Archives for January 2015

Bolton Wanderers Vs Wolves Preview

There are still a few days left and I don’t want to curse things, but it’s been a satisfying January transfer window thus far.

Bolton Wolves

Wolves have added the pacey striker to compliment/deputise for Nouha Dicko and it looks like Bakary Sako will be hanging around until the end of the season.

Promising youngsters are emerging all the time and key personnel (like Scott Golbourne) are returning from injury.

I just wonder how far this squad might go this season if it can reach anywhere near it’s potential?

Bolton

bolton logoNeil Lennon was the shot in the arm Bolton needed. He’s taken the Trotters from the very bottom to midtable after picking up the slack from Dougie Freedman.

Much of that upward trajectory owes to a splendid home record that sees them unbeaten at the Reebok under their new manager.

Like Wolves, they don’t score a lot of goals but they have acquired the capability to keep things tight at the back, until the 4-2 loss at Rotherham in midweek anyway.

Adam Le Fondre has arrived from Cardiff this week. He’s a useful player and a proven goalscorer at Championship level. Eidur Gudjohnsen and Emile Heskey have also come in to help beef up the attack.

Wolves

Nouha Dicko’s omission from the starting lineup didn’t raise too many eyebrows last weekend, which is testament to our hopes for Benik Afobe.

Wolves team for Blackburn

It was a tough game for the former Arsenal man to walk into with Charlton opting to keep every man behind the ball, but he showed glimpses of promise.

I suspect Kenny might rotate Dicko back into the team for this one though, if only to keep things fresh and competition for places high.

Kortney Hause struggled when pressed in possession, so it was no surprise Scott Golbourne came in to give us more forward thrust.

However, I think the emphasis at the Reebok will be in keeping things compact at the back, which will likely mean the youngster retains his place.

The gaffer

Predictions

The Reebok is a more fearsome venue than it’s been in recent times, but Wolves have picked up their away form of late and I feel confident.

We’re not scoring enough goals, which is a concern but that’s partly down to how teams setup against us, particularly at Molineux.

I think Bolton will try to press the ball and play at a high tempo, which Wolves have notoriously struggled to cope with, so it will be an interesting barometer of progress.

I’d like to go all out for the win, but I think it might end up another closely contested draw.

1-1

Up The Wolves!

Bloggers unite

May 2nd promises to be a good day, especially if we know we have been successful in our attempt in achieving promotion to the Premiership at the first time of asking.

But, even if we do not manage to achieve that, it would be good to ape what we did on the final day of last season, that is gather as many Bloggers as we can in A Parkview Hotel (PVH) prior to and after the match. I believe that those that attended last season will remember that day for quite a while.

I have been banging on about Polo Shirts for some time now, and have really taken up too much space on individual threads, confusing the issue and becoming a bit of a pain.

Wolves Blog polo

I am able to obtain embroidered Polo Shirts for no more than £18.00 each, as per the image above, with Wolves Blog branding and your chosen name above in white.

All I ask is for those who would like to order one to let me know the name they want placed above the logo and what size you require (S/M/L/XL/XXL).

It is my intent to order these early next month, so if you can let me know your wishes before the end of this month that would help.

I will do the rest and bring them with me to the following games that I am going to:

Fri 3 Apr – Nottingham Forest

Mon 6 Apr – PVH prior to the Leeds United game

Tue 14 Apr – Middlesbrough

Sat 25 Apr – Wigan Athletic

Sat 2 May – PVH

I said the cost of each Polo Shirt will not exceed £18.00, and will ensure you are all advised of the actual cost prior to the order being placed. I only require payment when I deliver them to you at either of the aforementioned away games or at the PVH.

Let us Bloggers Unite on the 2nd May and let us also Dress for the Occasion.

Sir Jack: Why words are never enough

Writing a tribute about Sir Jack Hayward OBE should be the easiest task in the world for a Wolves fan like me.

Sir Jack

Doing justice to Sir Jack Hayward at the same time is an entirely different proposition altogether.

For all the eulogies over the past fortnight about our most lovable owner of all, none seem to have hit the spot in quite the way he touched my heart.

While daily news snippets about his selfless, humble and generous nature are welcome, they say nothing that I didn’t already know.

Then there’s those endless reflections upon 2003, and a condensing of his entire legacy into one hazy Bank Holiday in Cardiff and a solitary season in the Premier League thereafter.

Maybe this will be Sir Jack’s enduring legacy. And if an epitaph has already been written, then maybe it will allude to that sunny day in May when his thumbs were in the air.

That’s not how I’ll remember him. No thanks all the same.

I’d been a Wolves fan for three years when Sir Jack Hayward stood on the South Bank terrace with us Lost Souls and embarked upon a journey to define my adolescent years.

Looking back, one year in the top flight for all he invested was absolutely criminal, so while a vision of his beaming smile in the Millennium Stadium will be conjured in the minds of many, it won’t mine.

When 17th placed PL finishes are celebrated like an FA Cup final win; when Phil Brown grabs a microphone to sing about such failure from the rooftops, Sir Jack Hayward always gave us something way more wholesome – however ill-fated so much of it became.

Sir Jack Hayward gave me aspiration.

During the time he presided over our once kamikaze club, impossible meant absolutely nothing as he instilled a genuine belief that we could eventually conquer the world. Isn’t that, above a trip to Cardiff or a season in the Premier League, what being a football fan is all about?

He appointed an ex-England manager, brought a colossus cult hero called de Wolf and even induced some (initially embarrassing) fist pumping between me and Dad at the school gates, when Dad ran through my throng of nonplussed friends to tell me we’d signed Don Goodman.

‘The Shit will be stewing over this one!’ Dad squealed.

When I think of Sir Jack, I think of these times and I smile with such blissful happiness that my eyes begin to water.

Dad and I would attend each and every Anglo Italian Cup game because they genuinely meant something back then. For a glimpse of David Kelly. For a look at our ‘Molineux Wear’ kit under lights.

We’d drive to Molineux to watch midweek league games on our ‘seamless’ video walls on some fangled technology called beam-back, from a vantage point so obscured in the freezing John Ireland Stand that we genuinely couldn’t see a thing!

Me and Dad even revelled in an Andy Ritchie-inspired thrashing at Oldham on Boxing Day (1-4) with 5,000 others, because we knew it was a hiccup. It would still get the nationals talking and we had a great day out!

Back then, every game, every detail and every movement that Sir Jack ever made mattered, because of his great intentions. We aspired. We dreamed. That it was an impossible dream made me love him even more.

Failure, as it emerged, would define my very character as much as a play-off final victory over Sheffield United ever did.

In my personal age of innocence, Sir Jack Hayward was my king.

He was selfless, humble, generous and displayed the very dispositions that Dad ordered me to reach for.

He wasn’t David Sullivan or Karen Brady or even Jeremy Peace…

Whether or not those three were ultimately more successful matters little to me.

As young person in his delinquency – never mind a football fan – Sir Jack Hayward enriched my life in more ways than a football club owner ever really had the right.

To say I’m grateful will never do justice.

God bless you Sir Jack.

Wolves 0 Charlton Athletic 0

You might not think it, but there were a couple of positives to take out of this mundane encounter.

Wolves charlton

Namely a third consecutive cleansheet and a seventh notch added to the undefeated streak.

Now up to seventh, the gap between ourselves and the play-off places may have increased to three points, but only six separate Wolves from the top two. It’s all up for grabs.

Yesterday may have seemed a missed opportunity, but the reality is, it could have been much worse.

Charlton deployed and executed an effective game plan.

Having been slapped five nil at Watford last weekend, their objectives were clear from the first whistle – contain and destroy.

Faultless would be a fair description of the visitor’s defensive display. Clueless sums up Wolves’ attempts to break the resistance.

On the rare occasion the force field was breached the delivery wasn’t up to scratch and there were seldom enough bodies in the box.

In fact, for all Wolves huff and puff, the only real chances of note fell to the Addicks, as they picked off their increasingly desperate and shapeless hosts on the break.

Carl Ikeme made a couple of important saves, whilst each individual member of the back four were forced into desperate interventions.

Kenny Jackett attempted to conjure victory with an identikit solution to the previous Saturday, bringing on another forward and shifting Dave Edwards to the left.

On this occasion, it didn’t work – even with Scott Golbourne pushing forward – and robbed Wolves of width.

Rajiv van La Parra was the only effective outlet and despite some neat trickery and the odd burst of pace, his efforts failed to prise open the gates.

Over in Africa, Bakary Sako scored the type of goal for Mali that reminded us why he’s so important to the Wolves cause.

If he was to leave this month, to Albion (can’t see that one happening) or anyone else, our immediate prospects would be significantly hampered.

We can only hope that the player will wait to cash in his chips at the end of the season and the Molineux hierarchy show the same defiant resistance that Charlton so admirably demonstrated yesterday.

The gaffer

Wolves Vs Charlton Athletic Preview

Wolves are the Championship’s form team.

Wolves Charlton

It’s four wins in a row, five wins in six and just two goals conceded in this tidy little run that’s seen us climb back to within a point of the play-off places.

It was a slog against Blackpool, but the team stuck to their principles and eventually picked them apart.

This game could follow a similar pattern, but you couldn’t ask for a better fixture to make it five consecutive league victories.

Charlton

Charlton logoWhile Wolves have been putting their season back together, Charlton have been falling apart.

During the same six game period, they’re the Championship’s whooping boys, having lost four and drawn two. That includes three defeats in a row coming into this fixture culminating in a 5-0 hiding at Watford last weekend.

Bob Peeters has been given the flick, replaced by another household name in Guy Luzon. Is another untested foreign manager really what the Addicks need to steady the ship? I’m not so sure.

Too many draws has been the problem – 13 so far, which is the most in the league. They’ve only lost seven matches, which is actually one less than Brentford and Watford, who occupy play-off positions.

Top scorer Igor Vetokele caused us headaches at the Valley and he’ll be one to watch if included at the weekend.

Wolves

Aside from Bakary Sako’s continued absence all is looking rosy in the garden for Kenny Jackett with Scott Golbourne now back in contention.

Wolves team for Blackburn

It’ll be tough for our diminutive full-back to get into the side though with the defence performing so admirably. I can’t see the gaffer changing it.

He may however consider giving Benik Afobe a full debut, potentially pushing the big striker up alongside Dicko or playing him just behind.

Whichever configuration he chooses, I feel reasonably confident we’ll have enough to win, which is testament to the squad Jackett has built.

The gaffer

Predictions

Logic dictates Wolves should win this game, so hopefully the figures are proven correct and it’s another home victory.

It would be nice to rattle in a few goals, but Charlton’s high volume of drawn matches suggests they’re no pushovers.

Expecting something similar to Blackpool, with an equally familiar result.

2-0

Up The Wolves!

One day like this a year will see me right

Now the Molineux has emptied, all the tears have dried and my throat has just about recovered from the shouting, it’s time to reflect on a day that will live in my memory until the minute that I finally unlace my size twelves and hang them on the dressing room wall next to those of the Wolves legends that have passed into history.

I’d like to think they would be between the Doog’s and Waggy’s with Frankie Munro’s and Billy Wright’s close by.

But I’ll probably end up in the boot room with a brush and a tin of dubbin in my hand.

Never mind – I digress.

The day started with the usual excellent Park View brekker followed by a walk across a frosty West Park to get a paper and say hello to the ducks.

At around mid day, the bloggers started to assemble and the bar was soon full of the babble of happy people and their witty repartee.

(I don’t know who they were but we soon got rid of them).

A mix of the usual suspects and some new faces turned up and there was I, like some latter day Fellini, moving among them with my video camera.

Unfortunately, due to a mix up between me and the on-off switch, most of the proceedings were filmed from inside my trouser pocket.

More Frank Spencer than Fellini.

A couple of pints of ‘Shipyard’ later it was off to the Mol.

It could usually quite truthfully be said of messrs Morgan and Moxey that they couldn’t organise a Binge in the Banks’ Brewery, but the tribute to Sir Jack before the match hit exactly the right note and the whole of a rammed Molineux responded to it brilliantly.

All of us in the Steve Bull had to hold up cards to spell out Sir Jack’s name. I think that a fan from Sandwell must have sneaked in because the man in front of me was holding his card back to front and upside down.

The match, as has already been said, was largely frustrating. A couple of notable highlights included a certain ex player getting kicked up in the air and booked.

But it ended in the most perfect way.

If we had scored in the first minute and then just played out the following eighty nine, it would have been a bit of an anti climax.

We don’t do that at the Wolves.

To score two in the last five minutes ensured that we all went home on a big, big high.

I was talking to the PMDG’er over dinner later that evening and she said how much she enjoyed chatting to the bloggers’ other halves.

She suggested that they should be called BWAGS – or BWAGGIES.

I don’t know what you think, Clive, but I reckon Sir Jack would have approved.