Archives for November 2012

Bristol City Vs Wolves Preview

Given the intolerable misery of recent times, it’s hard to believe there are teams in this league who are doing worse than Wolves.

Undone by Brighton in midweek

On current form of course, no other team is doing worse. But Bristol City do have 7 fewer points overall, which is a considerable buffer.

Ashton Gate has hardly been a fortress this season either with only 2 wins and 5 defeats already.

21 goals conceded too, which is the highest of any club in the division on their own ground.

I thought Derek Mcinnes might get them moving in the right direction, but that doesn’t appear to have happened. They struggled last year and it looks like being the same again this time.

That said, they’ve scored some big wins this season when they have performed, sinking Cardiff, Middlesbrough and Palace. Yet another sign that any game is winnable in this league with a decent performance.

Wolves

Surely this is an opportunity for Wolves to start clawing their way back then?

Karl Henry returns after suspension and must go straight back into the starting lineup. Until we find a more creative midfielder partnership that can operate successfully together for 90 minutes in a 442, the skipper remains our linchpin.

And it will almost certainly be 442 again tomorrow. However, just because I’m tired of mocking up the same eleven, this for the record would be the team I’d send out tomorrow:

I’d pack out the midfield and give Sako more license to get forward and do damage.

There’s more chance of me playing tomorrow than Zubar, but I’d pick the Frenchman at center half, just as a radical alternative. As far as I can understand, he’s been completely frozen out after a couple of gaffes at Cardiff.

Given that we turned down £2 million for him in the summer, I think the manager should be getting him more involved. On his day, he was one of our best players, in the Premier League. And it’s not like the others don’t make mistakes.

Opposition view

Here are a couple of different quotes from a Bristol City Forum:

“Think we have a good chance to win. They are in a very bad run and their confidence is not strong. Their manager Solbakken is on his way out if they lose the next 2 games. Its gonn be a good chanse for City toake all 3 points. Come on you reds!”

“We’ve played several sides this season that have been in horrendous form and lost to the lot I think – apart from Peterborough? Fact is we’ve got our wins against three of supposedly the best teams in the league – Cardiff, Palace and Middlesbrough. So can’t get too excited about Wolves being one of the league’s poorer teams at the mo. That said with Danns in the team we have a chance and I do fancy us to pick up a point at least.”

“Should be a very interesting game, with the likes of sako and Ebanks-Blake we will have to defend very well because they have a real goal threat. But I also feel we won’t have too much problems in scoring goals ourselves with the confidence back in the side. COYR”

Predictions

23 people correctly predicted defeat against Millwall. 3 of those got the scoreline spot on in addition.

Well done to Haywood Wolf, Morph and Dave h for doubling up. A single for the other 20.

Hoping and expecting an improvement tomorrow. Henry will play and strengthen the midfield, from a defensive standpoint at least.

They’re conceding goals for fun so hopefully this can be a game for our attacking players to have a say.

I’ll be foolishly optimistic – 2-1 to the old gold.

Up The Wolves.

Blog Statement

Disgusted and ashamed to hear the news today that Ståle Solbakken’s car has been vandalised.

Deserves more respect

If that was the act of an upset supporter, which is still just an assumption (albeit a fairly safe one) then that’s completely out of order.

Nobody should have to tolerate that.

It’s a shame for the rest of us supporters too, as we’ll no doubt be tarred with the same toxic brush for years to come.

Not long after I heard about this incident, I received a message from a contributor.

He’d read a comment on the Express and Star site in reply to a post about the new Wolves Museum.

He thought this deserved it’s own blog and on the day that the club (justifiably) felt they had to make a statement, I think this makes an equally valid point.

See if you agree:

I’m sure it (the new Museum) is an impressive experience (accept my congratulations for having such foresight, Wolves). However, I stand by my previous comments that charging £7 per head is out of order -at least in my opinion. Many key items have been donated or loaned in goodwill, and that has cost our club nothing but a polite ‘thank you’ in return. The actual cost of bringing the project to reality is directly due to our lucrative, Premier League excursion.

On several occasions in years gone by, I’ve nipped through the main entrance at Molineux to take a visiting friend to see the glittering array of silverware on display in those impressive glass cases -and not all, it must be said, were supporters of Wolves. However, everybody I’ve taken were highly impressed and enthralled with the sheer historical significance of everything they had witnessed. The reverence and aura experienced by my visitors was more akin to that to be found when visiting a famous cathedral. You could almost ‘touch’ the atmosphere. Unsurprising, really, because Wolves were, and are, a very special club. However, such trips cost my visitors nothing. Not one penny. Zilch. Gratis. And that’s the difference between Sir Jack Hayward’s Wolves and the present-day set-up.

The new museum undoubtedly showcases the club’s rich history and achievements in majestic style. It will, most assuredly, highlight nearly every significant person that helped make Wolves great and become such a renowned name -and that’s exactly as it should be, of course. How ironic it is, then, that Wolves’ glorious, innocent ‘past’ meets the exploitational ‘present’ in the form of that contentious £7 admission fee. It’s as if financial greed and rampant commercialism (the pervading force so prevalent and destructive in today’s game) has to raise its ugly head even where CELEBRATION and TRIBUTE are the order of the day. These are austere times that the average fan is now living in, yet it seems hard-pressed fans can’t even bask in their beloved club’s memories for free. No, there has to be a price to be paid -and that’s sad.

More affluent fans should spare a thought for the disadvantaged; the elderly; the infirm; those who have lost their jobs and therefore their income; those that have been priced out of the game through sheer economic pressure, etc. Many of these will be life-long, loyal fans who, through no fault of their own, are simply unable to afford the £7 entrance fee; a charge which the club casually dismisses as comparable to a “cinema ticket” in its efforts to justify its decision. Yes, £7 may be loose change to some, but it’s a whole day’s meals to another.

I truly believe Wolves should have thrown open the doors to not only its loyal fanbase, but the whole City, too. Every proud Wulfrunian has a ‘share’, as I see it, in something that historically, and intrinsically, already belongs to our people. This is our City, our Club and our legacy -not yours, Mr. Morgan. You’re a mere caretaker of something much greater than any individual.

At a time when many fans are turning their backs on the club through disillusionment on the pitch (and ineptitude in Molineux’s ivory towers), here was your chance to give the spirit of Wolves’ history back to the very people who helped create a legend. Who knows, you may have recouped some support from those who felt their pride rekindled. You may have acquired new young fans, too. Instead, as is the way these days with the club that’s slowly lost its heart, you categorised it as a commercial investment. That says everything to me.

For a footballing institution that’s always been the very fabric of Wolverhampton itself, I find it all so very disappointing. No, you can count me out, Wolves. I think us fans already pay more than enough into the club coffers as it is -I know I have! I’m no more special than any other Wolf and I’d certainly never claim to be. I’m just a middle-aged bloke in his 50’s with around 45 years’ (mostly paying) support behind me. My views won’t reflect those of everyone else -that I know. I just feel so let down by a club that never seems to pass-up any money-making opportunity, even when it’s essentially an affair of the heart, such as this.

The question is: I’ve still got my heart, but has the club? On second thoughts, don’t answer, Wolves…..there may be a fee incurred.

Thanks to Ye Olde South Bank who left this comment on the E&S website.

Wolves 0 Millwall 1

Andy Keogh’s name was already etched into Molineux folklore long before last night.

Keeping his shirt on

His golden goal at Pride Park in 2009 is widely considered to be the moment that Wolves all but secured promotion.

A banner is even draped from the Billy Wright commemorating the raucous celebrations that followed.

I wonder if Keogh took a moment to drink that image in, before hopping onto the team bus and thanking his lucky stars he wasn’t hanging around?

The poignancy of his latest strike should not be overlooked.

This was not a Guedioura or a Davies situation. This was not a player that was moved on prematurely.

This was someone we’d outgrown and who’d become achingly surplus to requirements. A substitute that was himself substituted in his final Premier League outing for the club.

Yet there he was, lashing home to take his side fifth as Wolves sank to all new depths of despair.

A sign ladies and gentleman, of the times.

The game itself was familiar territory.

A promising start, Wolves on the front foot. Happy days are here again.

We should have had a penalty, no doubting that. Danny Shittu cleverly bounced Doyle so far away from the penalty area, that the referee simply couldn’t believe that first contact had been in the box. It was.

But when the breakthrough didn’t come, we lost our way and never found a way back.

Millwall dictated the second half. The football was turgid from both sides and chances were at a premium, but you always sensed the moment was building for them.

And so it was, in another moment of comical defending (as three defenders all got sucked towards the ball) that Andy was left all alone in the middle of goal to do the necessary.

The fans applauded, Solbakken slunk back into the dugout and somewhere high up in the executive boxes, men in suits were looking at each other wondering what to do next.

Wolves Vs Millwall Preview

This time last year our reserves were good enough to account for Millwall 5-0 in the third round of the FA Cup.

Always divided opinion

That second string included Adlene Guedioura, Nenad Milijas and Adam Hammill, three players we could very easily have retained but chose to discard.

With the sales of Jarvis and Fletcher always likely, I have to question Solbakken’s judgment in giving the above three the flick. Say what you will about attitude and effort, but they all provided a touch of class that we’re desperately lacking.

Injuries to Boukari, Peszko and O’Hara don’t help matters, but when you look at the list of players that left in the summer against those that were retained, it’s difficult to comprehend.

Is there anyone out there who is honestly glad that we kept Edwards and Davis over Guedioura and Milijas?

But enough of that.

That’s the past.

The here and now is that Millwall currently occupy the final play-off spot with Wolves 7 points and 11 places below.

The Lions have won their last 3 matches and haven’t lost any of their last 10.

Wolves haven’t won any of their last 8 games and have lost 6 of their last 10.

Statistically speaking then, this fixture is in fact the most in-form team in the Championship against the team at the bottom of the form table.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Millwall rock-up to Molineux tonight boasting a strike force containing a much-maligned former player and the in-form forward of the league (Chris Wood) who just happens to be on loan from Albion.

You couldn’t make it up.

Wolves

Things go from bad to worse for Ståle at the moment. If neither Sako or Doumbia make it tonight (both reported as doubts), he really is scraping the barrel for options.

Are we really going to see this midfield?

How did we allow that to happen?

I can talk about tactics all day, but it’s ignoring the elephant in the room not to point out the crippling lack of quality in that eleven.

The most important objective for any football club is to get the best possible team out on the pitch and in this respect, the board and the manager have failed. Top to bottom bad decisions have resulted in the eleven we see above.

Sure there’s been bad luck with injuries, but this was entirely avoidable.

Predictions

16 pundits correctly foretold of Saturday’s doom. Well done to the 6 who also got the scoreline correct.

alf white, theDOOGooder, woodywolf, Raydewolf, Nige and martin all scored the maximum.

I wanted a four point return from these two home games, but I now fear, particularly if the above team takes to the field, it will be zero.

We knew things might get worse before they got better, but it should never have got this bad.

Prove me wrong please – 2-1 Millwall.

Up The Wolves.

Wolves 1 Nottingham Forest 2

When it comes to tales of incompetent irony, nobody does it better than the place we all call home.

The most predictable goal of all time

The Comedy Club. The Custard Bowl. Or as I’m now resigned to calling it, the Lunatic Asylum.

As the heavens mercilessly opened before kick-off, we scurried to the gleaming £18 million North Bank bar for cover.

In a monstrosity we’re supposed to be grateful for, the very team Jez promised we’d never ‘do’ was being replicated on dozens of plasma screens as far as the eye could see. (We even saw the updated Premier League table afterwards to underline Moxey’s prophecy)

With brows-beaten and medicine administered, we shuffled through our turnstiles like Proles on a nightshift.

We stare past billboards of insulting platitudes, gaze through O’Hara tweets about ‘Reading revivals’ and drag our sodden bones to our seats like gluttons for punishment.

‘I should bet on Guedioura scoring the winner,’ mumbled a weathered old soul beside me.

In a lop-sided Molineux stadium where nothing makes sense anymore, the bookies had stopped taking bets.

The South Bank clock tells a different time, the fourth official’s board is waterlogged and every signpost of reality is suspended in a parallel universe that glorifies our arch rival’s achievements in a week we charge £7 for our own.

In the exclusive world of Wolves, we sell a match-winner without affording Solbakken the privilege of seeing him train.

We turn down a Frimpong loan with an excuse concocted for Chris Powell merriment.

And we fail to back the manager with Demidov and Geromel defensive targets in pre-season, leaving us exposed for the foreseeable future with a failed defence we all knew was crap.

In another game of unadulterated misery, there’s no need for a match report. Just think of one in your head and you’d get it.

If you’re anything like me, you always get it.

Guedioura played a one-two just inside our half and surged into space before unleashing a goal of such unerring quality, the South Bank rose to applaud.

When faced with a similar opening moments later in Forest’s half, David Edwards shanked a through ball with all the panache of Mountfield.

‘You couldn’t make it up,’ grumbled an old soul too weathered to muster a sigh.

‘Wanna bet?’ Said his mate. ‘We always make things up down here.’

Wolves Vs Nottingham Forest Preview

Saturday September 29th was the date of Wolves last home win. Nine games and only one victory (away at Blackburn) later – Molineux is restless.

Back to haunt us?

Another sending off and another pointless weekend has seen Wolves slump to 16th in the table, as the gaffer continues to operate with the bare bones.

Peszko and O’Hara out until January, Boukari set-back again.

Throw in Karl Henry’s suspension and the club deciding against a dose of Frimpong and you’re left wondering what the plan of action is?

Does Ståle really think he can squeeze more out of the players he has? Is Ståle himself being squeezed from the powers above to make do and mend?

Whatever the situation, a positive result (preferably two) are desperately needed from the forthcoming Molineux double-header.

Forest and Millwall are deadlocked on the same points with the same goal difference, so it’s impossible to say that one game is harder than the other.

Sean O’Driscoll’s side certainly have the bigger names though and a few that we’re very well acquainted with.

Not many were unhappy to see the back of Greg Halford, but in Adlene Guedioura, Wolves chose to move-on a player that a good number of supporters felt could have made a significant impact. Should the Algerian play a pivotal role in our demise tomorrow, the backlash will be severe.

Forest’s away form is alright, with 5 draws, 2 wins and significantly just a single defeat.

Wolves

Things aren’t great at the moment and I’m not particularly looking forward to the matches. Until we get players back from injury or make further additions, I’m just not sure where the spark is going to come from.

That said, I think the players we do have are capable of better, as shown in the second half against Brighton. We need to get that sort of tempo going from the start, with eleven men. The team will probably be:

The center of midfield will be integral to our success. We need Doumbia to boss the game as he did in some of the earlier fixtures. He has the talent to be the difference.

Forest’s last visit to Molineux was the 5-1 we inflicted on route to the title. The key commodity we had in that game was pace out wide and a physical presence up front. We currently possess neither of those things, which I feel goes a long way towards explaining our problems.

Sako remains the key going forward and if we can get him involved, there’s no question he’ll make something happen.

Opposition view

Here are some words from Forest manager (and Wolves supporter) Sean O’Driscoll:

“Wolves are my home town club as I was born and bred in Wolverhampton and I supported them as a youngster.

“Work may take you to different places but I don’t think you change your allegiances and I always look for Wolves’ results … but I still want to beat them.

“It’s difficult for teams coming down from the Premier League because they have a massive restructuring job to do.

“At the same time, they’ve changed their manager as well.

“It’s very rare that teams in their situation hit the ground running, they need a bit of time.

“But I think they will be there or thereabouts. They will probably do some business in the January transfer window because they can and they can attract players because of the size of the club.

“You wouldn’t bet against them being in the mix at the end of the season.”

Predictions

18 people correctly predicted defeat at Vicarage Road.

6 of those got the 2-1 scoreline to take the maximum points on offer. Well done to Kowloon Wolf, colin, Martin B, Alf White, Sheffieldwolf and t’OM.

It’s a single for the other 12.

I’m hoping (not expecting) a four point return from these two home matches. I think we’ll beat Millwall, so I’ll go for a draw tomorrow.

2-2.

Up The Wolves.