Archives for February 2016

Wolves 2 Derby County 1

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Saville

How do you do it Wolverhampton Wanderers?

With any victory down the final stretch seeming fanciful, Molineux anticipated another chastening afternoon.

But with a roll your sleeves up attitude and a fantastic team ethic, hope returned and Derby were swept to one side.

George Saville is an unlikely hero based on so many anonymous outings to date, but the former Chelsea man was inspired.

Hard in the tackle (albeit in conceding the free kick for their equaliser), neat in his passing and clinical in the final third, this was finally potential realised.

Alongside the steady and reassuring presence of Kevin McDonald and the possessed Conor Coady, Saville’s role in the side suddenly makes complete sense.

A word too for Coady, who pushed his midfield colleague close for Man of the Match and was a constant driving force. This was the performance he was bought to consistently deliver.

We’ve seen glimpses against Blues and QPR, but this was Coady’s finest outing in a Wolves shirt to date.

It was also proof positive that these players are prepared to give everything for their under fire head coach.

Quite what possessed people into chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ is beyond me, given that Kenny Jackett had both his tactics and team selection spot on from the outset.

I might not have hooked Nathan Byrne either, but given that everyone (including myself) thought Derby would swat us away, he’d earned sufficient credit to do as he saw fit.

Anyone disagree?

Jackett will have been pleased by the natural balance Jeremy Helan brought to the left side of midfield.

The on loan Sheffield Wednesday winger was an effervescent presence and his combination play with Matt Doherty a feature of the team performance.

Doherty himself was brilliant, frequently getting in behind Derby’s back four and finding the inch perfect cross for Saville’s match winning moment.

Most pleasingly for everyone though, after so many dull, attritional Molineux contests, this was an afternoon to savour, fizzing along towards an exhilarating finale.

A most welcome interlude in otherwise trying times.

Nice one lads.

Wolves Vs Derby County Preview

Firstly guys, apologies for the outage.

Derby

I know conspiracy fans were salivating at the idea we’d been shut down by the club after Ben’s excellent post, but it was actually a much more basic and boring reason.

It did look at one stage that we’d be offline for considerably longer, which wasn’t entirely unappealing when facing up to writing this preview.

But as we’re back, I don’t want to disappoint you Prediction League fanatics (the table for which I will update over the weekend).

Derby

derby logoWhile we’re being informal, Derby can do one, with all their money and ambition. Makes me sick.

They even sacked their manager because the football wasn’t up to scratch, even though they were in the top six.

A couple of wins have recently got them back on track after it looked like they might completely fall away, much like last season.

But we know first hand they’re a good team with some excellent individuals.

I just wonder whether the big money arrivals have taken away from the overall team ethic that has impressed for a couple of years now without getting them promoted?

They tonked us again at Pride Park earlier in the season, so it would be nice to get some measure of revenge tomorrow.

Wolves

I think the arrival of Jeremy Helan has to be considered a positive. Pace in the attacking third is something we’re lacking and if nothing else, he brings that to the table.

Team for Brentford

As I’m writing this on a train, I don’t have the access to create a new team graphic, hence why I’ve used the above. But I actually wouldn’t play this team.

We need to stifle Derby and stop them playing football. If we try and go toe to toe, we’ll get beaten easily. I’d pack the midfield and just play one up top.

As for the new boy, yeah, I’d throw him straight in. Why not? He can’t do any worse than our other wide players have done in recent times and may inject some confidence and energy into a beleaguered team.

The gaffer

Predictions

It’s impossible to predict anything other than defeat.

I think Derby look better on paper than the collective sum of their parts these days, but they should have far too much for us.

As mentioned above, our best chance is to restrict their play and attempt to break quickly when the opportunity presents itself.

I don’t think we’ve got the discipline or the quality to do it effectively though, so…

3-1 Derby.

Up The Wolves!

Ben’s Fans’ Parliament Minutes

Personally, I couldn’t feel any worse about the state of our great club, the general lack of direction in which it is heading and no apparent sense of urgency to arrest the slump we’re in.

Wolves fans at Leyton Orient

But when I read back my notes from the Fans’ Parliament from a fortnight ago (apologies for the time it has taken in typing them), chief executive Jez Moxey didn’t sound unduly concerned, unless his confident exterior belied similar concern.

At times during the Fans’ Parliament meeting, I felt like I was living in a parallel universe as our chief executive proudly exclaimed that our emphasis on youth “is working” with rival clubs telling him so, despite current evidence suggesting otherwise.

And if fans don’t like it and place ‘X, Y or Z’ demands on the club before committing to an early bird season ticket, then he is not sure they are the right fans for Wolves.

There was no contrition, no apologies and no introspection from the chief executive, who actually trumpeted a number of success stories, along with a withering attack on Benik Afobe in tandem with Kevin Thelwell. (which has now been well documented. They really didn’t hold back).

After reading the official minutes on the official Wolves website, I felt I had to get my notes across, as some of the more contentious quotes appear to be missing.

The following comments from Jez Moxey caused me the most consternation:

· “If you say you will not renew (your season ticket) unless X, Y or Z, then that is not a relationship I would want with supporters.”

· “We believe in much more than the results on a Saturday afternoon. We believe in these young players. It is working. Clubs look at us and say that you have got this right. Why? Because we have been working at this for years and years. Why do the FA nick our people? Because your football club develops people.

Moxey

· “It’s not all about money” before arguably contradicting himself by saying: “We hope the knight in shining armour arrives over the horizon to help us and fund our aspirations!”

· Bournemouth only obtained promotion to the Premier League by ‘cheating’, such have been their disregard for financial fair play rules, which they will have to face up to ‘when’ they are relegated.

I didn’t ask any questions during the meeting aside one to the financial controller Rita Purewal at the very beginning, mostly because I was frantically scribbling down the many words that were being said.

It’s worth stating here that I am an NVQ Level 4 journalist with a 100 word-per-minute shorthand qualification and gained my qualifications through the Midlands News Association which owns the Express & Star. I used my shorthand when taking the following notes.

I always report on the fans’ parliament meetings as I see them and always comment honestly, whether it be good (the tour of the academy was a wonderful insight) or bad.

I felt that while Jez Moxey acknowledged and answered all of the questions posed (falling attendances being one) at the fans’ parliament, he didn’t sound unduly concerned by our predicament, with the following quote encapsulating what I felt was his general sentiment.

“If you do the right things then you create good fortune. The success will follow.”

The meeting started with ex-Stockport County CEO Ryan McKnight presenting some research into fans and their relationship with football clubs, specifically Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Personally, I didn’t take to Ryan – who was commissioned by Jez Moxey to carry out the independent research – or his overarching premise.

His presentation, condensed into a few paragraphs, was that Wolves fans should not expect success, when only 14% of 72 Football League clubs can ever achieve it in any given season. It is an unreasonable aspiration.

He advocated taking down the ‘This is our club. It knows no division’ banner inside the ground, as an example of his belief. I.E. It shouldn’t need stating and support shouldn’t be conditional on success / the subsequent division we are in.

If we love the club like our families have loved it for generations, then carrying on this tradition is more important than, say, abandoning the club next season and going 10 pin bowling.

Clubs should, according to Ryan, abandon a success based approach as their core purpose. Decision making should be devolved to supporters.

In short, Wolves should be more like Athletic Bilbao, who stand up for the Basque region and see their role in the community as being greater than any success gained on the pitch.

I took Ryan’s points on board, but felt the entire 30 minute presentation was too idealistic and dare I say romantic, based on the one glaring omission:

What is a football fan without hope?

I will write a separate blog on this thought but Ryan – a lifelong Wolves fan himself – failed to acknowledge that the increasing number of Wolves fans are considering walking away because all hope has been ripped from their souls. E.g. (Stearman, Afobe, Sako, Dicko, Graham departures / injuries, no quality replacements and an owner who isn’t in it for the long haul like Ryan tells us to be, despite having a ‘heart and body transplant’ to Wolves).

So while mentioning our fathers and grandads in a point of lineage, it is a spurious comparison to make when they could walk down Waterloo Road with varying degrees of hope, without apathy threatening their very DNA.

Ryan would probably counter this by saying we should keep on attending (under a ‘total membership model’ of support rather than season ticket principle) and get as close to the club as possible which will, in turn, stand up for our rights. The club should also become our mouthpiece and that of the city’s socio-economic needs.

So when fans demand certain criteria be met before renewing their early birds (investment in new players for example), then they are missing the point.

Jez Moxey’s most controversial of comments about not wanting a relationship with such fans was made in this context.

I will let you make your own minds up.

I was left dazed, if not a little confused.