Joseph (Joe) Gardiner was born in Bearpark on 23rd June 1916. A left-half, he played local football before being signed by Major Frank Buckley, the manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1934. He joined a very good squad that included Stan Cullis, Gordon Clayton, Bill Morris, Dennis Westcott, George Ashall, Alex Scott, Jack Taylor, Tom Galley, Dicky Dorsett, Bill Parker, Bryn Jones, Joe Gardiner and Teddy Maguire.
In the 1938-39 season Wolves finished second to Everton. The centre-forward Dennis Westcott scored 43 goals in 43 appearances. His fellow striker, Dicky Dorsett managed 26 goals that season. The captain of the side, Stan Cullis, was generally acknowledged as the best centre-half in the Football League. That season also saw the arrival of teenagers, Billy Wright, Joe Rooney and Jimmy Mullen, in the side.
Wolves also enjoyed a good run in the FA Cup and beat Leicester City (5-1), Liverpool (4-1), Everton (2-0), Grimsby Town (5-0) to reach the final against Portsmouth at Wembley. Wolves lost the final 4-1 with Dicky Dorsett scoring their only goal. Major Buckley's Wolves became the first team in the history of English football to be runners-up in the sport's two major competitions in the same year. Afterwards, it was discovered that the Portsmouth players, like those of Wolves, had also been injected with monkey glands.
The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 brought an end to the Football League. The government imposed a fifty mile travelling limit on all football teams and the Football League divided all the clubs into seven regional areas where games could take place. Wolves joined the Midland League with West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Coventry City, Luton Town, Northampton Town, Leicester City and Walsall. Wolves won the 1939-40 championship.
Gardiner did not return to Wolves as a player after the war. He had scored two goals in 124 games for the club. However, he did work for S as a coach during the 1940s and 1950s.
Joe Gardiner died in 1997.