2 0 2 0
21  South Africa Eddie Stuart, Eddie Stuart 12 0 12 0
22  England Eddie Clamp, Eddie Clamp 2 0 2 0

Top scorer[edit]

P. Nationality Player Position Football League FA Cup Total
1  England Dennis Wilshaw Forward 25 1 26
2  England Johnny Hancocks Forward 24 0 24
3  England Roy Swinbourne Forward 24 0 24
4  England Peter Broadbent Midfielder 12 0 12
5  England Jimmy Mullen Midfielder 7 0 7

Most appearances[edit]

P. Nationality Player Position Football League FA Cup Total
1  England Johnny Hancocks Forward 42 1 43
2  England Bill Shorthouse Defender 40 1 41
3  England Roy Swinbourne Forward 40 1 41
4  England Bill Slater Defender 39 1 40
5  England Dennis Wilshaw Forward 39 1 40

Transfers[edit]

In[edit]

Date Player From
November 1953 Scotland Bill Baxter Aston Villa

Out[edit]

Date Player To
January 1954 England Ray Chatham Notts County