Archives for May 2014

Our finest hour

Having never started a blog with a revelation, I thought now might be a good time to admit something for the first time.

WB Massive

Just one week ago, I was reluctantly ready to relinquish my Wolves Blog duties and file my final report through dewy eyes.

With an increasingly hectic business to manage, a marriage to maintain and my all-consuming son’s little football team to evolve, time has become a precious commodity, you see.

Thankfully, a get-together with some of the most fervent and passionate supporters on this site not only changed my mind, but told me to stop taking life so bloody seriously in the first place.

A disparate group of die-hard Wolves fans, who’s DNA might never be truly understood by a modern day football club, met at the Park View Hotel before the Carlisle game.

Having only ever conversed from the anonymity of my laptop, I honestly didn’t know what to expect when meeting theDOOGooder and co for the first time, who could quite easily feel underwhelmed by the company I offered upon arrival.

The experience itself was something I will genuinely treasure and one that has reaffirmed my love for Wolves Blog and our special club as a whole.

There was something quite surreal about listening to Lynx’s explanation for his random avatar, for example, which derived in part from his Lincolnshire home and the fact he has hideously furry ears.

Even more surreal was the fact I wanted to stroke his ears, along with his hand-made Lynx identity badge.

Then there was Colin, a guy who’s provided one or two contrasting views to my own during our most miserable of recent seasons, who made the effort to come along and have a beer and say hello. It meant a lot.

Brompton Wolf, a nutcase who even designed his own Wolves Blog T-shirt especially for the occasion, was as generous with his kind words as theDOOGooder was with his wallet, who insisted on buying me a beer.

And stuWolf, clad in new home shirt, briefly became the head of the harem as we formed a mini- circle to touch his glistening Puma cloth.

The Doog was the guy I noticed first, a blue-eyed beacon in the beer garden who had knitted proceedings together so effortlessly (and videotaped all for posterity).

Along came Sleachy, who owed his own Wolves Blog name to a bunch of university mates who mingled some Latin together with a slug. Not that this sounds remotely interesting.

Twixfix festooned us all with appropriate chocolate snacks and Clive from Houston – a man who quite possibly wiped my arse when I was in nappies – generally shimmered.

While I have known Clive as my dad’s (Scooped) best friend for as long as I can remember, I had never known him to be so generous.

Where I was expecting obligatory piss-take upon arrival (he did say I looked like a f**king pirate), I received a Texas shot-glass, a Houston Rockets car sticker and an appropriate piece of Texas Bullshit!

Everyone who met before kick-off – Mark Davies included – shared one common bond. My close friend Thomas Baugh created that common bond, so I must leave the last word to him, as he delicately negotiated my whiny threat to quit last week:

“Time is an issue for me also,” said Thomas. “When I started out, I was living up in Stoke, with nothing else to do in the week. It’s very different now.

“I’m sitting there adding points to the Prediction League table and I think ‘what the hell am I doing?’

“But I reconcile that against the fact that what we do brings genuine pleasure to people’s day-to-day lives. Even if it’s just 10 minutes in their coffee break, they value what we do.

“I’m always motivated by the untold messages from people all around the world saying how invaluable the blog is to them.

“People like Jerry, a disabled fan who hadn’t been to a game for years. Through the blog I was actually able to find someone to go and sit with him at MK Dons. As a consequence he was there for that amazing day. He’s also made a great friend in the process.

“Then there’s Chris, who has been on HMS Westminster for the last two years, reading our blogs from inside a steel tube somewhere out at sea. It’s bonkers.

“That’s what motivates me.”

To everyone in that sunny beer garden on Saturday and to anyone who has ever visited Wolves Blog, thank-you so much.

You’ll hear from me again soon!

Wolves 3 Carlisle United 0

Is there really anything left to say in this wonderful season that has comfortably surpassed any and all expectations?

Wolves League One Trophy

Probably not.

Every groundbreaking victory, every broken record and every brilliant individual and collective performance has been rightly celebrated through countless column inches.

Wolves offered no fresh perspectives yesterday, sweeping aside a hapless Carlisle to rubber-stamp a 17th home win of the campaign.

After the predictably consistent Sam Ricketts tucked away a fifth minute opener there was never one moment where this game looked anything other than one final leisurely stroll for the champions.

Goals two and three duly arrived without Wolves exiting first gear, as a resplendent Molineux basked in sunshine-laden exhibition football.

And as the Mexican wave commenced it’s tenth lap of the ground, my thoughts wandered towards the challenges that await in the summer.

Keeping this carefully crafted squad together must be priority one. Retaining Stearman and Edwards. Rebuking any advances for Sako. Ensuring that all come back prepared and ready to do it all again.

I don’t subscribe to the notion that four, five, six new players must be acquired to bolster the squad for a Championship assault.

Several shrewd additions that arm Kenny Jackett with the depth and variation to cope with the demands of the second tier would more than suffice.

But if the starting XI come August mirrored the team that kicked off at three o’clock yesterday, I wouldn’t be overly concerned.

Truthfully, I’m intrigued to see how the likes of Fulham, Cardiff and any of other fancied contenders fare against the high tempo, passing game we’ve come to expect.

Greater quality from the opposition presents a greater challenge, but I suspect that in itself will bring out the very best in Kenny Jackett’s young side.

And my final words of the campaign are dedicated to the manager, who gleefully hoisted the trophy to the sky amidst joyful (if not slightly protracted) celebrations.

He more than anyone or anything gives me belief that even better times are just around the corner. I’m looking forward to the journey.

Wolves Vs Carlisle United Preview

It’s hard to believe how far Wolves have come between game 1 and game 46 of this incredible season.

Wolves Carlisle

After eeking out that 0-0 with Preston back in August, I would have struggled to believe the team would add 99 further points by the time Carlisle came to town in May.

Yet here we are, 86 goals and 30 wins later, standing on the cusp of history, needing one more victory to become the most successful side in League One history.

To think I cringed at vociferous statements about Wolves ‘bossing the league’ all those months ago, but boss it they have since the turn of the year.

Tomorrow is a day to savour and relish for players, fans, manager, coaches, staff and one very happy chairman.

Steve Morgan had the finger pointed firmly in his direction last year when the wheels broke off, so it’s only fair that he take a portion of the credit for the recovery that’s followed.

I’ve always been a strong believer that the decisions taken at the very top ultimately control the fate of a football club. In bestowing more power upon Kevin Thelwell last summer, which in turn resulted in the arrival of Kenny Jackett, the corner had been turned.

Carlisle

CarlisleGraham Kavanagh is already thinking ahead to life in League Two and looking at the table, it’s easy to see why.

Anything less than victory tomorrow sees Carlisle relegated and even an unlikely three points at Molineux would still see them needing slip-ups from both Crewe and Tranmere.

Away form has cost them dearly and with just three wins on their travels all season, only Notts County possess a worse record. The 16 goals they’ve managed on the road is also the fewest.

On paper then, this should be a routine victory for Wolves, but strange things tend to happen on final day so a professional performance is needed to ensure the Cumbrians are dispatched.

We all remember goalkeeper Jimmy Glass scoring that famous goal back in 1999, which kept Carlisle in the Football League against all odds. If they’re to survive tomorrow, they’ll need similar heroics.

Wolves

Every player will want a run out tomorrow, but I’m expecting Kenny Jackett to field the strongest team he has at his disposal:

Wolves team for Carlisle

James Henry could come in at Dave Edwards’ expense if Kenny felt like fielding the XI that achieved that record nine game winning streak, which effectively carried us home.

Equally, Matt Doherty, Lee Evans, Liam McAlinden or Leon Clarke could be given more game time. It’s a shame that anyone has to miss out.

The odds

Wolves are hot favourites at 4/9 for the win. A draw is 4/1, whilst Carlisle are an unfavoured 13/2.

You’ll get good odds on any Carlisle player scoring but Gary Madine is considered their most likely bet, at 9/1 for the first goal tomorrow.

Dave Edwards added to an already impressive tally last weekend and he’s 15/2 for the opener. I wouldn’t bet against him. All odds available here.

The gaffer

Predictions

Not many people thought we’d fail to secure victory at Coventry last weekend, but well done to the handful that did.

I will do one final update of the PL table and officially crown winners, runners-up, etc in due course. I’ve failed epically in sending prizes out to previous winners, but I will eventually reward the champions I promise.

Got to be a win tomorrow, regardless of how badly Carlisle need the points. We should be too good for them and with a packed house expecting a performance, I doubt the lads will let us down.

4-0

Up The Wolves!