Archives for November 2010

Jelle Van Damme – Numpty!

The word ‘numpty’ has been used a fair bit by our esteemed manager in the last couple of days.

Shame that he didn’t once use it to describe Jelle Van Damme, who can now go down in the annals of history as the worst signing Wolverhampton Wanderers has ever made in its 133 year history (barring Zeljko Kalac).

Fancy a fight Audley?!

It was 1 up to us when we allegedly beat the Baggies to his signature, as our arch rivals had to settle for Nicky Shorey from the Villa. Ha ha, who’s got the last laugh now losers!

Yet after just five months, Van Damme has gone back home in the most anti-climactic farce since Audley Harrison.

Brought in as a savior to our insolvable left back problem, the lean, mean footballing machine soon had us worried when Max Gradel pulled his pants down at Elland Road a dozen times or more.

First impressions last, for sure. Perhaps he saw a load of withered England flags on clapped out cars, circling a withered, clapped out ring road.

We saw the most racked off debut since George Weah got his mate a game for Southampton under Souness.

Maybe he was homesick even back then. Most fans were just pig sick that we still had a gaping hole in our back four that £2.5 million couldn’t fill.

So the question now is, what do we do with the £2.5 million that must now be back at our disposal for the January window?

 It should pay for a chunk of David Bentley’s wages  shouldn’t it? Or even better…a bone fide left back of some description!!

Up for the cup?

When it comes to euphoric, unforgettable victories to treasure, nobody does it better than the FA Cup.

It’s always the same at this time of year. The waft of Deep Heat cuts a warm path to the heart as you recollect some of your fondest footballing memories – often to do with the competition we have won four times.

Last season's cup run ended in humiliation at Selhurst Park

FA Cup third round weekend is football from the old school. Teams going at each other like rabid dogs, fervent supporters so close they are on the pitch, floodlights illuminating the chill and preferably, the sight of a terraced stand or two.

When we heard we had dropped on Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat, most of us sighed.

Not me. ‘Tis the stuff that dreams are made of! We might all moan to one another about the prospect, but deep inside we get off on it. The only shame is that the Belle Vue ground isn’t the backdrop for the muck and nettles that will follow.

Bland Premier League theme replaced by a tub thumping local beat; accent of Yorkshire PA announcer thicker than a pie crust and the sight, somewhere, of a cardboard FA Cup covered in tin foil.

If we win, we can moan some more about the injustice of having to go to Doncaster in the first place, which was obviously the most unenviable draw for any club in the history of the competition. As we progress through the rounds, we can all harp on about the day we had to beat Doncaster Rovers at their place in arctic conditions.

If we win, we can enjoy the best Match of the Day programme of the year, watching a Bedlington Terrier or a Vauxhall Motor doing remarkable things in front of a packed grass bank.

Like a 10 year-old kid and his faith in Father Christmas, I still believe in the FA Cup and won’t listen if anyone tells me otherwise.

Come January 8, we will all keep one eye on the game and the other on page 2 of the Premier League table.

I won’t be. I’m going! Most probably in two pairs of thermal socks and a pair of Long Johns.

Why? Because I still remember us scoring three second half goals at Mansfield, O’Neill Donaldson, an injury time Kevin Keen goal at Vale Park and a brave defeat at Brian Clough’s Forest.

I know we all yearn for Premiership survival. But for one weekend I just want a Tony Gubba voiceover, a Lightning Seeds soundtrack and a bit of magic for the good old days.

Wolves 3 Sunderland 2

Ten minutes is a long time in football.

Entering the final stages of this one at 2-1 down, misery had returned, Mick McCarthy was clueless and Wolves were all but relegated.

Yet somehow, by full-time, it was smiling faces, Mick was the hero and the fightback was very much on.

SEB clinically despatched his late chance

Happy days.

And make no mistake about it, our manager deserves a substantial slab of the credit for this result. After all, both his substitutions paid off big time, with Hunt tapping in the equaliser and SEB clinically slamming home the winner in the dying moments.

The gaffer’s influence spread further too. Playing Elokobi in the middle, bringing the awesome Ronald Zubar in at full-back and moving Foley into midfield proved a masterstroke. After all, big George proved to be our stronger center-half, Zubar was man of the match and Foley coolly slotted home the opener. Can’t ask much more than that.

It didn’t all go right though.

Having gone a goal up just after the break, Wolves immediately set about defending like it was the final five minutes. And you can’t camp out in your penalty area when there’s still half and hour to go, particularly against a side with a wealth of attacking options.

We nearly paid the price for that negative approach too, going from a goal up to a goal down in the space of ten horrid minutes. First, Richard Stearman let a flick-on run across his body, allowing Darren Bent to scamper clear and finish emphatically. And when a cross from deep was nodded passed Wayne Hennessy by the unmarked Danny Wellbeck, I think we all feared the worst.

But if there is a lack of quality in certain areas of this Wolves side, you certainly can’t question the character and determination of anyone in a gold shirt. You only have to look at the desire shown by Elokobi, climbing highest to power in the header that lead to Hunt’s equaliser, to see how desperate these players are to turn things around.

Two players you can’t question the quality of are Doyle and Milijas, both of whom conjured sublime passes from nothing, opening the gates for SEB to power home his fourth Premier League goal of the season.

And what a finish it was from our number 9, readjusting his feet in the blink of an eye and taking aim to lift the ball high into the net, gobbling up a chance we quite simply couldn’t afford to miss.

What a moment.

Of course, this crucial win won’t turn our season around on it’s own.

But it’s a start.

And after the last few miserable weeks, I’ll take that.