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.


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!