Even now, almost ten years on, it remains one of the most significant moments of Wolves’ recent history.

And yet, it only happened during a warm-up. And only lasted for a few seconds.

Dateline August 3rd, 2013.  The first game of the League One season away at Preston.

It came after a couple of seriously difficult years for Wolves.

Double relegations, four different managers in two seasons having had just one for the previous five-and-a-half, and an increasingly bitter acrimony between club and supporter base that had prompted an anger-fuelled pitch invasion for the final home game of the campaign.

Wolves had, fairly quickly, become a broken club.  And Head Coach Kenny Jackett was the man appointed to try and fix it.

Alongside some astute signings, during pre-season Jackett set about building bridges.

He spent two hours on a sweltering day meeting a deluge of interview requests on his day of unveiling, he met fans in the club’s Museum to discover their thoughts and feelings, and the team took an early training run through the City Centre to the surprise of morning commuters.

It felt like progress had been made, but the true temperature couldn’t be taken until the first real test, the opening day of the League One season.

Towards the end of the warm-up, assistant head coach Joe Gallen, and captain Sam Ricketts, both also summer arrivals, led the team towards the 5,000 Wolves fans packed into the Bill Shankly Stand at Deepdale.  And, together, they applauded.

The response was both immediate and magnificent.  A huge and almighty roar, the sort of noise which prompted journalists in the press box to immediately look up from their laptops and wonder what on earth was going on.  One which the newest Premier League boss Rob Edwards, then on co-commentary duties who would later join the first team coaching set-up, open-mouthed in astonishment.   A noise which felt symbolic in turning a new page, consigning the pain of the previous years to the memory bank, and starting afresh.

For Gallen, who still holds so many special memories from his three years spent as Jackett’s assistant at Molineux, that was one of them.

“Kenny had spoken a lot about the club having lost its connection with the fans, and I remember telling me to make sure we thanked the supporters and acknowledged them any chance that we got,” Gallen recalls.

“That included at the end of every warm-up, and so, from Kenny’s idea, we also got Sam involved, and started it that day at Preston.

“I have to be honest, I did wonder what reaction we were going to get, because I knew how difficult things had become.

“And then that roar?  Wow.  To have 5,000 even there in the first place just backed up what I knew – that Wolves were a proper club.

“They had been struggling but for those fans to turn up in such numbers and make that noise in giving us their support?  It felt like a new dawn, without a doubt.”

Gallen, having worked so successfully and indeed enjoyably for Jackett during six happy years with Millwall, had been desperate to make the move to join him at Wolves.

It was the next step of a coaching journey which had begun very early – he had pretty much completed his qualifications by the age of 28.

Part of a strong West London footballing family – younger brothers Steve and Kevin have also always been involved in the game, the latter most prominently as a player – eldest sibling Joe was snapped up by Watford’s youth system at the age of ten.

But his own playing career as a striker, whilst taking in many different outposts including Exeter, Shamrock Rovers, Shrewsbury – helping them to the Third Division title – Dundalk and Stevenage, was destined to be curtailed by injury.

“During my playing career I had two broken legs, two broken arms – it might even have been three but I lost count – a broken toe and chronic hamstring problems,” says Gallen.

“In the end I was more concerned about trying to stay fit than my performance and it just wasn’t going to work.”

Even as a player, Gallen had always maintained a keen interest in the work of managers and coaches, but his first breakthrough after hanging up his boots, came about pretty much by chance.

With the family’s close links with QPR, a member of staff was visiting their house and took a call from a prospective Under-9s coach, at a time when Academies were being restructured, saying they didn’t want that particular role.

It was offered instead to Gallen, there and then, and he accepted.

Albeit not without a moment of humour when told the salary of ‘two-and-a-half’ and thought it was an extremely well paid job of £2,500 a week.  

It was actually £2,500…a year!

Well-paid it was not, but it was a way in, and Gallen, who would ultimately spend nine years at Loftus Road, progressed to become a coach at the higher age groups and then overall Head of Youth Development.

The challenges, however, shockingly as it turned out, were not confined only to events on the pitch. 

During an 18-month period in 2006 and 2007, promising 15-year-old protegee Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death outside his school, three other Academy players were involved in an incident where a young Vietnamese student was accidentally thrown under a train and killed at a tube station, and 19-year-old Ray Jones, already showing excellent signs in the Championship, died in a car crash.

Beyond comprehension for so much tragedy to affect one football club in such a short space of time.

Even all these years on, Gallen’s naturally jovial demeanour instantly disappears when thinking back to those dreadful days.

He pauses.  “It’s still hard to understand even now.

“I was still a very young coach and, to be honest, I had no idea how to act or what I should say.

“The media attention around it all was unbelievable and, in my role, I was put at the forefront of it.

“And of course, the main thing about it all was the awful sadness for the parents and all the family and friends.

“In a football sense, Kiyan was going to be a very good player and Ray – he was already doing really well in the Championship and would have gone on to be a superstar.

“But it wasn’t about football, it was the loss, just the worst possible thing that could have happened for those families.

“It’s still difficult to know what to say.”

It was a chain of tragic events which were far removed from football itself, and certainly added some perspective to Gallen’s already grounded personality.

It was a perspective probably needed when he was shown the door after almost a decade with QPR, seemingly as part of an overhaul of staff.

More pertinent on Gallen’s part however was the feeling that, being contracted to receive a five per cent of transfer fees received for Academy graduates – and having already done exactly that with Dean Parrett who had joined Spurs – he was becoming an unwanted expense.

Not least as he had been working with a certain Raheem Sterling, who he had helped to secure on a five-year contract.

Sterling progressed to become one of England’s finest and, later at Millwall, Gallen would also spend plenty of time on the training ground with Harry Kane, during one of the country’s now record men’s goalscorer early loan spells away from Tottenham.

“Working with Raheem at an early age, and then Harry later on, you just knew they were going to go on and become top players,” he recalls.

“From the first day when Raheem first turned up to play in a trial game, and scored a hat trick, you could see he had something special.

“He was the best player by a country mile, with the best balance, finishing with his left and right foot, taking players on – he just had it.

“He just turned up and was superior to every other player on the pitch, just like Ray Jones had been as well, and it left you thinking, just how that could happen, how could they be that good?

“With Harry at Millwall, when Kenny managed to bring him in on loan, I spent a lot of time with him on the training pitches because I often coached the forwards.

“He was brilliant in training and had a brilliant attitude, always staying out to do extras, always wanting to practice.

“He was very focused, single-minded, down to earth but also ruthless, he has definitely earned everything he has gone on to achieve in the game.”

Gallen had made the move to Millwall, after a short spell as Paul Tisdale’s assistant at Exeter after leaving Loftus Road, and was ultimately asked by Jackett to become his right hand man.

Jackett had been his youth team coach as a player at Watford for a short while, and they had met again when he was assistant at QPR when Gallen was working within the youth set-up.

“If truth be told, I was surprised when Kenny asked me, as I thought there would be a lot of others to ask, but obviously I am really glad that he did,” is a very modest Gallen analysis.

It was the start of a partnership which would stretch for approximately 15 years, with considerable success, particularly at Millwall, where they recovered from losing a League One play-off final to win one in 2009/10, emerging from a division which also featured Norwich, Leeds, Southampton and Brighton.

There followed a top half Championship finish, and later an FA Cup semi-final, before Jackett decided it was time to move on, and, for a club whose fanbase has built up something of a unique reputation – ‘no one likes us, we don’t care’ – Gallen loved his time at the New Den.

“Kenny did fantastic at Millwall and some of those achievements came when up against clubs which had far more than we did,” he recalls.

“I had a really good time there and remember we’d go off and do talks at the local pubs around the stadium.

“They were brilliant, meeting the fans who were such genuine down-to-earth people with so many stories to tell – they were ‘proper Millwall’ shall we say.

“I really enjoyed my time at Millwall and it is such a good club, very under-rated in my opinion.”

But after those six years, once Jackett had left and quickly landed the role at Wolves, Gallen was ready for a fresh challenge, and was delighted to be able to join him.

Diving headlong into a very tricky situation, off the back of the double relegation, and, with several high profile players needing to be moved on and ultimately forming a ‘bomb squad’, there was a lot of work to be done before hearing that roar of a revitalised fanbase at Deepdale.

None of that fazed Jackett however, and neither did it Gallen.

“I was always really confident that Wolves would get back on the right track, and that was because of my confidence in Kenny,” he explains.

“I remember when we arrived and one of the staff – who I am not going to name because they were all brilliant by the way – asking me why we’d decided to come, telling us the club was a shambles.

“And I did an interview with a local journalist not long after arriving when I told him, ‘don’t worry, we’ll sort it’, and he pretty much started laughing.

“Yes, there were some difficult situations and a lot of players on decent money who had been deemed surplus to requirements who needed to move on.

“We were training in the morning with the group of players that was going to take us through the season, and then another – more experienced group – were coming to Compton in the afternoon.

“They needed new challenges, and in the end, I think Kenny and (Head of Football Development) Kevin Thelwell did a good job and they all got their moves.

“But all the confidence I had was coming from Kenny, I knew how he would work, how good he is as a manager, and I knew he would be successful.”

Successful he most certainly was.  A few tweaks in the January transfer window saw Wolves really hit their stride over the second half of the season, going on to break a string of records in lifting the League One title.

A similar second half burst in the following season, fuelled in the latter stages by the attacking magic of ‘Dicko, Afobe, Sako’, saw them amass a substantial 78-points haul in the Championship, only to agonisingly miss out on the play-offs on goal difference.

Life became more difficult after that near miss, with Chairman Steve Morgan’s decision to put the club up for sale prompting a third and final season under Jackett where the investment had stopped and survival was the aim. Then Fosun came in, Jackett and Gallen went out, and the rest is history.

There is, however, just as when he looks back on his departure from QPR, not an ounce of bitterness from Gallen about how it all ended at Molineux. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

“Football is football, you can leave a club if you are doing well, you can leave if you are doing badly, there is never any bitterness on my part,” he insists.

“Reminiscing is good but the reality is you have to move on because things always come to an end, and you go off and look for a new challenge.

“I only think of the good times, and there were so many good times at Wolves that there is no need to think about anything else.

“It was just a time when every single thing we tried seemed to come off.

“Every single signing seemed to work, when you think back to the likes of Henry, Jacobs, McDonald, Golbourne, Dicko, Afobe.

“I remember we didn’t particularly play brilliantly in the first few months, but we got the results to keep in touch, and then it all clicked, and really took off.

“Results picked up, we built up momentum, and the support went from about 18,000 at the start of the first season to 30,000 by the end – and boy, they made some noise.

“Even that second season was a great one, and it’s still a bugbear of mine that we managed to get 78 points and didn’t get in the play-offs, normally that would be enough.

“On our day we were very difficult to stop and I don’t think anyone would have fancied playing us had we made it – we got so close to getting in there but it just wasn’t to be.”

It was certainly a special time, especially for those first couple of years, and one where the team gelled, on and off the pitch, like all successful ones have to do.

There was a collective energy and desire throughout the squad, and a determination to improve, not just from the Academy graduates and young signings who had been given their opportunity but also the more experienced as well.

Including Dave Edwards, who has since credited the goalscoring flourish he enjoyed towards the end of his Wolves days, to working closely with Gallen.

“I got on well with Dave, and remember the one day, after training, he was practicing hitting long diagonals with his left foot,” says Gallen.

“I asked him what he was doing, and he said he was working on his weakness.

“I remember we chatted and I told him that his left foot was never going to be as good as his right, and he was probably never going to hit a diagonal with his left foot because he wouldn’t feel confident in doing it.

“I told him that what he was really good at was timing his runs into the box and scoring goals, and that was what would get him in the team, making those runs and producing a header or one touch finish to get us a goal.

“So that’s what we worked on after training, and that’s what Dave did so well, using his athleticism and energy which was the most positive way he could go out and positively affect the team.”

Gallen’s eye for what players could do to improve, and his effusive personality and infectious enthusiasm, proved the perfect foil for Jackett’s calm and meticulous organisational skills, and they worked together not just at Millwall and Wolves but later at Rotherham, Portsmouth – winning the Football League Trophy at Wembley – and Leyton Orient.

So, what was the secret, especially at Wolves where, aided and abetted by an excellent backroom staff and group of players, they enjoyed such instant success?

“Kenny and I are very different personalities, and he would tell me I didn’t shut up talking,” is the response.

“I would talk to anyone, forever, but it was about getting Kenny’s messages out there and I would have a laugh with players at the right time, get annoyed with them at the right time, but hopefully build up a rapport with them.

“Kenny would be the manager, every second of every day he was the manager, he never dropped his guard.

“He’s ultra-professional in everything that he does, and I’m not saying I’m not professional, but I was a good counter-balance, to get out there with the players to talk to them, mentor them, and give them the confidence to put Kenny’s plans into practice.”

It would appear now that the partnership is at an end, Jackett has moved on from management and is now Director of Football at Gillingham, but the two remain in close touch. There is too much history, too many good times, to let that slide.

For Gallen, now 50, he is ready, willing and able to take on a new start, having spent eight months working in Australia with Perth Glory, returning home for family reasons and now in search of a fresh challenge.

Given his wealth of experience, from schoolboy and Academy football through to first team, in both coaching and recruitment, Gallen possesses a versatile skillset which would certainly be an asset across many different roles.

“I’ve been on the coaching side for almost 25 years now, and it feels like I know the training ground, I know players, coaches, matchdays, warm-ups, half times, I have all that experience,” he confirms.

“I don’t feel like there is anything I haven’t experienced, and what that does is give you confidence to be able to approach any given situation – I’d be open to any of the different roles that are within football, and haven’t given up on being a manager.

“I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed some great times during the ups-and-downs of my career so far, but I feel really confident I still have so much to offer and that perhaps, the best is still to come.”

Whatever lies in store, it would have to go something to match the experiences enjoyed at Wolves, which kicked off a decade ago this summer.

Gallen was part of an overall team effort which, there is a strong argument to suggest, helped initially stabilise and then push the club forward to make it an appealing proposition for Fosun – and the spectacular few years that followed.

Jackett, Gallen and company inherited a ship heading for the rocks, and skilfully changed its course, saving it from being wrecked completely and taking it in a completely different and more positive direction.

“I will always remember Wolves – excuse the pun – as a golden time, especially in those first two years,” says Gallen.

“For a while it just felt like it was meant to be, everyone came together – club and supporters – and everything went right.

“And when I remember my time at Wolves, it always feels like the sun was shining as well.

“When I think of Wolves I think of sunshine, of winning games and of being really happy.

“My wife Lucie gave birth to our daughter Lucia – now eight – during my time at the club, so I am sure that has something to do with it as well!

“All in all, it was a really special time in my career – but hopefully, it’s not the last.”