Focus On; Derek Dougan

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Wolves enjoyed an excellent start to the 1969–70 season, winning seven of their opening eight games, but fell away to a mid-table finish after the shock retirement of 24-year old forward Peter Knowles, who left the game to become a full-time Jehovah’s Witness volunteer. Dougan had a poor season, limited to just ten goals in 33 games due to injuries and an eight-week suspension, then the longest ban of the post-war era, for verbally abusing a linesman in a home defeat to Everton.[44][45] The sending off by referee Keith Walker caused upheaval in the stands, occasioning the injury of 84 people. In the return fixture at Goodison Park, he suffered a clash of heads with full-back Keith Newton and had to undergo major re-constructive surgery and was out of action for two months.[47] McGarry did not speak to Dougan during his two-month absence, but Dougan decided against issuing a transfer request as he did not want to further his reputation as a journeyman player.

Wolves finished fourth in the 1970–71 season, with Dougan claiming 12 goals from 25 league games as he was rotated throughout the campaign with Hugh Curran and Bobby Gould.[48] Wolves also won the inaugural Texaco Cup after beating Heart of Midlothian 3–2 on aggregate in the final. The following season, he formed an understanding with John Richards that teammate Derek Parkin described as the “best partnership in Europe”, which helped to boost Dougan’s scoring tally and make Wolves one of the top teams in the country during the early 1970s. They qualified for the UEFA Cup, and Dougan scored a hat-trick in a first round 7–1 aggregate victory over Portuguese side Académica.[50] Wolves then progressed past Dutch side Den Haag by the same score, beat East German side Carl Zeiss Jena 4–0 on aggregate, and overcome Italian giants Juventus 3–2 on aggregate before knocking out Ferencváro of Hungary 4–3 on aggregate to reach the final.[51] There they lost 3–2 on aggregate to fellow English side Tottenham Hotspur, “Spurs” goalkeeper Pat Jennings putting in a number of saves at White Hart Lane to deny Dougan and Richards from levelling the tie after the first leg at Molineux ended in a 2–1 defeat. Wolves finished ninth in the league in the 1971–72 season, but managed to beat Leeds United on the final day of the season to prevent them from reaching league champions Derby County’s point tally, Dougan scoring his 24th goal of the season to secure a 2–1 win at Molineux.

He scored 19 goals in 51 appearances in the 1972–73 campaign, helping the club to a fifth-place league finish and to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and League Cup. They went on to beat Arsenal 3–1 at Highbury in the FA Cup third-place play-off match, which was the penultimate match of an unsuccessful five-year experiment. He scored 15 goals in 50 appearances in the 1973–74 season, and helped Wolves to finally win a trophy. They beat Halifax Town, Tranmere Rovers (after a replay), Exeter City, Liverpool, and Norwich City to reach the League Cup final. They beat Manchester City 2–1 in the final to secure the club’s first trophy in 14 years. Dougan struggled with back injuries in the 1974–75 campaign, and after being limited to just six appearances throughout the season he announced his retirement in 1975. He was granted a testimonial game against a Don Revie International XI in October 1975, which ended in a 0–0 draw.


  • Full Name: Alexander Derek Dougan
  • Position: Forward
  • Date of Birth: 20.01.1938
  • Birthplace: Belfast
  • Nation: Northern Ireland
    • Full Caps: 43
  • Major League Career
    • 1957-59, Portsmouth (33/9)
    • 1959-61, Blackburn Rovers (59/26)
    • 1961-63, Aston Villa (51/19)
    • 1963-65, Peterborough United (77/38)
    • 1965-67, Leicester City (68/35)
    • 1967-75, Wolverhampton Wanderers (258/95)
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