Doyle isn’t Superman

Forget the latest Playstation, iPad or that lovely jacket from the second floor of Beatties…

Kevin Doyle

…If there is one Christmas gift I would trade it all in for, including the turkey and trimmings, it would be for Kevin Doyle to start scoring goals – or be sold in the transfer window.

As we prepare for the most critical stretch of the season to date, Kenny Jackett not only seems hellbent on playing the impotent number 29, but subordinating our one and only goalscorer as if to justify his decision.

Like Stephen Fletcher and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake before him, Leigh Griffiths now finds himself neutralised and benched to accommodate a player that, in cricketing terms, is currently 0-83 off 18 overs (at about 75mph).

In footballing terms he is 3 goals and one measly assist for the entire season, each strike working out at around £250,000*

Bad enough that Cody McDonald, Tom Pope and all manner of League One plodders have all scored double that, but even worse that our one bone-a-fide finisher is now insulted with a ‘lazy’ accusation to compensate.

A few fans have told me in no uncertain terms to stop ‘hating’ on a player who is actually immune to goalscoring and monetary accountability, but appreciated at all costs.

They make a good point. If Doyle was on £400 a week or £40,000, it would matter little. He simply should not be playing when he contributes so minimally, featuring a painful lack of pace.

The old adage that appearances can be deceptive could have been created for Kevin Doyle, who doesn’t suffer Keogh’s haphazard eagerness, nor Ebanks-Blake’s perceived inactivity.

He carries out the instructions from any manager he’s ever worked with to the letter, be it McCarthy, Solbakken, Saunders or Jackett.

All four rated him highly for this very reason, with Mick McCarthy even downplaying past contributions from Bull, Richards and Dougan with a quite extraordinary show of affection in January 2010 after a man-of-the-match Premier League performance, minus a winning goal.

“If anyone has seen a better centre-forward display at Molineux than against Liverpool, then I would like to see it.”

When asked to operate in a one-dimensional role, ala the lone man in a 0-0 draw with Liverpool, he was great.

Asking Kevin Doyle to be intuitive is where the problems start, playing as if robotically pre-programmed, to the detriment of fluidity, potency and now, his latest downtrodden strike partner.

Andy Mutch was the best forward I saw at operating in a ‘second striker’ role, with two glorious assists in our 1989/90 double season against West Bromwich Albion springing to mind.

In the same season (if memory serves) away at Aston Villa, he arrived at the back post like a number 9 to break the net in the League Cup, from a sumptuous Mark Venus cross.

Andy Mutch’s career wasn’t based on conjecture, hyperbole and a dim and distant link to Arsenal, but goals, assists and an intuitive grasp for the nuances of the Beautiful Game.

With Kevin Doyle showing none of the above, it is surely time to say goodbye – for whatever Swindon Town paid for Andy Mutch in all likeliness.

*cost of goals based on an assumption Doyle is still on £40,000 per week.


  1. Hamlet says:

    It’s…an awkward one! In our poor league cup games I’d thought that we missed Doyle because of his workrate but with our performances lately maybe that wasn’t the case!

    With that being said I think if I had to choose between losing Doyle and losing Edwards it’d be the latter all day long! In my opinion the midfield is more of a problem than the strikers; we still have inexperienced midfielders and Edwards isn’t pulling his weight! One on loan perhaps?


  2. Dave H says:

    All valid points Ben, but who would buy him, also who else would play along side Griffiths, Mclinden , Siggy and Cassidy up to date they have not produced nor contributed with any great effect.
    There is also an argument to be had that Griffiths is more of a potent force when Doyle is on the pitch, he links the midfield and the attack, and also carries the ball from midfield better than our midfielders,
    Don’t get me wrong is Doyle value for his wage at this level and the answer would be no,; is there anybody else capable of doing what he is doing at the club at the present and the answer in my opinion at the present is no.
    Might be a case of seeing what we acquire in January.


  3. chris h says:

    To be fair it was a great performance by Doyle that dizzy night when we beat a Spurs team that included Gareth Bale. I also remember him playing well for Ireland against the then World Champions and or European Champions France. So he clearly has class. But it is lack of goals that is the problem. There is no doubt about it this lack of goals has cost dearly last season and if we are not careful will cost us again this season. I think he did better at scoring at Reading when partnered with a target man such as Long and Kitson. We have needed a similar player since they let Vokes go on the cheap. As Moxey must sing in the bath what do you do with a problem named Doyler’.


  4. Golden Wolfie says:

    I like Doyle for the simple reason that he always remained loyal to the club. There was some genuine interest from big sides in him a few years back. I read that both Liverpool and Everton had bids turned down for him – Liverpool’s as much as £11m. Just look at Steven Fletcher – while his quality is far above Championship standard, as soon as an excuse arose he wanted a move. Doyle stayed when many were cowardly and left. But to be frank, he’s not scoring nearly enough. 9 last season in the Championship is an acceptable tally – far from his best far from his worst. Say what you may, but Dean Saunders had him playing his best football in a long long time, probably since that 0-0 draw mentioned above with Liverpool. 3 goals and an assist is disgraceful. I agree that Leigh Griffiths is being dragged down a bit. For me, Doyle, Sigurdarson, and Cassidy all must do better. It’s embarrassing that young McAlinden looks better in front of goal this season than Doyle. We must also face the fact – Doyle ain’t getting any younger. Get in Nakhi Wells from Bradford – a young, consistent goalscorer at this level. So while I am a big admirer of Doyle and his loyalty towards the club, he’s simply not good enough upfront. Whether he’d be better as a winger, which I did previously see as a role he may be well suited to, is up for debate. But really, get him, O’Hara and Roger out and allow Kenny bring in his own recruits. Pity to see him leave if he does go.


  5. Thomas says:

    I’m a Doyle fan, but one thing you can’t argue with is the stats (which I’m also a fan of).

    3 goals at the halfway stage of a League One campaign is utter cack, especially when he’s been involved in every game. Even if we accept the notion he’s a ‘second striker’, that’s not enough.

    I looked up the League One assist table, where his name is conspicuous by it’s absence.

    Interestingly, Sigurdarson has 3 assists to go with his 2 goals. That means, for all his faults, he’s been involved in more goals than Doyle despite significantly less time on the pitch.

    So, on obvious telling contributions in the final third, there isn’t any argument to say he should be anywhere near the team.

    But I think if we’re weighing things up fairly, we have to evaluate his performances in a wider context.

    We know Doyle’s obvious quality lies in the middle third, where his touch and balance consistently mark him out as superior to any other performer at this level.

    In most matches there are several passages of play where he is the crucial component in transporting the ball through the center of the pitch to the final third in the build up to a chance.

    There isn’t a table to highlight the number of ‘assists to the assists’, but if there was I’m confident he’d be at the very top. I would also wager the likes of Sako, Henry and Griffiths would say they get the ball in better areas of the pitch when Doyle plays.

    Jackett like to work the ball around and Doyle is crucial to him with this method of play. That’s why he always starts, even when that’s at the expense of Griffiths. Whether that’s right or wrong is a matter of opinion.

    The other strikers (Griffo aside) haven’t exactly made life difficult for him though have they?

    Sigurdarson and Cassidy just haven’t done it. Neither contribute as much as Doyle in their overall performance so they need goals to dislodge him, which neither have managed. Both have had enough starts and sub appearances to stake a claim.

    Based on all this, these would be my conclusions:

    1. Doyle’s place in the team should be in jeopardy based on his goal return.

    2. However, someone has to take his place and our other strikers aren’t firing.

    3. A new striker in January is a priority signing and that could change the picture. Jackett has done a good job in my opinion of moving on the old guard and often talks about the importance of consistently freshening up the squad. I back him totally to make the right call on whether or not Doyle’s overall contribution warrants a place in the absence of goals.


  6. I have to disagree but even I cannot argue with the strikers lack of goals! In this league it is even more inexcusable.

    I just think his close control & his contribution overall is immense for the team. I don’t know whats happening but Doyle seems to me to compensate for the team as a whole not moving forward more. We play too deep as a whole unit, and there’s no-one to pass to!

    He seems to keep having to come back & get the ball deep. But even I would have been happy to see him go in the summer after relegation as I wanted to see McAlinden become a first team regular or Siggy prove his worth or even Cassidy.

    The only way these younger players have any chance of coming good is by getting regular first team football. Look at Vokes at Burnley, and any number of the ex Wolves players who regularly score against us. They all seem to come good when they leave!

    Its by having a place in the team, Martinez said it about Berkley, he had to put up with his errors and leave him in the team so he could become the player he is now. Henderson at Liverpool is another example, with regular first team football they realise their potential.

    Siggy & McAlinden seem talents to me, the only thing missing is regular first team football. I don’t really think they’ve been given a consistent run. If this pattern continues then we will not see them make a contribution.

    But KJ & the Wolves are not going to take too many risks, so having Doyle there helps us win games. Its a massive conundrum, I love watching him play & admire his skills & work rate as a footballer.

    The but is we do not possess the killer touch striker now Griffiths seems to have lost his mojo on the way to Scotland. So if James Henry does’nt score we’re snookered!

    I do think its not as easy as dissing Doyle, he is a quality player. There’s something wrong with the way we play the beautiful game. Its what got us in this predicament in the first place. The changing of Managers has contributed to this.

    KJ is trying to right the wrongs of 4 previous incumbents so there is no set pattern of play established. Hence the ball is hit long with no thought, or vision. Its the lazy way to play football. Doyle helps in this system, i.e no system, by being able to control the ball. In this league the opposition just put three men on him when he’s on the ball to neutralise him.

    He needs a helping hand, I’d play McAalinden up front with him v Crewe. I think a goal for the young striker would give him heart & confidence, and he’d benefit form the £40,000 week man’s presence.

    But its only an opinion, and I’m a big Doyle fan. But merry xmas, & may Doyle lower his price per goal in this season of goodwill to all footballers & their fans! Failing that maybe Kevin Phillips can teach him to hit the back of the net more often.


  7. AJ Wolf says:

    Whoever said Doyle lacks pace is absurd. The guys trickery alone gets him past most of his markers.

    Doyle for me is one of the most technically gifted players we have at the club and he adds so much to the team. The problem is that he doesn’t have a strike partner who can lead the line. Griffiths seemed more determined in running into channels, standing offside or heading towards the back post insteD of getting ahead of his man.

    For me, Doyle is a second striker linking midfield to a striking focal point or a lone frontman with suitable midfield support to take advantage of his graft. Either way, Jackett needs to build the squad around him, not ship him out.


  8. Trejon says:

    Doyle is definitely excess baggage and has been for many years. He seems to be hell bent on turning his back on opposition and then falling over at the merest touch. I agree that he has heaps of potential but sadly no manager has been able to convert his potential into useful contribution on the pitch. Get rid quick.


  9. AJ wolf you are the only one talking any sense, when will these thicko’s get it into their skulls – Doyle is “NOT” an out an out striker! I am no expert unlike those that talk on here think they are, but I would play doyler in midfield behind the front two.
    good post unlike baggies fan chris h who’s brain only stretches to ridiculing moxey and morgan.


  10. Totally agree. Let’s get someone proven at this level instead. RE: Griffiths, a Scots mate is amazed he is constantly being subbed – he said he is known to be as fit as a butcher’s dog up north.


  11. Ade In China says:

    Totally agree with Ben. What use is a striker that neither scores, nor assists in goals?
    Doyle has been a great servant, and fair play to him for sticking by us (whether intentionally or not), but Wolves are conspicuously lacking goals, and it will come back to haunt us if we don’t arrest this anemia in front of goal.

    I would personally sell if possible, as losing his wages alone would free up room to purchase a proven goal-scorer at our League 1 / Championship level, or loan a good prospect from the Prem (think a Bamford type).

    If we DO keep him, could he not play in an attacking midfield role, playing to his strengths holding up the ball and feeding it through to the strikers? Alan Smith has converted to a central role, and he was more prolific than Doyle ever was I would imagine.

    I would absolutely play Griffiths no-questions-asked, to not do so is craziness, as none of our other strikers get close to him in terms of goals.


  12. Martin says:

    Doyler is a lovely bloke, fantastically loyal and very effective in linking play and occupies the centre halves.
    BUT…. his ineptitude at shooting is amazing.Basically, he just can’t shoot, which is rediculous for a striker we valued at £6.5m. His shots have the power of back passes and more often than not he drags them feebly to the left as well. I doubt there’s another striker in the football league who has a weaker shot.
    It pains me to say it because i love the guy but as you say Ben, the stats speak for themselves.
    The trouble is that Griffiths will never score goals without a striking partner who’s good in the air, a Toshack for a Keegan, that sort of thing. But the critical word is ‘striking’ and Doyler very rarely does any.


  13. Twixfix says:

    It’s a real “Bobby Dazzler” question this one Ben. . and clearly we’ve seemingly all got a divided opinion on it. On this topic I’m with the “I’s to the right” group .. the admirer’s of Doyler. Remember we often play 4 4 1 1 and Doyler, as we see, links the play sublimely .. of course he doesnt get enough goals and his value for money rating must be pretty low based on his goals/assists to wages ratio. (That said Moxeys must be worse!)
    This scenario is like owning shares on the stock market .. do you sell them when they doing well or keep them in case they start to get better?
    Well at this point in time WOLVES are equal top of the league .. Have a better goal difference than 22 other clubs in the div .. Never play better without him .. score pretty well every game .. AND IMO ARE DOING WELL ENOUGH TO GET PROMOTED AUTOMATICALLY .. Conclusion ….DONT SELL! … simples


  14. I havent got a problem with him being sold or dropped but he has been a loyal servant to the club in times both good and bad which is unusual – he can leave with his head held higher than some.


  15. sevlow says:

    Whilst his goalscoring record is poor Doyler makes up for that with his application, guts, determination, ball control, game positioning, ability to run with the ball, ability to bring other players into the game and his vast experience makes him a stand out player for me.
    It is obvious to me that Griffiths is causing KJ concern. We have no idea what goes on off the pitch and in training. I trust KJ completely and sitting joint top of the division. I think that speaks volumes for the great work done by KJ and the team.

    Doyle is loyal, professional and we are lucky to have him.

    Merry Christmas and happy new year to you all



    • Ad Mant says:

      Agreed … notice the dip in performance when Doyle isnt around … he does a lot more than he is given credit for. Griffiths and the other “strikers” have been coming up short and we kinda have to hope there is a shiny new goalfinder and creative midifielder in our stockings tomorrow morning (well January)

      Merry Christmas !


  16. Danny Velinski says:

    In the film It’s a wonderful life Clarence Oddbody explains to George Bailey how the lives of the inhabitants of Bedford Falls would be altered for the worse if George had never existed. It is a film about how our lives affect more people than we realise. It is also a film about Kevin Doyle and how statistics don’t measure the contribution an individual player can make to a team. I am a big fan of statistics in arguing a point but they are not why I watch football. I can’t prove it but I believe that without Doyle we wouldn’t have lasted as long in Premiership as we did. I think his ability to play the lone striker covered up deficiencies in midfield while at the same time diminishing his potential as a striker. I hope he stays and continues to grace the Molineux with his style and industry. Everytime a whistle blows an angel gets its wings.


    • theDOOGooder says:

      Nice one Danny.
      I watched another Jimmy Stewart film yesterday.
      About a 6 foot tall invisible rabbit.
      That’s Doyle as a striker for me.
      Not 6 foot, but certainly an invisible rabbit.
      Doyle is not a striker – never has been.
      He is an attacking midfielder and should be played as such, or not at all, in my opinion.

      Bah! Humbug!


  17. A topically brilliant reply Danny! I do love your posts. I am watching that film with the Mrs tonight she tells me, funnily enough! However, your reference to a Premier League Doyle is kinda my point. He ain’t the same player anymore. It is this very reputation he still dines off. Once upon a time I’d have cried salt water if we’d sold him for 12 million! The film you quote is timeless. Doyle isn’t I’m afraid. Happy Christmas to you irrespective!


  18. Wolves4ever says:

    Happy Christmas to all Wolves fans around the world


  19. US Wolf says:

    I obviously have not seen enough of Doyler to meaningfully contribute.
    But one thing is for sure, his work ethic and professionalism are second to none.
    His goal return however is probably one of the poorest at any level, even for a so called second striker.
    Look at Henry for example.
    All I will say is…..where the chuff did that goal at Bristol last season come from, and why can’t he do that more often.


  20. Wight Wolf says:

    I have struggled to work out Doyler for years, as I have said before, he is a great player but 99% of the time nothing comes of his ball skills. Quite often in football a new start is what is required to get someone firing again and I think Doyler needs and deserves a fresh challenge.


  21. Clive from Houston says:

    And just to stir the shit a bit, can it be argued that the only reason for his loyalty is that no one wants him, and/or he has refused to go coz of his high salary?
    Nothing like a lovely debate on a cold and frosty morning!
    You will all be pleased to know that Mrs ClivefromHouston bought me a big red truck for Christmas, and my customized “Come On You Wolves” front plate looks bostin’!
    When I can work out how to post a picture on here I will share.
    Have a great Christmas everyone, and fill the Molineux with joyful noise on boxing day!


  22. Shrewswolf says:

    Stats are a general measure but do not include the human factor.
    I agree that if their were stats for assists to assists that Doyler would be up at the top.

    A good example of stats would be Bully’s prowess infront of goal, yet when other strikers included all goals… The living legend did not include penalties (of which he won a few) but Andy Thompson was the despatcher. We’re there any stats on penalties won?
    It’s a team game… The winner is the TEAM that score the most in that particular game and screw were the goals come from. If the ref is on the opposition byline when Ikeme launches it and it banjo’s in off the refs ass… should anyone complain that Doyler has not scored or been involved?

    We’re joint top with half the season to go… Let KJ sort out who should be in the team and if it go’s to shit then we’ll have something else to talk about!


  23. Peakwolf says:

    I’m with those who would pull Doyler back into midfield, leaving space for two genuine strikers. The difference he made when he came on at Bradford shows what he can do, though that was as second striker. Surely, like many other ageing, slowing strikers, he has a future in midfield, as holding or creative force. He is loyal and technically good and shouldn’t just be ditched, but I reckon he may now be doing the wrong job!


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