History repeating

While most Wolves fans will remember ‘that’ infamous ‘We will not do an Albion’ promise in 2010, many might forget that Jez Moxey also said:


“In 2003-04, we were clearly not well equipped to deal with the challenges. We were promoted through the play-offs and we were five or six weeks behind the other teams.”

Quite how many weeks we will be behind teams in League One once Moxey eventually decides upon Dean Saunders’ successor is anyone’s guess?

It’s fair to assume that an indulgent sun tan from Jez’s ludicrously timed holiday will have faded by the time an announcement is made, up to a month after the play-offs ended.

Three weeks have passed since Saunders was sacked and the club today say they’re only half way through the process, ahead of an August 3 Big Kick-Off.

Taking Jez Moxey’s words on face value – which is not necessarily advisable – we will make an appointment around 40 days before the new season starts.

How long does the new man get to assess our leaden footed failures? How long to bring his own players in?

Who buys players in the meantime? Who decides who goes? Who will want to come under such circumstances? Will Thelwell impersonate Connor with a Frank Nouble signing between then and now?

Jez Moxey is at pains to ‘get this one right’ but contrives to make the same glaring error that has blighted his sorry reign for so long…

…Namely, that he using this entire process as a vehicle to cover his own backside in the event of the club getting it wrong again, using our half-cocked previous managerial debacles as some sort of yardstick to be grateful for today.

In this whole sorry goose chase, one thing has become clear and after 22 days and it isn’t even a manager to fill the hotseat.

Once this charade has finally run its course, the miserable conclusion to draw will be the very one we that were promised would never happen again.

No root and branch overhaul, no inquest and no heads to roll for two years of history defining, record breaking incompetence.

It’s shameful enough that redundancies are planned to remove the real DNA from the club to justify the buffoonery that made it a haemorrhaging laughing stock in the first place.

It’s worse still to let the very perpetrator concoct his own timescales and make his own appointment which, in the wonderful world of Wolves, will not even make a blind bit of difference anyway.

Where did it all go wrong?

“Nothing is by chance,” said our chief executive Jez Moxey on September 5 2011. “You get what you put in in life generally.”

Jez and Steve

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.

Some things never change

An unfathomable cheap signing, a decline on a player’s wage and the sale of a World Cup midfielder before he’s had the chance to speak to his new manager…

Sold without a single chance to impress? Hilarious!

…Just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water.

Unconditionally accepting a West Ham reject who Stale Solbakken has not yet uttered a word about is one thing.

Refusing to back Stale Solbakken on his number one defensive target Vadim Demidov is another.

But to flog the only midfielder on our books capable of a player-of-the-season accolade – and two goal of the season awards for separate clubs – in the space of a dozen games?

And all that before Stale Solbakken has even had the chance to say hello to him – let alone see him on a DVD.

If the Norwegian’s temper tantrum with Pep Guardiola is anything to go by, you’d imagine he might be a bit peeved off right now.

With our local newspaper’s steadfast refusal to engage in the profession of journalism, it is left to us fans to speculate about the real motives that fester behind the corridors of Waterloo Road.

Jez and Steve vowed we’d never make the mistakes of 2010/11 in 2011/12.

Jez and Steve then promised to learn their lessons from 2011/12 in 2012/13 (with a director of football in place) and now they’re frantically undermining their new manager before he’s had the chance to go all progressive on us.

Selling Adlene Guedioura, without the Algerian ever getting the chance to impress his new manager proves one of two things.

  1. Our Continental, highly respected, multiple trophy winning manager is in fact fickle and doesn’t value his own opinion
  2. Our chief executive is again working towards a bonus with another asset stripping exercise

In the absence of any in-depth knowledge on the former and a whole heap of miserable experience with the latter, I know which one I’ll opt for.

Despite all the evidence pointing to the opposite, Adlene Guedioura might turn out to be a failure at  Forest.

Frank Nouble could come in and bang in 15 goals in a 2012 ode to Big Chris.

And the lad from Sociedad could have turned out to be Norway’s answer to Serge Romano.

In a notion seemingly exclusive for the one Black Country club bereft of any footballing knowledge, it actually doesn’t matter.

Because if a logical footballing proposition came and slapped Jez Moxey around his numerous flabby chins, he wouldn’t have the first idea what it would look like.