“Nothing is by chance,” said our chief executive Jez Moxey on September 5 2011. “You get what you put in in life generally.”
With seven points from the first three games of last season, he continued.
“Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve, or what you put in. But when you get an opportunity and this is a horrible phrase: ‘when preparation meets opportunity’ – or whichever way it is! – you get this offspring called good fortune, or good luck.
“And we believe about making your own good fortune or luck in life.”
A spectacular nosedive of 35 league positions since the snake oil seeped owes nothing to luck, presumably.
From another Jez Moxey pledge that ‘we can get in the top three, four or five clubs where we can compete in Europe’ (E&S March 15 2011) to a New Year message that ‘we should all expect better’ in the Npower Championship.
You don’t say!
Another thing Moxey – or the deafeningly quiet Steve Morgan – fails to say is how we got into this extraordinary mess in such a short space of time.
I’ve tried to help, by pinpointing six glaring opportunities which sadly lacked the requisite levels of preparation.
1. Alan Curbishley and the half-baked bun fight. (February 2012)
The less said about our attempts to replace Mick the better. There was an opportunity, but no preparation, being as we failed to lure Curbishley on two separate occasions. Quite what the terms broke down over will never be known for sure, but alarm bells rang when the Londoner allegedly said that his vision for the club didn’t match the owner’s. What vision would that be exactly Steve?
The upshot: Steve Bruce dawdling, Walter Smith dalliance and embarrassment of national laughing stock proportions. Oh, and Terry Connor.
2. Morgan’s missing treasure chest (May 2012)
During our end of season dinner in May 2012, Steve Morgan said: “The one thing about Wolves is that we’re in great financial health and we will have a very good treasure chest when it comes to the playing side.
“There will be changes – some players will come, some players will go. We are more committed than ever.”
A month or so after uttering these words, we sold our three best players for something around £28million to add to the treasure chest.
We gave Solbakken around £10 million to a) replace our only talented players in Jarvis, Fletcher and Kightly and b) improve what we already had.
The upshot: A treasure chest that only Frank McAvennie could ever believe in and an unwanted maths lesson: Minimal investment + proven failures = disaster.
3. Director of football debacle. (May 2012)
Upon the position that casts more longing gazes down the A41 than a 5-1 thrashing, Steve Morgan said the following:
“Stale understands we may well be bringing in a football development director but we felt it wrong to make an appointment at the same time as the manager.
“But the director of football is something that’s still very much on our mind and it’s a system he’s used to working with.
“We’ve got two or three people in mind for the post. We don’t rush into making a decision.”
At least Morgan got the last bit right, as he really didn’t rush into a decision, embarking on U-turn instead.
The upshot: Solbakken forced to work with Terry Connor for the opening handful of fixtures, with Lange and Weiser arriving ad hoc, in June and October respectively. Head of recruitment and football development roles are not filled until the New Year.
4. Pedro Geromel and Vadim Demidov cold shoulders (July 2012)
Stale Solbakken identified two centre backs to finally rectify a shambolic defence.
Pedro Geromel chose Mallorca, despite Stale stating at the time: “Those clubs from Spain are having financial troubles. Maybe it’s a chance for us to step up and do it.”
We didn’t do it.
Next up Vadim Demidov, who flew to England after a deal was agreed with Sociedad.
“It’s not as clear-cut as some people would like it to be,” said Jez Moxey.
Clearly, as he went to Frankfurt.
The upshot: Georg Margrietter and Solbakken lumped with a defence which we knew was substandard. (52 goals against in the Championship and we still play three of them today!)
5. Adlene Guedioura signs for Forest (July 2012)
And not for the reason I rated him so highly and he scored a 30 yard screamer past us.
The first training session Stale Solbakken took as manager was the first day he was undermined by Jez Moxey.
“The manager makes the decisions on the buying and selling of players,” said Jez Moxey.
Clearly not, when Solbakken said he was sold without ever speaking to Adlene either way.
Whether Guedioura was a world beater or otherwise mattered little. The manager was forced to take responsibility for a transfer, which – according to those inside Molineux – had nothing to do with football.
The upshot: Our new manager is unfairly associated with an increasingly irrational decision which – despite Moxey’s claims – was not made on footballing grounds.
6. Blackburn 0 Wolves 1 (October 2012)
A victory that could have been seminal goes down as a mere flash in the pan.
Deploying a 4-5-1 system for the one and only time this season, Wolves stifle their opponents and break away to win, featuring a more advanced Doumbia and a holding pair of Davis and Henry.
What happened next? The system is scrapped and we win 3 out of 16 games thereafter. The first genuine question marks raised over our seemingly sensible manager.
The upshot: The first signs of genuine incompetence by Stale Solbakken, as he persists with the very formation that got Mick McCarthy the sack.
Quite what 2013 brings us is unsure, but judging on the last 18 months, an ‘offspring of good fortune’ is unlikely.