Played for both: The best who have represented Oldham Athletic and Wolverhampton Wanderers

By Matthew Lees

Oldham Athletic kick off their FA Cup campaign on Saturday against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

With Wolves full-back Scott Golbourne returning to Boundary Park MM has taken a look through the archives to choose the top five players who have represented both Latics and Wolves.

5. Craig Davies (Striker) Wolves August 2006-June 2007 Oldham June 2007-January 2009

Feeling homesick while playing for Italian side Hella Verona, Davies moved to Wolves on a season-long loan. In 23 appearances he failed to score a league goal but scored twice in the FA Cup.

Ironically these came against Oldham in their two FA Cup Third Round clashes which earned the Welshman moved to Boundary Park the following summer after Wolves decided against signing him permanently. After moving for an undisclosed fee he scored 10 goals in 44 appearances. The 27-year-old is now playing for Championship side Bolton Wanderers.

4. Craig Fleming (Defender) Oldham August 1991- June 1997 Wolves January 2007

Signed in the summer of 1991 from Halifax Town, as a 19-year-old, the centre back spent six years at Boundary Park. This included three seasons of top-flight football in which he was labelled by Sir Alex Ferguson as ‘the best man-to-man marker in the country.’ He became Latics captain in 1997 but left shortly afterwards due to relegation from Division One (The Championship) and signed for Norwich City, costing £600,000.

Fleming had a one month loan spell at Wolves in January 2007 which included just one appearance against Cardiff City. Currently director of Football at Lowestoft Town FC.

3. Ian Greaves (Full back) Oldham (Player) 1961-1963, Wolves (Manager) February 1982-August 1982

Born in Oldham, he finished his playing career at Boundary Park. One of the ‘Busby Babes,’ he started out at Manchester United where he won a League title and a FA Cup runners-up medal. Injuries forced the full-back to drop down the divisions and after a short spell at Lincoln City he played 22 times for his hometown team.

After retiring in 1963, Greaves became a manager in 1968, taking the reins at Huddersfield Town where he spent six years. Another six followed at Bolton Wanderers and an 18-month spell at Oxford United before he took charge at Molineux. Taking over the club in February 1982 he was unable to prevent Wolves dropping out of the First Division. With only five wins from his 20 games he was replaced as a new regime sought a change in direction following relegation.

He died on January 2, 2009.

 2. Gunnar Halle (Forward/Midfielder/Full back)Oldham December 1990-December 1996 Wolves March 2002

The Norwegian moved to Oldham, originally on trial in the winter of 1990, before signing in February 1991 for a fee of £250,000 to start an 11 year career in English football. He began his career as a forward, later switching to midfield then full back. Often utilised by Latics as a  right back he played 212 times over six years and became one of their finest ever foreign imports, even playing twice in World Cup 1994.

He concluded his stay in England, after moves to Leeds United and Bradford City, with a loan spell at Wolves in March 2002 with 7 appearances. Currently the assistant manager of Strommen IF in Norway.

1. Denis Irwin (Full back) Oldham May 1986-June 1990 Wolves July 2002-June 2004

Comfortable in either full back position the Irishman, best known for his 12-year stint at Manchester United, moved to Oldham on a free transfer from Leeds United in 1986. He made 167 appearances, scoring 4 goals, and despite losing in the inaugural 1986/87 play-offs helped Second Division Latics reach the semi-final of the FA Cup and League Cup final in 1990.

This successful season saw him move to Old Trafford for just £625,000. After 368 appearances, which included 22 goals, he racked up seven Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup, one Champions League and a Cup Winner’s Cup. He moved to Wolves on a free at the end of the 2001-02 campaign and won promotion to the Premier League the following season. Aged 38, he retired at the end of the 2003-04 season after Wolves’ relegation back to the First Division (Championship).

Currently working for MUTV, he won 56 international caps for Ireland – including two at World Cup 1994 – and was recently labelled by Sir Alex as the first name on his greatest team ever.

The others:

Scott Golbourne (Left back) Oldham January 2009-March 2009 Wolves August 2013-present

Leon Clarke (Striker) Wolves 2003-January 2007 Oldham March 2007-May 2007

William Boswell (Inside forward) Wolves May 1925-November 1927 Oldham January 1932-April 1932

Kenneth Knighton (Full back/Midfielder) Wolves July 1960-November 1966 Oldham November 1966-December 1967

Scott McGarvey (Forward) Wolves March 1984-May 1984 Oldham May 1989-September 1990

George Waddell (Half back) Oldham July 1922-October 1922 Wolves November 1923-June 1924

Daniel Jones (Left back/Left wing) Wolves January 2005-June 2010 Oldham October 2008-January 2008 & February 2008-June 2008

Jeffrey Wealands (Goalkeeper) Wolves June 1968-March 1972 Oldham March 1984

Image courtesy of Official Wolves via YouTube, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.

Related Articles