Wednesday 7th February. Sat in a pub with my lad Josh having a bite to eat ahead of his football training that night, I decided to share my gift with Wolves fans via social media. The gift my wife Louise had painted me of Ruben Neves, for me the most gifted Wolves player of my generation (and that's saying something given how much of a hero Steve Bull was for me growing up). I am a huge advocate of Louise's artwork but, other than a painting of Josh when he was a mascot back in 2016, this was the first time I had seen her splash style applied to the old gold & black of Wolves! Of course, I was going to want to share this with the world!
What I/we had no idea of was the level of response that would follow! The closest I will ever experience I'm guessing to one of my post's going viral! Thousands of reactions/comments from the Twitter community and from members of the Wolves-News page on Facebook. As Louise and I sat down with a coffee after the school drop off the next morning (we both work from home), trying to digest what had just happened, we felt compelled to react. That was when things changed, when the idea ignited! How about painting a collection of original artworks capturing what has been one of the most memorable seasons in Wolves' recent history. We could then auction these off and play our part in the incredible 'Team Kemes' movement amongst Wolves fans' that has raised tens of thousands for Cure Leukaemia since news of Carl's diagnosis was shared in July 2017. To make Louise's art accessible to the fans, whose incredible response had ultimately prompted this idea, we could also make prints available. We loved the idea and thankfully club photographer Sam Bagnall, a long-term supporter of the Cure Leukaemia charity, did too. Louise & I were blown away by his open-handed approach and also by his stunning collection of images that have captured so many key 'moments' from this season.
Louise and I love the fact that this project has brought together two of our biggest passions in life; for me Wolves and for her art. The last few weeks have been somewhat full-on to say the least, particularly with Josh and Amy (our 12 and 9 year olds) in the mix, but we are absolutely loving this journey. We are so grateful (there are no words really) for the encouragement from fans on Twitter and the Wolves-News page on Facebook; this continues to drive Louise on and makes a huge difference to me as I look to play my part in making this all happen too. I am immensely proud of Louise for her courage in stepping out into unfamiliar territory, where critics are unlikely to be gentle, and for me producing her very best work to date in the process.
Everything within me hopes that this is just the beginning...