Archives for June 2010

Honesty is the best policy

I'll have an 'H' for honesty please Bob

With Countdown, Lucky Ladders and 15-1 capturing a nation’s imagination for so many years, it’s no wonder everyone is spending so bloody long trying to solve the England puzzle.

Forget Bent ‘Arry and Roy Hodgson. Let’s have William G Stewart in the Wembley dug-out to succeed Fabio. If Tom O’Connor wasn’t a foreigner, he could have done a job as head coach as well.

So many people are hypothesizing and analyzing where it all went wrong in South Africa, from some brainshrinking geopolitical and social factors given in a Simon Kuper book, to Matthew Syed’s (on BBC Breakfast) assertion that there is some ‘explainable unexplainable’ that debilitates every England player.

Jesus wept. Can’t we just say we were shit and have done with it?

It reminds me a fair bit of our great club during those wilderness years, where Paul Franks would earn his monthly Radio WM salary solely from Wolves fans in a single hour after a game.

‘It’s the Molineux Factor Franksy. The fans should get off their backs!’ (Tel from Wall Heath)

‘No it ain’t Tel, it’s all these washed up has-beens on one last big paycheck! Get rid! (Dazza from Stafford)

‘I’m sick of him playing players out of position. Round pegs in round holes please!’ (One of thousands)

It’s all I’ve heard on 5Live for the last two days and it sounds so familiar. Surely every one of us have the answer for those tubby, grubby little men down in Soho Square, having been in the FA’s situation for so many years ourselves.

And seeing as Brian Barwick’s ‘root and branch’ reform of the national game amounted to paying Capello £6 million a year and nothing else, how about they have a blog with us, where we can point them in the direction of Big Mick.

Better still, employ Big Mick, and instill the one virtue that I haven’t seen in an England team since 1998 – the same virtue I bask in every time I skip down Waterloo Road.

Honesty.

Remember the days when we’d shuffle through the turnstiles at 2.50pm, take our medicine and shuffle back from whence we came at the final whistle? When underachievement numbed our expression and diluted our passion? When your weekly natter with the bloke sat next to you was the overriding reason for turning up?

It’s been a bit like that for the past two weeks.

But as these last two years have shown us, success is far from insurmountable, and it’s certainly not mutually exclusive with a Three Lions badge, or a Wolves crest for that matter.

Football isn’t the Krypton Factor or Crosswits, and really can be quite gloriously simple. Simple to watch, simple to play, and simple for us all to evaluate, without the ‘explainable unexplainable.’

If Mick can thrust Darren Potter, Jemal Johnson, Craig Davies, Neill Collins and Gary Breen to within 180 minutes of the Premier League, then I’m damn sure England can do something similar on the world stage, eventually.

So the golden generation is dead? Not at Molineux it isn’t, and the FA could do worse than travel north of Watford Gap and have a look where a bit of honesty can take you.

Hello misery my old friend

England - gone but never forgotten (for being crap)

…And England sad, sad, sadly are out.

Deservedly so of course this time around, after yet another abject performance littered with individual mistakes and inexplicable ‘no-shows’ from one or two of our much-heralded superstars.

In fact, I’m already massaging my vocal chords for a vociferous sing-song of ‘Where were you in Africa’ directed at Wayne Rooney when he pays a visit to Molineux next season.

But a post about our national side’s shortcomings, this is not.

No, I want to talk about disappointment and, as a Wolves supporter, I feel well equipped to broach the subject.

Whether it be a relatively minor jab in the stomach, such as the two defeats to Birmingham last season or a full-on kick in the gonads like the 2001 collapse that saw Albion pip us to promotion, misery is very much an old acquaintance.

Supporting any football team is no picnic of course (save the likes of Man Utd, Barcelona, etc). You know there will always be ups and downs, yet somehow, coping with disappointment never becomes any easier.

Why is that?

We all have rituals in the aftermath of a particularly irksome defeat. My old favourite is to bury my head in the sand, avoid television like the plague and wallow in self-pity, surrounding myself with like-minded individuals in the warm bosom of the Wolves Blog community. (Come, join me)

But despite helping me feel a smidgen better, none of this makes the pain disappear. Not completely anyway.

So how do you move on and cure a severe case of football misery?

Well, seeing other team’s supporters suffer is certainly one tonic I can recommend. For instance, should Germany be brutally eliminated in the quarter-finals, I imagine we’ll all feel a little better. Not much, but a little.

Finding a scapegoat is an old favourite too. Whether it be Wayne Rooney for curiously forgetting how to play football, Fabio Capello for sending on Heskey when we needed three goals or that linesman who couldn’t see the ball was 3.4 miles over the line, pointing the finger of blame is an essential part of the recovery.

Time is the greatest healer though. Moving on to the next thing. Formulating a new dream to stubbornly cling onto until the walls of disappointment once again come crashing down around you and the circle is complete and the process starts all over again.

Or maybe, just maybe, this time will be different and hope and expectation will be rewarded and all will be right with the world for just a few glorious moments.

Before misery once again returns.

This is essentially, what being a football fan is all about.

Scores on the doors

Surman - we expeced better

There’s usually one or two ways to completely embarrass me as a Wolves fan:

1. Ask the old man to recall some old songs I used to sing about the club when I was a kid, which were as gay as Louie Spence.

“We’ve got Geoff Thomas and Mark Venus. Stevie Bull now you’d better believe us.”

2. Look at a picture of me and my sister in Wolves shirts when little nippers, to which my best mate once exclaimed: “Ben, I honestly didn’t know you had two sisters.”

3. More recently, have a look at a blog I wrote on here this time last season, when I gave my marks out of 10 for our dealings in the last summer transfer window.

We had just signed Halford and Surman in the space of a couple of days, to add to the Milijas and Doyle swoops, and like a giddy school child singing songs about Steve Bull, I gave our activities a 9/10.

This, despite not buying the proven Premier League players we so desperately needed, missing out on some targets like Dann, and Halford and Surman being shite and anonymous respectively.

God knows what came over me. I think I caught the sun.

So what now, after buying van Damme, Hunt, Mouyokolo and Fletcher, not to mention Guedioura on a full time contract? Oh, and Mujangi Bia, lest we forget?!

With another signing or two in the wings, it’s difficult to grumble isn’t it?

In fact, the perennial, perverse comfort of supporting a mid-table, mediocre, underperforming club has never felt so distant has it? We can leave such feelings for the national team these days.

The ‘closed’ sign that we’d joke is up outside the Molineux at this time of year is in the dustbin too, along with the well worn clichés that we used to peddle about the club.

The times they are a changing, that’s for sure. And in 20 + years of supporting Wolves, I can honestly say I have never felt more excited to be a fan, or more happy with our pre-season work.

Maybe the sun’s getting to me again!

Stephen Hunt transfer completed

Wolves have finally completed the signing of Stephen Hunt, ending one of the longest running transfer sagas in the club’s history. Read the full story on the club site here.

The deal is reported to be worth around £3 million by the Express and Star, but the club, as always, have not disclosed the exact figure paid to Hull to secure the Irish international.

I have mixed feelings about the deal. Signing an injured player is always a gamble, but a fully fit Stephen Hunt will certainly be an asset to Wolverhampton Wanderers, so hopefully he’ll be back out on the pitch sooner rather than later.

It feels like we’ve been talking about Hunt as a Wolves player for so long, that there’s not really much else to say.

But now that it’s finally official, what does everyone else think about Wolves latest acquisition?

Dear Jez Moxey

Dear Jez,

I have just returned home from the Wolverhampton Wanderers club shop having made the journey for the sole purpose of purchasing the new home replica shirt for the 2010/11 season.

I did not buy the shirt Jez.

Unfortunately, upon close inspection of the garment in question, I found it to be of such a sub-standard quality, that I was unwilling to part with the 40 quids worth of pocket money I’d saved up especially (I jest of course Jez, I’m a fully grown man).

I had been willing to overlook the hideous design. After all, we’ve had some stinkers in the past, but I, like so many others, have tolerated these crimes against fashion and happily dolled over the cash.

But not this time. Not this time Jez.

You see, the problem isn’t the tangy, luminous orange that seems to have become a tradition at our great club. Nor is it the cheap manner in which the club sponsors logo is emblazoned across the front of the shirt. I can tolerate those things Jez, just about.

I can also tolerate the fact that the club now change the home shirt once a year Jez, doubling the amount of money you shake out of thousands of loyal supporters who relish sporting the latest incarnation of the club’s colours. Although, admittedly I was appalled by the fact you deemed it necessary for the players to wear this latest abomination of a shirt in the final home game of the season against Sunderland, meaning the last home shirt wasn’t even worn for one complete season. Quite remarkable. No wait, not remarkable Jez, despicable.

Still, I tolerated it.

No, my grievance Jez, what has upset me so, is that this shirt is perfectly square.

Very wide and very short is not a good look, particularly on someone like me, who isn’t very wide or very short. Of course from the morbidly obese dwarf about town, you might well receive more favourable feedback, but surely even they will acknowledge that this is a poor effort from both Burda and the club.

Please note at this point that I was not one of the supporters who berated you for aligning us all with an unknown sports manufacturer. In fact, I welcomed your enterprise at the time in securing such a lucrative arrangement. However, I expected better than this Jez. Much better.

I imagine your response to this criticism would of course feature prominently the usual diatribe of ‘we consulted a group of fans’ or ‘we voted on the design’, but if the end product looks and feels like something that’s rolled off the production line at Bilston Market, I’m afraid that doesn’t cut the mustard Jez.

You might also point to the fact that the shirt is selling well (I’d be very interested to see the numbers) but please, don’t for one moment believe that this is any sort of recognition for a job well done. The loyal supporters of this great football club will always pony over the dough, whether it’s for a vastly overpriced ticket or a replica shirt that doesn’t fit properly.

But not me. Not this time.

As you’ve more than likely perceived, I am greatly vexed by this issue Jez, which is why I have written this letter, in the hope that you, our chief executive, can perhaps take steps to ensure a similar catastrophe is avoided this time next year, when yet another home shirt will no doubt be on the market.

I hope you appreciate my considered feedback Jez, despite the negative nature of my comments and I look forward to your response.

All the best,

Thomas
Season Ticket holder in the Steve Bull Stand.

P.s. Congratulations on the plans to redevelop Molineux and the latest additions to the playing staff, two things you’ll be glad to learn, met with my approval.

P.p.s please don’t sell Kevin Doyle.

Mouyokolo transfer completed

Wolves have completed the signing of Hull defender Steven Mouyokolo for a reported £2.5 million (although, as always with Wolves, the official fee is ‘undisclosed’).

Read the full story on the Wolves site here.

It’s nice to see the defence bolstered with a pacy center-half, who by all accounts was one of Hull’s best players last season, despite their relegation and horrendous defensive record.

Considering he’s so highly rated, you’d assume he’ll be pushing hard for a starting place, so it will be interesting to see if he can force his way into the side.

With three solid additions already in the bag, along with Adlene Guedioura, the loan signing of Bia and the prospect of one or two more still to come, I’m happy with how the Wolves squad is shaping up.

Is everyone else equally content?