Archives for March 2012

Wolves Vs Bolton Wanderers Preview

After the previous meeting between these two sides ended in a draw back in December, I was convinced Wolves would finish outside the bottom three.

We played appallingly for much of the game at the Reebok, yet by the end we probably should have won after drawing level and dominating the closing stages.

Bolton looked very much like a team on their knees. Blackburn were also toiling and Wigan’s destiny seemed all but a foregone conclusion.

Spoils shared at the Reebok

How wrong could I have been?

All of those sides now look distinctly better equipped to survive than our lot as we head into the business end of the season.

Still, for all the problems of late, both on and off the field, winning this vital fixture would immediately change the complexion of things.

And Wolves must win.

Must win.

Anything but 3 points is a disaster for TC and the boys, given the remaining fixtures they’re faced with, especially at Molineux. After Bolton depart tomorrow, we can look forward to welcoming Arsenal, Man City and Everton – none of whom look ripe for the picking.

Despite winning 4 away games this season, Bolton have lost the other 10. Only QPR have been beaten as many times on their travels.

Owen Coyle’s side do however come into this match after back-to-back Premier League wins against QPR and Blackburn. They’ll fancy making it a hat-trick too against a Wolves side who’ve lost more home games than any other side in the league (10).

The Team

I think when you’re on such an appalling run, it becomes difficult to know what options to try next. TC must surely be scratching his head wondering what combination to field in what must be his last realistic chance to salvage the season. Assuming fitness of certain players, this would be my XI:

Hennessey, Zubar, Johnson, Bassong, Ward, Edward, Milijas, Henry, Jarvis, Fletcher, Doyle

If Henry is fit, he must play. We’ve missed him, particularly in the Blackburn and Norwich games where there was the realistic possibility of getting a result had we been able to plug the holes in midfield.

I’d also bring Milijas back into the center of midfield in the hope that he can give our starved forwards something else to feed on. I don’t think the Serbian is the type of player who can make an impact from the bench. He either needs to play from the start or not at all for me.

Prediction League

3 people got the scoreline spot-on against Norwich last weekend. Well done to Ade in China, Rich and Haywood Wolf who all pick up 3 points.

17 others take a single point for getting the outcome correct without the score.

I wish I could be positive heading into this game, but I’ve seen nothing of late to suggest we have enough belief to beat anybody.

I think it will probably be a draw, which is no good to Wolves at this stage of the season.

1-1

If you’re at Molineux tomorrow, have a great time and lets really get behind the lads.

Up The Wolves.

Five solutions

“Don’t go giving me problems, just find me some solutions,” screamed the boss on a particularly testing afternoon in the office.

Bellow it in uncouth Scouse accent with a smattering of expletives and it could have been the same rant in the home dressing room after Liverpool.

It is this very sentiment that underpins everything to have gone wrong in this sorry season, from the players and the manager(s), right up to the boneheads with the ‘business brains.’

There have been precisely no resolutions to a whole heap of headaches this season – many of them inflicted upon ourselves, to make matters worse.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word. It needn't be for the two Ms!

So with my love levels for Wolves sinking to a near lifeless state of indifference, I have created five solutions to reunite me with the club I can barely relate to anymore.

1. Keep the early-bird prices open until the day of our first championship game:

With unemployment levels at around 10 per cent in Wolverhampton and Early Bird sales down 18 per cent, it would surely work on financial grounds, if not sympathetic ones. Not that Jez uses either.

2. Put on some free travel for fans going to the remaining away games:

Norwich and West Brom are but two clubs to reward their fans’ fanaticism with free travel this season, acknowledging the great lengths they go to.

Difference is, they have won twice and three times the away games as our poor lot have.

And they are run by Delia Smith and Jeremy Peace.

3. Get rid of Terry Connor as soon as the final whistle blows against Wigan:

No farting about and waiting for people to come back from their holidays. No loitering with zero intent until mid-July when we’re lined up to play Kidderminster Harriers at Aggborough.

Get shot forthwith and sweep with a new broom, not the plastic dustpan and brush we’ve used since Mick went.

We need a new pair of eyes and in visionary terms, Connor has a cataract in his left and glaucoma in his right.

4. Do not sell Adlene Guedioura or Adam Hammill:

Bring them back, along with Batth, Cassidy, Griffiths, Reckord, Winnall and any other poor marginalised sod stuck out in the great footballing ether. Let the new manager judge each one, free of blinkered, pig headed dogmatism. Rate them on their merits and not the amount of excrement on their noses. Then decide.

5. Say sorry:

I’m sure Elton John coined a phrase about sorry being the hardest word.  In this unmitigated season of sin, a modicum of humility could have narrowed the ever increasing chasm between board and fans. (We can sing it to Elton at Vicarage Road!)

That Roger Johnson, Mick McCarthy and Jez Moxey have embarked on a crass PR ploy to blame the fans to cover their own arses during the season has been a pill too bitter for many to swallow.

Newsflash: We are not fickle. We just want to be reunited with our club – whether  at Bramall Lane or White Hart Lane.

Feed today, gone tomorrow

I suspect relegation from the Premier League will hinder Wolves Blog almost as much as it will the club we commentate on.

Three seasons of top flight football have ensured Ben and I can more or less take in every single game courtesy of season tickets, a sprinkling of away ground visits and a substantial amount of web-watching.

Even on Saturday, after new regulations came into place limiting the coverage of 3pm kick-offs from European feeds, I was still able to find a web site kind enough to show the Norwich game, allowing me to formulate an opinion on the full 90 minutes as apposed to just 5 minutes of highlights.

Are web streams really damaging the English game?

Championship football is not nearly as well catered for and try as we might, 23 away ground visits is going to be a stretch given our respective personal commitments and the fact we don’t get paid for doing this.

Suffice to say then, as our position amongst the elite has become more perilous with each passing week, this issue of how football matches are broadcast on television and the internet has become central to my thoughts.

What is the best and fairest way forward for all parties concerned?

Speaking selfishly as both a blogger and a football supporter, I think people should be able to view every single game regardless of whether they can be at the ground or not. There are cameras there, we have the technology, so why not make it available?

Money, that’s why.

Both Sky and the Premier League simply don’t want to relinquish any power and why would they? They’re onto too good a thing, with a vice-like grip on the English game, ultimately controlling the purse strings of every single club in the football league.

As a consequence, the people who run football clubs (such as our very own Jez Moxey), dance to the beat of the above two giants, hiding behind the veil of ‘illegal streams are damaging attendances and ruining the sport’.

But believe me when I say that no chairman or CEO is truly worried about empty stadiums, they’re only worried about empty tills.

And speaking from a Wolves perspective, a drop in gate receipts over the last 12 months has more to do with what we’ve seen out on the pitch than what we have the option of seeing down the local pub.

I believe it’s sustainable for every game to be broadcast, without crowds dropping and the English game suffering. It’s just that the current arrangement is far too cosy for the powers that be to lobby for change.

But in the age of the internet, change is precisely what’s required.

In the meantime, I’m already plotting my trip to Peterborough.