Archives for July 2012

Comings…and goings?

News of a rejected £10 million bid from Sunderland for Steven Fletcher comes as little surprise and it’s now surely a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ our prize asset heads for the exit.

Jez Moxey was quick to roll out the tried and tested company line, insisting our best players wouldn’t be leaving, but I think we’ve all been around the block enough times to know Fletch will be packing his bags the minute someone stumps up a decent wad of cash.

Funnily enough, when we signed the Scot two years ago, it followed our CEO stating only days previously that we had no interest in the player. And then voila!

I’m not having a dig by any means, this is how negotiations work. We had to keep other interested parties at bay back then and now we have to play all the same cloak and dagger games to get the asking price.

A stack of people on the BBC website seemed to think £10 million was a lot of money for Fletch, but I think when you look at his goals to game ratio in the Premier League, particularly when you consider the teams he’s played in, you can understand why Wolves are holding out for more.

In the right team, I have no doubt in my mind Fletch would easily surpass the 20 goal mark. My gut feeling is that he’ll eventually leave for a fee of £12-14 million with add-ons. Both Sunderland and Villa could feasibly find this cash and if Fulham allow Clint Dempsey to leave (probably to Liverpool when Carroll shifts) then I think they’ll also show their hand.

These are of course just my personal theories.

Meanwhile, new players continue to arrive. Welcome Tongo Doumbia.

Like all of you (I’m guessing) I know nothing of the midfielder, but if he can get up and down the pitch and put his foot in, then he’s a welcome addition to the squad.

We saw the impact Frimpong had last year in a short run of games and I’m assuming Doumbia is a player in the same mould. Looking forward to seeing what he’s about.

There’s no doubting we’re overloaded in the middle of the park at present. I count seven central midfielders (Henry, Milijas, O’Hara, Jonnson, Edwards, Davis and Dioumba). Even with Guedioura gone, surely at least one of these players will make way? It’ll be interesting to see who.

One player definitely on his way out is Sam Vokes. It looks like the striker is off to Burnley. Good luck to him there. He did fantastically well for us in the Championship winning season and he’ll always be fondly remembered for that.

But again, we’re overloaded up front and someone had to make way. He was always the likeliest candidate.

Walsall 0 Wolves 3

With so much talk of Stale Solbakken’s progressive approach to football, the biggest irony of our Walsall procession was the first meaningful moment of it.

All very serene at the Banks’s

A big boot from De Vries, a defensive blunder and a big uncompromising forward making no mistake with a crisp finish.

Not the most dynamic of deadlock breakers, but probably the most appropriate for the uncompromising Championship world that lies in wait.

Being easy on the eye will never be a priority in the land of the ‘Leccy League, so Frank Nouble’s no-nonsense finish was as relevant as it was refreshing.

The big man’s all round display was the overriding highlight of the afternoon, reminding us of what we so sorely missed at times during last season’s debacle.

Strong, pacey and a handful at all times, Nouble must be in with a serious shout for our league opener at Leeds if continues to impress.

In an uneventful first half befitting of a pre-season friendly, we learnt little else apart from a potential role for Adam Hammill this season, if his little cameo – and Stale response to it – was anything to go by.

His goal came courtesy of another defensive error, but his appetite appeared to be whetted and he showed far more on the left side of midfield than Forde, who switched to left back when Elokobi went off injured.

Kightly played central, behind Nouble, and looked as lean and mean as I can remember in another encouraging sign.

With defensive midfield pair of Jonsson and Davis behind him, not to mention an unfit O’Hara, he wasn’t given much to go on, mind.

A raft of second half changes gave the game a lift, with more encouraging signs.

  • Stephen Ward looked particularly impressive, setting up Doyle for the third
  • Doyle looked more like his old self
  • Roger Johnson looked committed to the cause and particularly vocal

In short, every player looked fit, healthy and more importantly happy.

With 20 days still left before the Leeds United curtain raiser, let’s hope they all stay that way!

Comment policy

Whilst the last few days have provided fantastic debate, I feel the need the clarify some of the rules about commenting on Wolves Blog.

Of course I don’t expect everyone to agree, I’d be disappointed if they did. But it’s the manner of some recent responses that concern me.

As you all know, I don’t modify comments before they appear below the articles. I want the conversation to flow quickly and freely as I believe it should on all football forums.

The only thing I have always asked is that people don’t abuse this system by directing offensive comments at other users of the blog.

I simply won’t tolerate it any longer.

I’ve trashed a number of comments from the below post, which I deem to have contravened this one very simple rule.

To be clear:

1. DO NOT make offensive, personal or abusive comments towards another commentator on the blog. Swear all you want, just don’t point it at others.

2. DO NOT question whether other commentators really support the club. This includes placing “fans” inside speech marks. Whether we all agree or not, I’m certain every person here supports the club.

From this point forward I want to make it abundantly clear that if you post a comment that goes against either of the above rules, both Ben and I reserve the right to modify or completely remove the comment without warning.

I hope you’ll all agree with our stance on this.

Thanks again for being part of the blog.

Up The Wolves.

Some things never change

An unfathomable cheap signing, a decline on a player’s wage and the sale of a World Cup midfielder before he’s had the chance to speak to his new manager…

Sold without a single chance to impress? Hilarious!

…Just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water.

Unconditionally accepting a West Ham reject who Stale Solbakken has not yet uttered a word about is one thing.

Refusing to back Stale Solbakken on his number one defensive target Vadim Demidov is another.

But to flog the only midfielder on our books capable of a player-of-the-season accolade – and two goal of the season awards for separate clubs – in the space of a dozen games?

And all that before Stale Solbakken has even had the chance to say hello to him – let alone see him on a DVD.

If the Norwegian’s temper tantrum with Pep Guardiola is anything to go by, you’d imagine he might be a bit peeved off right now.

With our local newspaper’s steadfast refusal to engage in the profession of journalism, it is left to us fans to speculate about the real motives that fester behind the corridors of Waterloo Road.

Jez and Steve vowed we’d never make the mistakes of 2010/11 in 2011/12.

Jez and Steve then promised to learn their lessons from 2011/12 in 2012/13 (with a director of football in place) and now they’re frantically undermining their new manager before he’s had the chance to go all progressive on us.

Selling Adlene Guedioura, without the Algerian ever getting the chance to impress his new manager proves one of two things.

  1. Our Continental, highly respected, multiple trophy winning manager is in fact fickle and doesn’t value his own opinion
  2. Our chief executive is again working towards a bonus with another asset stripping exercise

In the absence of any in-depth knowledge on the former and a whole heap of miserable experience with the latter, I know which one I’ll opt for.

Despite all the evidence pointing to the opposite, Adlene Guedioura might turn out to be a failure at  Forest.

Frank Nouble could come in and bang in 15 goals in a 2012 ode to Big Chris.

And the lad from Sociedad could have turned out to be Norway’s answer to Serge Romano.

In a notion seemingly exclusive for the one Black Country club bereft of any footballing knowledge, it actually doesn’t matter.

Because if a logical footballing proposition came and slapped Jez Moxey around his numerous flabby chins, he wouldn’t have the first idea what it would look like.

Well deserved

I was pleased to hear Jody Craddock has been offered a contract, pushing his stay at the club beyond the 10-year mark.

Not many players hang around long enough to earn a testimonial these days and anyone else who remembers his traumatic first season at Wolves will know exactly how hard he’s had to work to get here.

He won’t play regularly, but you just know whatever the team, whatever the situation, Jody will come in and do a job if called upon.

Another defender I hope to see staying is Ronald Zubar. Details of a rejected £1.8 million bid from Besiktas have emerged today, which is  sizable chunk to turn down for a player entering the last year of his contract.

Hopefully that signals the club’s intent to hold onto the Frenchman. I truly believe he’ll be a force in the Championship, where his pace and power will come to the fore and the odd lapse in concentration he suffers won’t be as costly.

More interesting comments from our manager this week too. How great to hear Solbakken talking candidly about creating an identity for the side by having a clear style of play:

The first is that I want to create a style of play where everyone can recognise Wolves from game to game.

“I want people to recognise our style whether we’re playing Manchester United in the FA Cup or Aldershot in the Capital One Cup.

“We want to be a team that will be 85-90 per cent the same all the time and then we have to adjust depending on the opposition for the other 10-15 per cent of the time.”

Without wanting to sound smug, I spoke about this exact issue nearly a year ago in this article. In a nutshell, all successful sides have a clearly defined style of play and that’s exactly the direction we need to be heading.

What does everyone think about the new away kit?

The vomit-inspired colour combination isn’t my cup of tea, but it does hark about to the late 90s as we continued our long struggle to escape the Championship.

Who says the club don’t have a sense of humour?

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Welcome Björn

Just when I was getting used to adding the semi-ligature to Ståle, Björn Bergmann Sigurðarson signs on the dotted line – umlauts and all.

£2.4 million is the reported fee, which is a sizable wad for any Championship side to invest, particularly in a 21-year-old with no experience of the English game.

Still, I’m excited.

Whether it’s the YouTube saturation or the fact we’ve been starved of any real variety up front since Chris Iwelumo left, I’m not quite sure.

Either way, I like the look of this kid.

Above and beyond anything else, he’s direct, which again can only be a good thing in a Wolves team that has too often been anything but in forward positions.

A raw talent could be the order of the day and he’ll be an unknown quantity come the first game of the season. Perhaps that too can work in our favour?

You have to treat these video clips with a pinch of salt though. I remember seeing similar compilations of both Mujangi Bia and Guedioura a few seasons back. It was the former who caught the eye and seemed the most promising signing, but the latter ended up having a far, far greater impact.

The truth is, until they pull on the gold shirt and step out on the pitch you just never really know what you’re going to get from a foreign import.

And speaking of foreign imports, another player we’ve been strongly linked with is Real Sociedad defender Vadim Demidov. That deal is reportedly close to completion. He’s apparently a ‘footballing’ center half, which again points to Solbakken’s obvious desire to play out of defence.

Could we see a continental twist to the spine of the starting XI come August including De Vries, Demidov, Milijas and Sigurðarson? Quite a contrast from what we’ve had in recent years.

Finally, a note about the new official site.

I applaud the club for attempting to update the image. It definitely needed a facelift. However, they’ve launched prematurely and it’s riddled with bugs. Far too slow to load, still too chaotic and some of the links simply don’t work.

As I write this I still haven’t been able to see the complete story about the Sigurðarson signing, which is very poor given that it went live on the site nearly an hour ago.

Hopefully all of this will be ironed out in due course. With all the comings and goings that are likely to occur before the start of the season, fans are hungry for the information. The club have a duty to deliver it.

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