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.

Wolves 2 Oldham Athletic 0

Never let it be said that football fans don’t have a good sense of humour.

Wolves Oldham

As a deluge of monsoon rainfall soaked hoards of hard suffering supporters to the bone, my eyes were averted to the Steve Bull lower tier and an away banner that read: ‘Fortune favours the brave.’

For those sodden Oldham Athletic followers – watching their team in what looked like a 4-6-0 formation – never had a slogan looked so laughably inappropriate.

For most of us, visiting Molineux has felt like the end of the world these past two seasons, but never has the playing conditions taken on such literal proportions.

It was as if the tears of Barry Stobart, Peter Broadbent and Waggy had all fallen from heaven at once, as the realisation dawned that Sky Bet League One football genuinely looked like this.

At least the Billy Wright Stand was deafening for the first time since being built. The sound of the tropical rainfall crashing upon its roof cranked up the decibels to unprecedented levels, much to the distraction of the poor old buggers in their flat caps who’d never heard noise like it since…

…Barry Stobart, Peter Broadbent and Waggy.

Thankfully for everyone concerned, the weather relented for the second half and the football became much easier on the eye.

For Oldham Athletic, it never rained but poured, as the skiddy surface aided a ricochet off James Henry to creep into the South Bank net following great wing play by Sako.

To rub mud into gaffer Lee Johnson’s trousers, one of our players (Henry again?) used the conditions to slide under the statuesque manager to catapult him into the night sky and onto his backside.

It was a hilarious sight to coincide with an uplifting second half performance.

Our cult hero Leigh Griffiths was soon singing in the rain when he dispatched a low shot in off the post following more brilliance from Bakary, skidding with more purpose and poise than his namesake just moments before.

On the whole, our 4-5-1 formation worked well and a pleasing amount of patience from supporters and players alike was instrumental in what eventually proved to be a regulation win.

James Henry is a real outlet on the right hand side, bringing balance to our midfield.

Alongside him, a bearded Jack Price was as dominant as Captain Pugwash on the seven seas as he negotiated Molineux’s choppy waters.

Lee Evans’ intelligence made for a welcome return and coupled with Kevin McDonald’s all-round presence, our ‘five’ across the middle looked more mobile than it might sound.

And at the back, Danny Batth and Sam Ricketts looked as resolute as their defensive record suggests.

It was one of those games where they all played well and will all deserve Kenny Jackett’s plaudits.

For all those of Gold and Black persuasion, fortune did indeed favour the brave this evening.

For the Oldham fan left peeling his stinking great banner from the rows of sodden empty seats at the final whistle – before lugging it 85 miles home in his fuel inefficient car – your time will come.

Play at Molineux with Football Aid 2014

Wolves are once again giving supporters the opportunity to play at Molineux to help raise money for Football Aid.

Wolves football aid

Football Aid offers Wolves fans the unique opportunity to experience a matchday in the same way the players do every other week.

Those taking part will gain exclusive access to the pitch and tunnel areas, pull on their own personalised shirt in the official changing rooms, walk down the tunnel to the sound of a cheering crowd and step out on the pitch and represent Wolves in a never to be forgotten 90 minutes of football.

To add to that, the matches at Molineux have also been supported by a host of former Wolves favourites in recent years, with the likes Matt Murray, Jody Craddock, Lee Naylor, Rob Edwards, Don Goodman, Andy Mutch, Robbie Dennison, David Kelly, Jon Purdie (and many more) all lending their extra special support by playing alongside or managing the fans on their big day.

Securing your position couldn’t be easier, just visit www.footballaid.com and choose the Wolverhampton Wanderers game and then you’ll have two Fixed Price options:

Option 1: Buy Now – Book your place with a one off payment, or Option 2: Sponsored to Play – Pay a non-refundable £100 deposit for your place, then pay the remaining balance anytime before the 31st Jan 2014.

Wolves fan Gary Brazier played in a game at Molineux and told Football Aid about his experience after last year’s event:

“Would just like to thank you and the rest of the football aid team for what was a fantastic experience at Molineux last night. From the minute we arrived to the minute we left, my family and I had a truly wonderful evening. And to top it all, getting 6 ex Wolves players to turn up is remarkable. Once again, thank you”

Wolves football aid

So if you’re keen to secure a place on your Field of Dreams this season, why not visit www.footballaid.com and sign up today! Alternatively if you’d like any additional information, you can call Football Aid on tel: 0131 220 5999, e-mail: info@footballaid.com, post on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/footballaid or send a tweet to @FootballAid.

Since forming in 2001 Football Aid have allowed over 14,000 football fans the chance to Live the Dream in 535 charity matches all over the UK. The unique concept was the brainchild of businessman and Football Aid Chairman Craig Paterson and funds raised from this year’s events will benefit the work of a charitable project nominated by Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, as well as projects nominated by Football Aid’s parent charity Field of Dreams.

Wolves Vs Oldham Athletic Preview

The disappointment of not winning every game is being exacerbated by the form of the two teams above us.

Oldham

Saturday wasn’t a bad result against a decent Coventry side who look destined for a top six finish.

But with Leyton Orient and Peterborough wracking up the points, our late slip up feels like the end of the world. It isn’t.

Both of those clubs will drop plenty of points, don’t worry about that. You only have to look at Tranmere last season, who were clear at the top for months only to end up in midtable.

It’s still too early to fret over every point.

Oldham Athletic

I saw Oldham play Preston earlier in the season. They dominated the game, bossed possession and created stacks of chances. But lost 2-1.

Is that the story of their season I wonder and the reason they’re down in 18th place, just three points outside the relegation zone?

The Latics do however come into this off the back of a vital 1-0 home win over Carlisle at the weekend.

At just 32 years of age, Lee Johnson, son of Yeovil manager Gary, is the youngest manager in the football league (I believe). He took over last season and only just prevented them from dropping into League Two, with a 19th place finish.

I know little about their players but I do know joint leading scorer Charlie MacDonald misses this game through injury. They also have former Blues striker Adam Rooney in their ranks, who has three goals to his name this season.

Wolves

It will be interesting to see if Kenny uses his squad with these two home games so close together and another match to come at the weekend. I would field our strongest team if possible though, which is probably:

Wolves Oldham team

KJ has rotated the strikers on occasion this season, so it won’t be a great surprise if Siggy gets the nod over Doyle or Griffiths, but I thought both of those players made strong contributions in their own ways at the weekend.

Jack Price has recovered from a reported case of ‘double vision’, which perhaps explains his wayward passing prior to being taken off at the weekend. It’s probably a coin toss between him and Davis for a starting spot.

The odds

Wolves are hot favourites for this one at 8/13. You can get 5/1 on any Oldham victory and 16/5 on the draw.

If you fancy James Henry to grab his first goal of the evening (and his first for Wolves) he’s available at 12/1.

Danny Batth looks our most likely scorer from all set pieces, so he’s good value at 25/1.

All odds are available from here.

Predictions

21 people correctly sniffed a banana skin on Saturday and predicted the draw. Four of those also said 1-1 to get maximum points.

Well done to Wolves4ever, Ash K, Linden and Whitestone Wolf for doubling up. It’s a single for everyone else.

We should win this game and it would be nice to do it with a degree of comfort for a change at home.

It’s never that easy is it though?

I’ll go for a narrow 2-1.

Up The Wolves