Archives for September 2015

Fulham 0 Wolves 3

There’s potential throughout this young Wolves squad.

James Henry Fulham

The only question is: how quickly can it be realised?

Sheyi Ojo is just one of many youngsters populating the team this season who’ve suffered an indifferent start.

Too often the on-loan Liverpool winger simply hasn’t looked interested.

In the defeat to Cardiff and the recent stalemate against Brighton he remained on the periphery of the action throughout.

But after coming off the bench to great effect against Preston and more tellingly last night, there’s encouraging signs about what’s to come.

The same can be said of Dominic Iorfa, who perhaps – up until last night – hasn’t yet hit the same heights he managed in his debut campaign.

A timely return to form then from the rangy full-back who turned in the type of powerful, swashbuckling performance that became his trademark last term.

Like most people, I’m glad to see Jack Price back in the team. His steady influence once again looks the best bet for coaxing Kevin McDonald into top form.

A stat was doing the rounds on Twitter last night that Wolves have only lost 5 of the 51 games Price has started for Wolves, adding further credence to the consensus he should always be starting.

What about James Henry too?

We don’t need to talk about potential where he’s concerned. The only question mark is whether he can deliver what’s he capable of on a consistent enough basis.

It’s fair to expect a better goals return from the wide man this season now he can finally get a look in on free-kicks.

Byrne, McDonald, Le Fondre and Martinez also turned in performances to suggest a team may finally be emerging from the shadows.

More encouragingly though is the energy and verve with which Wolves played even before Fulham were reduced to ten.

And of course the sending off helped us, as did the opposition who are prepared to stand off and let teams play their passes.

But the significance of this result should not be overlooked and the confidence it will give our young team is priceless.

With confidence comes belief and with belief, who knows how far this group of players could potentially go?

For sale

Just because you want to sell something, doesn’t mean anyone’s buying.

Morgan

Sorry to rain on the parade folks but I reckon Steve Morgan might be hanging around for a good while yet.

Sure, the announcement raised a few eyebrows, but it’s not the earth-shattering news many of an old gold persuasion are suggesting.

Jez Moxey is still captain of the ship. Mr. Morgan remains omnipresent in the background.

Business as usual isn’t it?

And while a public declaration of an intent to sell suggests Morgan is particularly keen to offload the club, I’ve never for one moment thought he wouldn’t sell if the right offer landed on his lap.

First and foremost, Steve Morgan is a businessman and a very good one at that. Wolves were a good investment and if he can find the right buyer, he’ll be one of the very few to make a significant profit out of owning a football club.

They’re not easy to shift in this neck of the woods though – just ask Randy Lerner and Jeremy Peace, who’ve thus far tried and failed to move on.

That being said, Wolverhampton Wanderers are probably a more salable asset than their West Midlands counterparts.

Aston Villa are saddled with enormous debts that Lerner is propping up with loans while the team struggles to retain their Premier League status, making them a far from an enticing purchase.

And Albion, while debt free and prudently run would require major investment and ambition to progress beyond their current Premier League also-ran status.

In contrast, Wolves are responsibly governed and also offer prospective buyers the opportunity to add significant value.

£100 million to be specific.

That’s roughly what a promotion to the top flight is worth in additional turnover, which would immediately double the club’s value.

It’s a classic ‘buy low, sell high’ proposition that could prove attractive for an individual or group with deep enough pockets.

Steve Morgan Kenny Jackett

Most supporters would no doubt welcome a rich foreign consortium willing to invest in a promotion drive in pursuit of greater riches.

But we’ve seen the likes of Blackburn, Forest, Leeds and Blues all endure times of struggle under such stewardship, which is a warning sign about the worst case scenario.

More than a few fans have already trotted out the ‘better the devil you know’ line and they may have a point.

While it’s fair to suggest Morgan has never truly rolled the dice on first team investment, he’s never made decisions that have put the long term financial health of the club in jeopardy.

But having seen Leicester and Bournemouth splash the cash to make it in recent times and Middlesbrough and Derby looking a good bet to follow suit this season, punters have rightly asked the question – why not us?

Surely Wolves were perfectly positioned over the summer to make the minor gamble on a couple of marquee signings to add the necessary 10% to an already capable squad?

But yet again while our rivals spent big on established talent like Downing, Nugent and Ince, Wolves spent modestly on players looking to prove their value at a higher level.

This and this alone is the root cause of the abuse Morgan has been forced to endure in recent times – something he’s never quite been able to resolve.

And it seems highly unlikely his stance will shift now the ‘For Sale’ signs have been hammered down.

Sadly, even his major achievements away from the pitch are often given short shrift by supporters impatient for progress on it.

The redevelopment of the Stan Cullis increased capacity and upgraded facilities but is viewed as nothing more than an eyesore by many.

Even the academy, which is now one of the best in the country, has been used as a stick to beat the owner with, accompanied by the insinuation that it gives him license to spend less in the transfer market.

There’s a balance to be found in owning a football club and I would suggest that one shared consensus among supporters is that Morgan has rarely been able to achieve it.

Whether that’s entirely his fault or a portion of the blame lies elsewhere, only he and perhaps a handful of insiders truly know.

The state the club will be in when Steve Morgan finally waves goodbye, is of course another question entirely.

And just how long we’ll have to wait for an answer is really anyone’s guess.

Fulham Vs Wolves Preview

Last season I thought Wolves did a great job of slipping under the radar.

Stearman

Nobody seemed to be talking about us and that suited me as we made serene progress over the second half of the campaign.

Already this year though things have descended into farce.

Key players sold, unrest in the stands, indifferent form on the pitch and an owner who wants to sell up and move on.

I suppose Watford were a good example of a club who thrived in amongst the chaos, but they’re probably more the exception than the rule.

Fulham

Fulham_FC_LogoI’m sick of hearing the word Fulham already and we’re not even into October.

Fulham have signed former Wolves man Jamie O’Hara, Fulham have bid for Richard Stearman, Wolves have turned down a bid from Fulham for Kevin McDonald.

But the Londoners have certainly backed Kit Symons to get it right this season and it looks like things are starting to come together.

The demolition job they did on QPR last time out laid down a marker and confidence is sure to be sky high.

Only Middlesbrough (17) have scored more than Fulham (15) in the Championship and that’s having played a game more.

Wolves

Had Preston not been severely handicapped by dismissals, it’s hard to believe Wolves would have found a way back into the game on Saturday.

Team for Fulham

There’s very little fluidity to our play at the moment and we’re less than convincing in either penalty area. A bit of pretty passing in midfield can’t paper over those deficiencies.

I would suspect it will largely be the same team that started at the weekend, possibly with Ojo coming in for van La Parra.

We could really do with Benik Afobe rediscovering his goalscoring touch. He spurned a few late chances against Preston, which would have been gobbled up earlier in the year.

The gaffer

Predictions

This one has defeat written all over it. Ex-players, home team on form, Wolves in turmoil, etc, etc.

I just hope if we are going down at Craven Cottage, we go down swinging, which means a more resolute defensive showing and a bit more guts in the final third.

Kevin McDonald didn’t take the easy pass on Saturday, he made something happen. We need more of that from our important players.

Still, I think we’re in for a long night in the capital.

2-0 Fulham.

Up The Wolves!