Archives for August 2010

Fans Parliament

Any questions for Jez?

As a Wolves Blog regular, I thought some of you may be interested to know I’m serving a two year term on the Wolves Fans Parliament starting this month. I’ve never done it before so maybe it will prove a complete waste of time but if any of you have any issues that you would like to raise with Jez Moxey & co then I’ve been told to submit an agenda for the first meeting by September 8th.

A few things spring to mind – I will certainly be looking for more clarity on the Stadium expansion plans because it would seem to me that we have had limited information on this thus far – especially given that, all being well, the North Bank will be knocked down as soon as May next year. How will all this affect capacity / season ticket holders / pricing going forward?

Again, if you guys have any other concerns that you would like me to raise then just let me know and I’ll try and get the points across.

UTW

Wolves to sign Marcus Bent on loan

Bent - on loan until January

If Marcus Bent had brought Danielle Lloyd to Molineux with him after signing on loan, I’d be mildly excited as a Wolves fan right now.

Unfortunately, the busty Scouser moved on to better things some time ago and is no longer with the Birmingham City reject. I’d have thought we’d have done likewise.

The 32 year-old nomad is our much discussed fourth striker and will be playing for his 14th club when he pulls on the old gold shirt in the near future. Surely that says something?

However, without wanting to bemoan the acquisition without giving him a chance, it is time to welcome the big man to the bosom of our squad and hope he notches some important goals for us, like he used to for Sheffield United all those years ago.

The problem has always been: How much quality can you attract to a club when the manager is selling a position on the subs bench? Maybe our new, sunken dugouts look a bit more cosy than those harsh looking blue ones at St Andrews?

The plus points: Bent will score more goals and put himself about more than Andy Keogh if given half a chance. He has Premiership experience (bloody loads of it!) and he will not need to settle in the area as he is already living here (scratching the barrel a bit now).

I can only go on what I have seen, which was actually quite encouraging. He bullied Michael Mancienne all over Molineux when we dew with the Blues 1-1 in our Championship winning season, and looked surprisingly mobile too.

If Mick thinks he can do a job, then let’s get behind Marcus and wish him all the best.

If it was down to me, I’d have kept Iwelumo, who is younger, statistically more prolific, and more likely to mess up an opposing centre half like Andy Carroll did to us on Saturday.

Better still, I’d have phoned Danielle Lloyd up and asked her what her current boyfriend is up to once his back gets better!

Wolves 1 Newcastle 1

SEB has started the season impressively

Crunching tackles, bad decisions and well taken goals are the three things that will live long in the memory about this bruising afternoon at Molineux.

From the moment Karl Henry piled into Joey Barton in front of an approving South Bank, fairly I might add, the tone of the match was set and neither side shied away from this all or nothing, blood and thunder contest.

Kevin Doyle, Jelle van Damme, Matt Jarvis, David Jones, Adlene Guedioura, Ronald Zubar and a handful of Magpies all joined Henry in the book, some more deserving of their punishment than others.

This was a horrid match to referee, with both sides up for the scrap, but the man in the middle did himself few favours with a string of decisions that incensed the crowd and did little to appease either set of players.

The worst call, his failure to award Wolves a second half penalty was not only grossly incompetent but completely illogical. As Matt Jarvis skipped by James Perch and tumbled over the defender’s clumsy tackle, the outcome seemed obvious.

But having not given the penalty, not booked Jarvis for diving and not awarded a corner, what exactly was the referee’s conclusion? The answer to that, we will probably never know.

Of course at that point, Wolves were already a goal to the good thanks to an exquisite piece of skill and a finish to match from the resurgent Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

Plucking a looping cross out of the sky and swivelling to fire the ball home in two sublime movements was our number 9 at his ruthless best and capped a performance full of endeavour.

Mick obviously appreciated his efforts too, choosing to withdraw Kevin Doyle when the time came to introduce Steven Fletcher. That was massive statement to make but one you’re hard pressed to argue with given Blake’s early season form.

Newcastle of course have a striker bang in form too and Andy Carroll’s measured header to drag the Geordies level was just reward for a towering performance in which he won practically every header.

It’s not often you’ll see Craddock and Berra bullied in the air, but that’s exactly what the young forward achieved and it surely wont’t be long until Fabio recognises the impact this powerhouse could have on our national side.

So ultimately, the spoils were shared and whilst both teams will feel they could have won it, both can count themselves lucky not to have come away from this bruising encounter with nothing.

And the fact both sides finished with eleven men on the pitch is, quite frankly, a miracle.

Wolves Vs Newcastle United Preview

Both Wolves and Newcastle head into Saturday’s match with great confidence following positive results last time out.

After Sylvan grabbed us a deserved point at Goodison Park, 24 hours later the Magpies put six passed Aston Villa, emphatically announcing their return to the top flight.

Mancienne - back in on another season long loan

As a consequence this game really is beautifully poised with both Mick McCarthy and Chris Hughton probably feeling this fixture represents a solid opportunity to get another early-season win and put some vital points on the board.

Interestingly, Newcastle haven’t made any significant additions to the side that won the Championship at a canter. However, some may argue their squad was already good enough to compete in the Premiership and if last weekend’s mauling of Villa is anything to go by, you’d be hard-pressed to disagree.

Experienced trio Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Alan Smith provide the know-how and with the likes of Wayne Routledge and Andy Carroll, they have a few young guns  looking to prove themselves. I think this gives their side a nice balance.

Carroll in particular has been impressive in the opening two games, notching a hat-trick last weekend and causing Villa no end of problems. Craddock and Berra will certainly have their hands full trying to restrict his influence.

For Wolves, we’ll be looking for a repeat of the first-half heroics that saw off Stoke on opening day. Hopefully Steven Fletcher will recover from his severely bruised foot, as Mick McCarthy is desperately short on attacking options after allowing Andy Keogh to join Cardiff.

Adlene Guedioura must be pushing hard for a place in the starting eleven following his vital contribution in rescuing a point from Everton. I’d imagine Mick will give him a chance on the right side of midfield, with Jarvis switching to the left, Elokobi getting the axe and Ward slotting in at left-back.

There are other options too. Zubar impressed in midweek so perhaps he’s in contention. van Damme may also return and after an determined performance against Stoke, he could well return to the side.

The news has literally just broken too that Michael Mancienne has signed on another season-long loan. He will no doubt take his place amongst the substitutes on Saturday but will certainly come into contention in the coming weeks. (Read the story from the Wolves site here: http://www.wolves.co.uk/page/News/0,,10307~2135014,00.html)

Here’s my predicted eleven:

Hahnemann

Foley
Berra
Craddock
Ward

Guedioura
Henry
Jones
Jarvis

Doyle
SEB

Prediction League

You’ll all be glad to know that I lead the Prediction League having correctly guessed the two results so far. Congratulations also to New kid on the blog who, like me, has a maximum return and sits on top of the pile.

Take a bow Super Kev Doyle, David, Jon Sidwell and t’OM for getting the result spot-on at Everton last weekend.

You can look at the full table via the menu at the top of the page or by clicking here.

It’s not too late to join in, so if you’d like to make a prediction, simply do so by leaving a comment below.

This weekend, I’m going all out for 3-1 Wolves win.

If you’re going to the game, have a great time and get behind the lads.

Up The Wolves.

Matt Murray Retires

Matt Murray has announced that he is retiring from professional football.

Read the full story on the official site: http://www.wolves.co.uk/page/News/0,,10307~2135293,00.html

This is such a sad, but predictable end, to what should have been a career at the very highest level.

Regardless, we’ll all remember Matt fondly for some towering performances, not least his heroics in that play-off final against Sheffield United back in 2003.

Despite being plagued with injury for almost his entire career, he was also voted player of the season in 2006, Mick McCarthy’s first year at the club. The highlight of that particular campaign for me was the 1-0 home win over Albion in which Matt single-handedly  kept the Baggies out with a string of fine saves.

I’ve never met him, but anyone I’ve spoken to who has always says the same thing, ‘what a top bloke’.

Hopefully there’s a role for him at the club, but whatever he goes on to do, good luck to him.

Thanks for the memories Matty!

Wolves scrape through as Keogh joins Cardiff

The players celebrate Stearman's extra-time winner

A Richard Stearman goal was enough to ensure Wolves squeezed passed Southend in the second round of the Carling Cup. But having squandered the lead given to them by Nenad Milijas from the penalty spot, they needed extra time to see off the plucky League Two outfit.

I wasn’t at the game so I can’t really assess individual performances but based on the scoreline, I can only surmise that it wasn’t a sparkling team effort from our second string. Anyone who did go, please chip in with feedback in the comment section below.

What I can say is that I would have been gutted to have seen us limp out in the early stages of a competition I feel we have every chance of doing well in this season. A good cup run is certainly long overdue.

Of course, while that was going on, Andy Keogh was putting the finishing touches on a season-long loan move to Cardiff. Here’s what Mick McCarthy said about the striker’s move following last night’s match:

“It’s a racing certainty that Andy will be going to Cardiff.”

“He didn’t want to be cup tied and Cardiff didn’t want him to be cup tied and it was a chance for us to give Ashley Hemmings a game.

“Andy has been fabulous here both for me and this football club.

“It’s a good move for him to go to Cardiff and good luck to him.

“He wants to play football and doesn’t want to be fourth in line here which I can fully understand.

“It was my decision to let him go but he goes with our best wishes and warmest regards.”

What surprises me about this move is that Cardiff already have a wealth of strikers on their books, with Chopra, Bothroyd and Bellamy the preferred trio. It seems entirely plausible that Keogh could become their fourth choice, unless he knows something I don’t. Regardless, good luck to him.

Anyway, with Keogh seemingly now out of the picture, I’ll be staggered if the transfer window shuts and we haven’t brought in another striker to compliment the three we have on the books.

The rumour circulating last night was that Michael Mancienne was close to completing a move to Wolves as a replacement for Keogh in the 25-man squad. And while I’d be happy to welcome the Chelsea-man back, whether it be in a loan deal or permanently, I can’t help but feel we’d be left short in the attacking third.

Caleb Folan from Hull has been linked with Wolves in recent weeks, so perhaps something will develop on that front.

Looking at the three forwards we have, I can’t shake the suspicion that Mick will want a more physical option to throw on in games where it’s difficult to get the ball down and play. If that is the case, I wouldn’t mind seeing us make a move for someone like Jason Roberts at Blackburn. Not the most technically gifted player around, but a proven threat at Premiership level and destined for the exit door from Ewood Park this month.

So a busy 24 hours and some interesting developments around Molineux.

What do we all think?