Archives for October 2013

A laughing matter

When my Dad told me that there’s nothing like watching a game of football live, I thought he was some sort of twisted sadist, being as we’re both Wolves fans.

Naylor Newton Wolves

It turns out that he is, but it’s only now that I understand what he was on about.

It’s not the footballing fare that is so incomparable to the living room alternative, but the peripheral sounds and sights that live in the memory far longer than most of the games out on the pitch.

This blog will look at some of the more infectious whoops and wails from fellow fans, which are still guaranteed to bring a smile to my face – years after each pent-up supporter decided to let loose.

1. ‘Change gear Bellamy!’ This forthright demand was in response to our lovable defender’s attempts to keep up with an opposition striker, as he struggled in a home game back in 1989. It amused Dad enormously, because the metaphorical turn of phrase was so unintentionally appropriate. The whole stand laughed.

2. ‘I dunno know what yer’ laffing at Mo – it ai’ f**king funny!’ This one punctuated a collective intake in breath in the Billy Wright Stand when Mo Camara gave away a needless free kick on the edge of the box in injury time, like only Mo could (we were hanging on). As he hacked down their striker for no apparent reason, he turned to face the forward – and our stand – with a whopping great grin on his face. The native behind me was not amused.

3. ‘Nayla! You should have been ‘draerned at berth!’ This one tickled me, purely because it was so excessive – yet perversely understandable at the time. Lee Naylor had just done his customary trick of completely missing a 6,000 square yard target (I.E. the entire pitch) by slicing the ball out of play at 100mph, while attempting a first time pass. It must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back because old age pensioner Terry in front of me, like a lost African lion in captivity, roared that Lee Naylor should have been drowned at the point of birth.

4. Constant referral to Shaun Newton as ‘Isaac’ by the bloke in front. Believing he was a thinking man’s fan, the old boy in ‘row P’ would cajole, encourage and most usually berate our mercurial winger when calling him Isaac. Only one person thought this was funny…Namely Tony himself, who assumed comic like proportions during his half time beer break.

5. Constant referral to Stephen Hunt as ‘Isaac’ by the bloke in front. By the time we were fighting a double relegation, Tony had reverted back to type. He also came up with the one or two other infectious nicknames for other ex-players, with the following four highlights:

· Kennedy = Sarah

· Ganea = Gonorrhoea

· Seol Ki Hyeon = Arse

· Okoronkwo = Orinoco Flow (opted against Isaac this time)

That completes my (not so) humorous anecdotes from yesteryear, which at least tickled me when the games in question weren’t.

Any more for any more?!

Bradford City 1 Wolves 2

Prior to yesterday, those of a glass half empty persuasion were quick to point out ‘we haven’t beaten anyone yet’.

James Henry Bradford

It’s nice then to finally put that notion to bed, as Wolves overcame top six opposition for the first time this season.

This is now a record breaking start for Kenny Jackett, the best opening run the club has ever enjoyed to a league campaign.

More records tumbled as the Wolves bandwagon rolled on: the first goal conceded in the first half of any match, the first time Wolves have fallen behind away from home and the first time they’ve come back from a goal down to win.

Fitting then, that on a day a few trends were bucked, Jamie O’Hara’s name should reappear on the teamsheet, albeit as an unused substitute.

One wonders whether it was the growing clamour for his reinclusion or the need to put the midfielder in the shop window that prompted an unlikely comeback?

Either way, it will be intriguing to monitor his progress in the weeks to come and whether he actually makes it onto the pitch.

Kenny hasn’t shied away from the big decisions thus far and yesterday was another uplifting demonstration of a brave and flexible approach.

After falling behind early, the gaffer wasted no time in changing shape and introducing Kevin Doyle. The rewards were instantaneous.

James Henry’s slightly tame effort was perhaps fortunate to find a way in, but a pinpoint cross for Richard Stearman minutes later was certainly no fluke.

Recruiting the Millwall winger looks to be another masterstroke. He’s a confident performer, happy to carry the ball forward and threaten the opposition goal.

At the opposite end, Carl Ikeme’s impressive shot stopping capabilities were once again showcased, as Bradford piled forward second half. Are his performances the most significant factor so far? It could easily be argued.

What can’t be disputed now is that this young Wolves side are a legitimate force at this level of competition.

A lot has been made of the club’s financial clout and the leftover quality of our Premier League years, but it’s actually much simpler attributes that have carried us into the top two. Namely, team spirit and a pleasing appetite to work together as a team.

With hopefully more to come, the message to our rivals should be clear: you haven’t seen anything yet.

Bradford City Vs Wolves Preview

I don’t have many positive memories from matches against Bradford.

Bradford pic

A trip to Valley Parade in 1997 ended in painful defeat, scuppering hopes of a top two finish under Mark McGhee.

A year or so later the Bantams were down at Molineux, recording a 3-2 win to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League, as Wolves missed out on the play-offs.

It’s safe to say plenty of water has traveled under the bridge since those days, but we’re back at it again now as both teams look set to be amongst the promotion contenders.

Bradford

After a marvelous run to the League Cup final last season, Bradford could have been forgiven for stumbling towards a midtable League Two finish.

But they put together enough results from their games in hand to eek into the play-offs before overwhelming Northampton 3-0 in their second Wembley appearance of the season to earn a well deserved promotion.

They’ve carried that momentum on again and look as determined as any club to remain amongst the front-runners.

A credible draw at Preston in midweek ended a mini-slump, which saw them lose back-to-back games against Crawley and Tranmere.

They start this game in 5th place, seven points behind Wolves and having played a game more. They’ll be keen to close that gap and claim another (mini) scalp.

Leading scorer Nahki Wells has returned from injury and could feature. He has 8 league goals already so will be one to keep an eye out for.

Wolves

It’s a big blow losing Matt Doherty, even if it’s just for this match. He’s been fantastic this season and brought dynamism to the right flank that we’ll desperately miss in his absence. I expect Richard Stearman will deputise.

Wolves Bradford team

I think Kenny Jackett will reinstate Kevin Doyle. He wisely added an extra midfielder to prevent Oldham dictating the play with their passing in midweek, but I get the sense Bradford will offer a more direct, physical threat.

That will mean our centre backs will have to do plenty of defending, but we should have the luxury of playing two strikers. Hopefully Doyle will have benefited from the enforced break.

The odds

Wolves are again just about favourites to come out on top at 5/4. Bradford are available at 12/5 and the draw is 5/2.

Leigh Griffiths is the man most fancied to open the scoring at 4/1. Nahki Wells is 9/2 and former Wolves man Kyel Reid is 14/1 to get the first goal.

Full odds are available here.

Predictions

There was only one person who didn’t think we’d beat Oldham in midweek (I won’t name and shame) so everyone picked up points.

Of the 59 that registered a correct prediction, 17 also got the 2-0 scoreline for a double. Well done to all of them.

I shall endeavour to update the table after I hit publish on this post.

This is going to be a very tough game and probably the biggest threat yet to our unbeaten away record.

I think Wolves will score but I think Bradford will too. I fancy a draw and I wouldn’t be unhappy with that outcome.

2-2.

Up The Wolves.