The noise rolled around Molineux like Spring thunder.
“Deano, Deano, Deano”
It wasn’t a lament for a life, cut tragically short.
It merged into spontaneous applause.
It was a celebration of someone who meant more than you’d think.
The football world contracts when there is a death in the family.
The passing of Dean Richards, on Saturday morning, cut across tribal loyalties.
He was only 36, and leaves two young sons, Rio and Jayden.
His clubs – Bradford, Southampton, Wolves and Tottenham – paid their respects.
But the loss of the former England Under 21 defender, to long term illness, was an acutely personal experience.
Three former teammates, Robbie Keane, Don Goodman and Matt Murray, had planned to visit him in a Leeds hospice on Sunday.
All had their own memories.
Murray had the same size feet, and Richards gave him trainers, from his sponsors.
Fans are no different. They keep freeze frame images of players.
In their minds eye, they are forever young.
That’s why next Sunday’s match, between Wolves and Spurs, will be the most poignant of occasions.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy realised the emptiness of his team’s highest ever Premier League win, 4-0 against Blackpool.
“Forget football” he said,
“I can’t tell you how sad I feel for Deano and his family.
“It is just devastating.”
Football, more important than life and death?
Don’t be silly.