A Dangerous Triangle – One Year On

I read over the article I wrote for the Wolves Blog a year ago, and frankly, I had to laugh.

Having spent the season railing against the arguments presented by Leeds, Aston Villa and Derby County, it suddenly occurred to me that last summer I was doing something very similar. Unlike those clubs however, I’m prepared to hold my hands up and say how wrong I was.

In the summer of 2017, on the back of what seemed like another false dawn as a big-money takeover yielded only a 15 th place finish, I was the classic Wolves fan. I was scarred by countless failures and the times I’d dared to dream, only for it to be cruelly snatched away with ludicrously high points requirements (being relegated with 52 points, or missing the play offs with 78) or 11 point leads surrendered. So when the winds of change blew through our club, I was always looking for the negatives, because there had been so many previously.

I questioned the need for a summer splurge, cheekily suggesting that it served only to line Jorge Mendes’ pockets. Having had the pleasure of watching Ruben Neves spray effortless passes around, or Willy Boly saunter upfield to start an attack, I think it’s fair to say that the summer splurge was in everyone’s interests.

Comparing how I felt in 2017 with how I feel in 2018 emphasises the incredible efforts of Fosun, Nuno and the players. Our manager has unified the club, dumbfounded his critics and brought genuine joy back to the fans. This season has eroded the pessimistic, hope-for-the-best-but-expect-the-worst Wolves supporter I once was.

Where nervousness once ruled, now inspiration prevails.

Going into games this season expecting something from them was unchartered territory. Of course that will change in the Premier League, but we have nothing to fear – and certainly no need for pessimistic articles from fans *cough cough*.

If I were to re-write my article now, I would perhaps entitle it ‘A Risky Triangle’ – but as we’ve seen this season, a great risk can certainly yield an even greater reward. Hopefully this time next year I’ll still be feeling as optimistic!

Comments

  1. Thomas says:

    I don’t think you have any reason to feel foolish Chris. Fosun’s first season was borderline disastrous and there was every reason to fear they’d repeat the same mistakes last summer.

    In fairness to them, the situation with the manager really set them back initially. They wanted Lopetegui as soon as they knew they were buying the club and he was going to come right until the very last minute when Spain came calling. We then ended up with Zenga who was a tit and coupled with frantic recruitment, things got very messy. Thelwell all but confirmed this stuff in our sit down.

    With hindsight, Fosun did everything right from Christmas onwards. Getting Lambert in to make sure we didn’t go down, getting rid of him in the summer when they knew they could get the guy they really wanted and then approaching recruitment in a more scientific manner, while doing a marvellous job of sweeping the decks.

    For me there are still a few lingering doubts about how this relationship with Mendes will unfold in the longer term, but the soundbites coming out of the club, particularly from Jeff Shi stating ‘our players are our players’ are cause for optimism.

    There’s been no better time than now to be a Wolves supporter – not in my lifetime anyway.

       6 likes

    • Chris says:

      Hi Thomas,

      Appreciate your reassuring words – it just struck me how dated the original article looked, even after only a year!

      It is amazing how the experience of 2016/17 sharpened Fosun’s minds, with the spectacular results that followed. Long may it continue!

         2 likes

      • TonyG says:

        To be fair about Derby, they stated that they had nothing to do with the controversy which Villa and Leeds got themselves involved with about us. My guess is that they were approached for their opinion to try to knock us off the rails because they were in the top 6 but were roped into it by default. Full credit to them but as for the other two…I won’t continue out of wanting to maintain decorum.

           2 likes

    • AmberWolf says:

      Thomas I have to say at the start of last summer I thought ejecting Lambert and recruiting another foreign manager who no clue about the championship was Fosun doing exactly the same Zenga mistake. But thats why Fosun as a company are doing so well, they learn very quickly from their mistakes and correct them applying whatever investments are required to gain their desired results.

      I think we’ve all been blown away by their commitment, let’s face it Jeff and his family have moved here from the other side of the world because managing Wolves has to be done from Compton / Molineux not from afar. We have the manager and backroom staff we need, and in Nuno we have a unifying force that has dragged all the players, staff and fans into one all moving forward together. He is a man who will see his contract to the end, and for that we all have to be thankful.

      As you say having Mendes as a friendly Uncle who can make introductions talk to the right people and help has got to be a force for good as long as he is bringing us people like Neves, Jota and Boly, we will turn sour on him as soon as he tries to move on our new found loves to pastures new, but till then Fosun, Jeff and Laurie and all the Wolves staff have earned our trust. We need to leave them to get on with their jobs so that we can earn the money we need to come back and watch the fruits of this labour on the pitch.

      Next season we’re hoping will be as good as we have seen in 35-40 years or more at the top level, and if that comes to pass then Wolves deserve another open top bus parade same time next year.

      I’m excited to see how we evolve and what kind of change and improvements this summer will bring as the club and team develop further, with the promise of changes to the ground to match the team this time next year.

      Nuno built his team, and we’re back, but now we too have to deliver as we’re expected too, in providing the supportive atomosphere every home game to get our pack over the line match after match whether we’re at the height of our powers or not, the team have earned and deserve that support now

         8 likes

    • Karlir-Johanarnt Kristjanson says:

      The team’s spine is already in place, and the challenge now is to get in better players than we’ve got. The question is if we can get in enough players of the highest calibre to take up the fight with established clubs like Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool. Personally I doubt we can do it already in the first season. The players we are linked with could, if they join, possibly take us to the next step. I’m talking about players like Yaya Toure, Andre Silva, Bernd Leno (http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2018/05/21/do-report-wolves-in-talks-with-bayer-leverkusen-goalkeeper-bernd/), Lindlof, Mangala and many others. If we get a team which clicks 100 percent, we could, with a bit of luck, perhaps qualify to Europe. So I’m definetly not worried about relegation, it’s entirely the other way around – how far up the table we can climb

         3 likes

  2. Dorset Wolf says:

    Brilliant post Amber

       4 likes

  3. I wouldn’t say I was necessarily a ‘doubter’ last summer. But I certainly tempered my enthusiasm with a healthy dose of scepticism. All that scepticism has now been swept away by the tide of sparkling football and stunning success which has washed over us all this season.
    I fully understand why you had some reservations 12months ago Chris. But in reality, it was better not to risk your sanity by diving in headfirst after all we’ve put up with over the years.
    Welcome to the new reality!

       2 likes

  4. Clive says:

    Yes
    Agreed
    And when you see the plodding donkeys that make up so much of the Prem, such as Burnley, ( Ward, ha ha) Everton, Southampton, Palace, ( Benteke, for fuck’s sake) etc etc, it makes you realize how many teams are going to be nothing more than cannon fodder for us.
    More investment this summer, and not in “established” primma donnas, ala Pogba, for example, but in more of Ruben, Diogo and Wily types, and the wholehearted support of us, and top four is the minimum expectation for me!
    And think of the bigger twelfth man we can take to some of the Prem grounds as well, drowning out the prawn sammich brigade at O T and the Emmyrats!!
    Bring ‘em on, they aint gonna know what hit them!!
    We creamed the second division easily, supposedly the toughest league in the world, them Prem Pussys wont stand a chance!
    And for both you poor, lost sandwell town supporters on here, make the most of the next three months, in which you are guaranteed not to lose a game, coz come August, the downward slope beckons again!!
    By by boggies!!

       6 likes

  5. I’m sure you will all remember how I was in the camp of getting rid of Lambert and bringing in someone who played a more European style, that would work well when we got promoted.
    I argued that the superior style would overcome the more traditional Championship side, given good enough players.
    I also argued against the idea that you have to play the same way as the other teams by saying that we weren’t playing the league, we were playing individual teams so the predominant style was irrelevant. Of course, little did I know how crappy the refereeing would be.
    So now I am saying that we have the style that will work and injury t is just a case of bringing in better players to replace/compete with the current main starters.
    Will Fosun continue their approach of looking for up and comers who need a change of scenery to get their career back on track or take it to the next level or will they decide that that was for while they were in the Championship and now, to compete with the big boys, they have to get established players who are willing to come to a still unproven Premier League team?
    Should be interesting. I hope they go for it and try for at least Europe.
    From the rumours I am reading about, it seems like they are going with the same approach as last year but if some options arise, they will enquire about it, like with Patricio.

       1 likes

  6. CHEESEBURGER OF DEATH says:

    Chris is the classic Wolves fan who as he says, is (or was) always expecting everything to go tits up. There were even times during last season when there was mass panic if we lost a match. Even if we were 9 points clear. Scarred by years of false dawns,Steve Sedgley,Neil Masters, Simon Osborns, Steve Coricas. Being 3-0 up against Millwall at an ice cold Molineux with 4 minutes to go and drawing 3-3.Having some tin pot club with an average gate of 12000 come to Molineux and play us off the park despite the fact we had spent millions on our team and they spent £250 . The Shit coming down to our patch and dishing out 3-0 and 5-1 drubbings. Yep all there. That has all changed now. From the moment Brentford scored that 93rd minute equaliser at Fulham on April 14.We knew we were up. We knew nothing could go wrong. We knew Nuno has secured a special season. We knew Fosun had delivered. We could sense the sea change. Even our friends down the A41 joined the party by getting relegated. Even Chairman Guo joined the party at a Fosun business event in London last week. Showing off the trophy. Wolves scarf on. You sense there is something stirring in WV1 as Billy Wright and the other legends look down approvingly urging us on to emulate the former glories. The Pack is Back and ready to tackle any one coming in to the lair.

       12 likes

    • Chris says:

      It’s so true! Even when Villa beat us and our lead was cut to 7 points (which is still a huge lead if you think about it), I was panicking and fearing the worst. The blog here said it felt like a seminal moment, which it was – we kicked on with 8 unbeaten and they fell away.

      Is amazing how conditioned to failure we’d become, so we really have to enjoy this moment and the future.

         2 likes

  7. wolfman jack says:

    We all know exactly where Chris is coming from when you consider that this guy was playing for us only a couple of years ago. We were entitled to be cynical…

    http://the72.co.uk/103116/norwich-city-legend-set-become-wrestler-signing-local-promotion/

       1 likes

  8. peterobbo says:

    Well, I think your initial misgivings were entirely understandable and that you shouldn’t regret them at all.

    As for right now, looking ahead to the PL next season, I have to say that I’ve not enjoyed seeing us linked with Jack Wilshere and Joe Hart. Having been so shrewd in the market up to now, acquiring really talented players who are also young and on the way up in their careers, the last thing we should do at this critical point is to recruit those either on their way down or actually already near the bottom, simply because they have PL experience.

    The only thing that comes to mind when I hear the name Jack Wilshere is “injury prone”. He has a terrible record in that respect and even when he was fit and playing he did little to justify his reputation in my opinion.

    As for Joe Hart as a goalkeeper? Surely we couldn’t be so stupid? Here’s someone who’s proved his vulnerability between the sticks again again and yet people still cite him as a desirable asset. We shouldn’t go near him with a bargepole!

       7 likes

    • Clive says:

      I agree 100 million percent.
      All they are doing is looking for that one last fat paycheck.
      Same with Ya Ya Toure, if he ain’t good enuff for City, her certainly ain’t good enuff for us!

         6 likes

      • peterobbo says:

        Yep, bang on Clive! Well said. When it comes to recruitment we should stick to the model we’ve been following for the past year or two. High quality and perhaps therefore not cheap, but young and ambitious.

           3 likes

    • Chris says:

      Thanks mate – I just found it so interesting how the mood has changed in 12 months.

      Agree with all your observations, but we can easily be linked with anyone. Remember the major Anderson Talisca rumours a year or two ago? The press knows we have cash, and will link us with literally anyone who is unsettled. I say the proof is in the pudding – expect a couple of established names, as well as some more left-field signings (who’d heard of Jota/Boly this time last year?)

         3 likes

      • peterobbo says:

        Yep, more names being linked now which sound more like what we should be looking for. More of the same type of up and coming talents with real potential rather than a “history”.

        I’m hoping that Mr Mendes keeps us on the straight and narrow. We have a really good squad already and don’t want to damage that with ill-advised “name” signings.

           4 likes

  9. Old and Wise (JHP) says:

    Definitely don’t want any has beens, past their best, surely we’ll be fishing mainly in the Mediterranean for our new players.
    Not all fans were all that pessimistic;there was plenty of encouragement for a better season 2017/18, and some of us won tidy sums by ‘keeping the faith’.

       4 likes

  10. RickRack (I 8 Albion) Wolves says:

    Hi Chris,
    I agree with your comments that were correct & current at the time of going to press. I believe the majority of us felt similar concern but mainly due to years of neglect & mis-management.
    Fosun I believe then & now are the knights in shining armour, but this is still “a project” albeit one that’s probably in advance of planned status “in the now”!
    As for speculation in the 100 + signings, well i don’t think we have to loose any sleep choosing! WWFC have the right infrastructure to choose with due diligence & without the need for “good time Charlie’s” or “alsorans” as we’re defo building for the future.
    Plus my thoughts on the future, anyone remember Citie being shit? Having the likes of Danny Mills, Ched Evans, Ishmael Miller, Paul Dickov. Only 10 years ago they was employing similar to the likes of our very own “old guard” (now departed, Saville, et al) – we’ve defo changed so my only question:
    Is it right that “the Pack is Back”? To fekin right it is.
    & the Premier League may have Arab, Ruskie & Yankee (no offence CfH) owners but the rise of Fosun will see a new Chinese mover/shaker at the top table.
    The King is dead, long life the Emporer.

       4 likes

    • Chris says:

      Completely agree mate, amazing to see the change in what was right last year and what seems right now. I think they’ll want to make a statement too, as you say.

         0 likes

  11. RickRack (I 8 Albion) Wolves says:

    O&W,
    Some added The Shite to go down too as an ACCA & now my shadow dwelling mates are pissed they’ve paid for my ST this year. Yoo gotta loff.

       0 likes

  12. steppenwolfe says:

    Great Blog and yes, I’m in the same club.

       1 likes

  13. Every agent will start rumour that wolves are interested in his player. It don’t mean we are!!

       1 likes

  14. someblokeontinterweb says:

    Wilshire never in a Wolves shirt for me.

    I have a very knowledgeable mate from Scotland and some three years ago we had a conversation along these lines. That Joe Hart is a good keeper he said, my reply in Scotland he might be a good keeper but he make way too many mistakes.

    My opinion has not changed and if anything it has proved me right.

       1 likes

  15. Jackomac says:

    One thing is for sure, Nuno will not be overawed at the prospect of taking teams to Old Trafford and the Emirates. His whole cv is ready made for a real challenge at the prem. Manager of Valencia when you are competing with the resources of Madrid and Barcelona. Manager of Porto competing with the resources of Benfica.

    He may be competing with the London Manchester Merseyside mafia and it may be a young side short of pre m experience, but he has real funds at his disposal, positive support in the boardroom, passionate support on the terraces and a real team with talent on the pitch.

    Next season is only chapter two and just the next step in a journey, but it’s not just wolves who can sense that something very unusual and momentous is in the air. There is a quiet stillness and the sky has got a golden hue. Everything is in place for one of the great footballing stories to unfold.

       1 likes

  16. StuWolf says:

    Food for thought…

       3 likes

  17. DancesWithWolves says:

    You can be forgiven Chris of thinking “another false dawn” as we had quite a few of those in the Morgan/Moxey era. Nevertheless a few fellow bloggers (including me) thought otherwise a year ago. I got my first 16-1 bet on Wolves for the title way back on 31st May 2017, followed by a few more bets in June. In my opinion we might even have achieved promotion a season earlier if Fosun’s original choice of manager (who took the Spanish national team job) had taken the Wolves job. Instead we were lumbered with the appointment of Walter Mitty Zenga. I based my optimism on a study of Fosun’s intentions to restore Wolves to greatness. It was very, very convincing.

       3 likes

  18. StuWolf says:
  19. StuWolf says:

    Yipeeeeee

    This is the best signing we shall made this season, no matter who else comes tjis will define our intent.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/tim_spiers_star/status/999040165447430144

       0 likes

  20. StuWollf says:

    These are the minutes from the “New Fans Parliament” written by David Instone, which held a meeting at Molinuex last night to restructure the group and move forward in keeping with the “New Wolves” we are witnessing.

    Overseas bloggers please note the section where we expressed a desire to have input from International Wolves fan Supporter groups.

    https://www.wolves.co.uk/news/club/20180524-fans-parliament-steering-group-minutes/

       0 likes

  21. All things will be made beautiful in itws own time by Gods grace.

       0 likes

  22. I love your website and enjoyed reading this page. Excellent resource!

       0 likes

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