Archives for May 2017

A dangerous triangle

Am I the only one concerned by the current events in WV1?

The cautious optimism that followed our final day win over Preston has been superseded by the gut- wrenching fear that Wolves are about to commit the same mistakes as 2016 – namely appointing a relatively unknown foreign manager and flooding the squad with unproven foreign talent.

For what it’s worth, the current managerial situation is an odd one. We can hardly say that Lambert tore up the league, with Blues at home surely the nadir of his short reign.

But he did make some astute signings that eventually got us over the line. And given our recent record with foreign managers, from Norway to Italy, we need to make sure we get this next appointment right, if Lambert is indeed on his way.

That’s not to say a foreign manager couldn’t work out well – each of the four play-off contenders this year took a chance on a left-field appointment and it has yielded more than 58 points for two consecutive seasons.

However, I don’t think the managerial situation is the issue here. It is what lies above.

The prospect of an agent running our on-field recruitment scares me a little. A man whose very role in the football industry is to engineer transfers for personal gain could be placed in charge of our comings and goings this summer.

And what’s more, he isn’t actually an employee of the club or Fosun. In an age where accountability is very much in vogue, this looks like a step backwards. Let alone whether any of these signings will actually be any good.

Mendes and our manager-in- waiting Nuno Espirito Santo (if betting offers are to be believed) have form here. Switch Fosun for another Oriental oligarch (the Singaporean Peter Lim) and we have the circus that was Valencia in late 2015/early 2016.

Take this quote from Roberto Ayala, a club stalwart and former technical director. He is referring to the set up at the Mestalla, and it is taken from the Portuguese press. Thanks to a Portuguese colleague of mine for the translation:

“I stepped back when I saw that things were not going well. There was a dangerous triangle between the owner [Peter Lim], the coach [Nuno Espírito Santo] and [Jorge] Mendes, the businessman. A triangle that was not going to help the club.”

“There was a technical secretary scouring the entire market looking for what was best for the club. Then the technical team was empowering the player and there was still the most skilled businessman in the world to negotiate.”

All sounds good so far, right?

“They bought at exaggerated prices and I could not participate in this style of management.”

And that’s where alarm bells ring. Are we about to see another summer splurge? Because if so, who is most likely to benefit from that? Our agent-cum-director of football, of course.

With Fosun remaining silent, we can only speculate. I really hope to be proven wrong, and that Mendes’ extensive phonebook yields a few Costas and no Gladons.

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The Bloggers’ Ball 2017

To all those who attended and survived…I salute you.

And to all those who missed out – like The Isle of Wight Festival in 1969 or the first Sex Pistols gig or when we beat Arsenal 5-1 in the snow – in years to come you’ll be saying:-

“Oh Yeah! Bloggers’ Ballbash 2017? I was there alright. A Classic!”

And so it was.

My particular Ballbash started on Friday when we drove up from Bournemouth to APV and met Clive.

And finished on Monday morning with a quick outing to the Molineux Megastore.

The days in between are starting to fade into a warm, comfortable glow but I’ve been told by the PMDG’er that I enjoyed them.

I’m not going to go into too much written detail because the * film that I’ve cobbled together pretty much sums up the time that we bloggers spent putting the World – and the Wolves – to rights.

* Warning! Contains strong language and scenes that might be disturbing to those of a nervous disposition.

Suffice to say it was a privilege to have spent some quality time with some old friends and some new faces who, hopefully, will come again and become part of the band of brothers that are renowned throughout the land. Or bloody well should be anyway.

And it was an absolute honour to be entertained by Steve Daley and Willie Carr – what a coup that was!

Many thanks to Brompton and Stu for setting it all up. Top men!

Another point, that the PMDG’er has just made to me. The Bloggers’ Ball is as much for the Bloggettes as the Bloggers. Wives and girlfriends are welcome and the ones who attended last weekend all had a blast.

Come along and see.

I was looking for some best or worst memories of being a Wolves fan over the years and managed to get a few on film but some people were too shy, or too fed up with me poking a camera in their faces, to comment.

If you would have liked to have contributed and I missed you, I’m sorry, but “we’d all had a drink”…

…and there’s always next year.

Wolves 1 Preston North End 0

After finishing last season in midtable with 58 points there was insatiable appetite for change.

New owners, two managers, circa £30 million of investment, endless recruitment and where did it get us?

58 points and a midtable finish.

Change it would seem, isn’t always for the better.

Success in the Championship relies on building up incrementally over time, not constantly sweeping the decks and starting from scratch.

History supports this stance. Only two managers have won promotion to the Premier League with Wolves and both of them accomplished the task in their third season.

Dave Jones and Mick McCarthy were given resources to sculpt their teams and more importantly time to get things right. They both wobbled and faltered at times but ultimately succeeded.

Learn the lesson.

Every manager will annoy you at some point. Every manager will pick players and choose formations you don’t like. If it’s not Paul Lambert it will be someone else, but the revolving door strategy seldom pays dividends.

It’s for this reason I banged the drum for keeping the faith with Kenny Jackett last season and it’s why my opinion is the same this time around.

Back Paul Lambert, afford him the resources and I’m confident we’ll get there quicker than the alternative path.

This was a decent enough performance to sign off on. Yes, it was a dead rubber against an average side, but there was plenty to feel good about, especially when you consider most of our key performers were absent.

Helder Costa, Ben Marshall, Ivan Cavaleiro, Matt Doherty and Carl Ikeme all sat it out and not many Championship teams could lose so many influential players and still be able to play with a degree of fluency.

Silvio, Graham and Enobakhare were all able deputies, resplendent in the Molineux sunshine and getting bums off seats with slick, incisive football.

Jordan Graham in particular was excellent in the first half, ruining Preston’s full-back at will and bending dangerous crosses into the box. His perfectly placed corner gave Danny Batth the ammunition to win the game.

The great thing about our returning winger is that his game is centered on finesses and footwork rather than pace and power, so unlike Nouha Dicko he probably isn’t as encumbered by his long stint on the sidelines.

What we don’t know about Graham just yet is whether he can give us a whole season at the level we’ve grown accustom to. If he can get anywhere close, then the team can be built around his considerable talent.

Enobakhare’s performance will be remembered for two gilt edged misses with an open goal at his mercy, but his potential remains undoubted. Find that killer instinct and we do have one hell of a player.

I’d give Silvio a contract extension if we can feel confident he’s over the worst of his injury problems. As with the aforementioned players, he obviously possesses the talent but must overcome his personal demons.

These three individuals highlight that there is talent at Paul Lambert’s disposal and coupled with those sidelined, not mentioning academy prospects like Ronan, Gibbs-White and Wilson, we should feel confident about our prospects.

Retain as much of the talent as possible, select carefully from the water carriers that give them a platform to shine and add the necessary steal and we certainly won’t be far off.

It might be all that wonderful May sunshine going to my head, but I’m already feeling good about next season.

Have a great summer. Up The Wolves!

Wolves Vs Preston North End Preview

Nearly there.

A season that was supposed to sparkle and shine will mercifully fizzle out on Sunday giving us all much needed respite – for a few weeks at least.

But the club can’t sit around watching the garden grow. There’s a mountain of work to get through reshaping this squad to ensure we avoid these dead rubbers next year.

For what it’s worth, I’d give Helder Costa the Player of the Season gong based on the fact we’ve only looked anything close to capable when he’s been on the pitch.

Dave Edwards is the only other realistic candidate and rightly so for hitting double figures and putting in the miles. I wouldn’t begrudge him the award.

Preston

Although they’ve drifted back towards midtable, you’ve got to say Simon Grayson continues to do a splendid job at Deepdale.

There’s no money there and a couple of key players left last summer, so keeping them up was probably about par for the season. The fact they’ve occasionally flirted with the play-offs is testament to the former Leeds and Blackpool boss.

I tend to think of them as your archetypal Championship team, keeping it tight at the back and going direct, but the statistics suggest otherwise. They’ve scored 64 and conceded 62, both at the higher end of the scale.

They come into this game off four straight defeats and a draw against whipping boys Rotherham, so perhaps they’re also keen to get the beach towels out?

Jordan Hugill and Callum Robinson have netted 24 goals between them, while Aiden McGeady has rediscovered some form in a drifting career to notch eight himself with a further nine assists.

Wolves

We already know Helder Costa is out and Ivan Cavaleiro suspended so we’re short in wide areas. But maybe Jordan Graham can manage an hour to at least occasionally get us off our seats?

It would be nice to play with some actual width at home for a change and with the above wingers on the pitch, as well as Enobakhare in the middle, there’s actually a chance Dicko might get some decent service.

Including the loan signings (Teixeira and Borthwick-Jackson) I’m expecting at least 10 players to leave with Saville, Price, Silvio, Stearman, Williamson, Henry, Wallace, Gladon all off and others possibly not far behind.

But all of the above XI seem certain to be here (Iorfa might be an exception) so lets try and extract a decent performance from the remain camp to give us a grain of optimism about next season.

Predictions

I think we might win this one. Preston look to have checked out worse than us. OK, most of their recent defeats came against the top sides but only taking a point against Rotherham must give us hope.

I’ll say 3-1.

Well done to Ash K who I believe has already won the Prediction League (a second triumph is that?) with a game to spare. I’ll update the final table on Sunday to confirm. Thanks to everyone who has taken part. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

For the final time this season…Up The Wolves!

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