It’s not often that a sky full of fireworks greet your arrival into Wolverhampton for the game, but such is the dazzling fare on show at Molineux these days that you’d think they’d been organised especially.
Something to do with the Christmas lights in Queen Square apparently, but if Nuno had have arranged them as a pyrotechnic precursor to the football then you wouldn’t have been surprised. A sign of things to come.
Everything else the great man touches generates similarly explosive results and at times during last night’s 4-1 drubbing – particularly in that first half-an-hour or so – I was more in awe of Cavaleiro and co as I was when the Roman Candles were going off.
Molineux was crackling under the night lights and only a handful of seats remained in the house before kick-off, primarily due to the traffic around Wolverhampton with those lights being switched on. Gunpowder in the air, gridlock around the city and for the first time in years, Wolves and its immediate surroundings feel positively aspirational.
From where we came and all those mind-numbing seasons which seemed to roll into one, the transformation has been quite astounding. Only a year or two back it was a former CEO of Stockport County no less – commissioned by Jez Moxey – to tell us that if we want success, we should think again.
‘We believe in much more than the results on a Saturday afternoon,’ Jez once said. ‘We believe in these young players. It is working. (as we sat somewhere in the region of 13th place).
‘If you say you will not renew your season ticket unless X, Y or Z, then that is not a relationship I would want with supporters.’
I shudder when I think back to those days of managed decline, when expectations were managed as if we were Proles in an Orwellian world. Now we get fireworks before a ball has been kicked!
It is precisely those M&M seasons of doom that this 4-1 victory – and all the others before – feels so difficult to comprehend because after years of footballing abuse, I feel like another kick is on its way. Another slap around the chops to bring me back down to earth. To midtable obscurity.
Like a liberated state, free from the clutches of repression, it feels like we’re breathing, living and dreaming again for the first time in years. Perchance to dream, ay, there’s the rub!
Last night it was Leeds United and an accompanying bag of worry about their spritely front-line and an inevitable good result following a morale boosting win against ‘Boro at the weekend. Before that it was Villa, with a different bag of the same worry, who must surely knock us off our perch as they were so good on paper. And it was Villa, basically.
All attentions turn to Saturday and Bolton now. Maybe I’ll dust down a hessian bag of Trotter angst for their arrival too. They have always had the sign on us, broke my heart in 1995 and are showing signs of a revival under Parkinson.
Old habits die hard, I guess. After last night’s beautiful win – and the sum of Nuno’s drooling parts making a mesmerising whole – I should pack it in. Replace my ingrained pessimism with a more intoxicating brand of feels.
Let myself free. Fly on the wings of Cavaleiro, Jota, Neves and friends and enjoy this ride like the South Bank are doing. Live in the moment like those players last night and think positive thoughts.
No matter how many negative ones I put in the way of this phenomenal side, they keep kicking them away. In style, of course.