Talk of Nuno staying or going evokes memories of Bully in ’95 and the time he was off to Coventry.
Nearly 30 years have passed since The Clash barked along to a Midlands Today montage and in all the years since, only Nuno is worthy of mention in the same ‘cult’ conversation.
‘Darling you got to let me know, should I stay or should I go?’
In Bully’s case, being supplied by Salako, Huckerby and company – off the shoulder of Dion Dublin – was a bloody enticing Premier League prospect, but then they say that love is blind.
For odds-on new Arsenal manager favourite Nuno, similar short-term gratification would be far less immediate. And despite what Twitter is reporting, I not only can’t see him leaving for London, but I actually think the rumour is serving as a positive.
Here are the reasons why…
1. I heard on the grapevine that Nuno was less than impressed at not being backed to the levels he wanted over the summer (I heard this shortly before our Man City win) and wants more support in January. He could, conceivably, use this situation as a bartering tool to get that backing in a month or so, as he knows Fosun love him to bits and would do anything for him. I’d have no problem with this either.
Check out what Jeff Shi said on October 31: “We are always ready to invest, don’t worry about it. If we need to strengthen the squad, we have the capacity to do it – immediately, in January. We want to do the right deal. We understand our squad is still growing, but if we want to compete at a higher level, we need to give Nuno and the team more support.”
Now would seem an opportune time to remind Jeff that he wants to compete at a higher level.
2. On the premise that he wants to compete at a higher level, I’d wager that Wolves need only one, maybe two windows maximum to blow the bloody doors off the top 6, if not the top 4. A centre half, perhaps, and another option in midfield could well prove to be irresistible should we keep the rest of the squad fit and healthy. Looking at Arsenal, by their own fans’ admission, and they need an overhaul of their defence for starters, while the nous of Doherty and Jonny is hard to picture in the short term out wide, give or take Tierney? Is there anyone capable of dictating tempo in the middle of the park like Neves or Moutinho? Off the ball, let’s remember that Arsenal are an absolute mess of a side who refuse to do the basics, as epitomised by the slovenly Luiz – and 24 shots raining in on them in our recent draw.
Rebuilding this side takes time and as Nuno knows from his Valencia and Porto stints, time is one commodity not afforded to managers. In short, it’s arguably the right club at the wrong time.
3. Nuno’s cult status. It’s no coincidence that before and after every game, Nuno reserves a word of praise to us fans. (It still makes a pleasant change from the days of ‘Numpty’). Not only is his song an anthem, but he’s even got his own body moves for the lyrics. Compare with a twitter snapshot from the Gunners’ faithful: ‘Arsenal should liquidate if they go for Nuno’ / ‘Who is this Nuno Espirito guy? He is best when he is an underdog coach. It won’t work.’
To quote from another publication in recent times: ‘We have accrued a bond that’s rare in football. The Nuno love-in extends beyond a repertoire of songs, comedy merchandise and a regular swooning on social media whenever the man speaks, as if he were a fabled philosopher. It’s difficult to recall a more popular Wolves head coach/manager. Mick McCarthy had cult hero status too but the Yorkshireman always had his detractors who felt his old fashioned ways couldn’t take Wolves forward.’
Nuno said in 2018: “The fans are who we work for. When you have 5,600 of your fans at an away game you feel proud. The numbers have shown people follow us, people support us in all the stadiums and the atmosphere has been fantastic, at Molineux and away from home.”
Nuno said last night: “It requires a lot of effort to travel and be here on a night like this to support the team, that’s what makes us proud,” he said. “A journey that started in the Championship. I’m very proud.”
He knows what he means to us and we know what we mean to him.
Any manager worth his salt would find the prospect of taking over at Arsenal an alluring one, but times change. The football landscape has changed, with Leicester City’s rise, Man Utd’s slump and an impending Liverpool title an example of this.
Pamela Anderson adorned every lads’ bedroom wall once upon a time, but the ravages of time take their toll. Nobody can keep up appearances forever and for the established ‘top 4’, new challengers lie in wait. Unpalatable as it is to hear, but Arsenal can’t demand the best because they’re a ‘big club’ (nor can Pammy because she’s pert!). It doesn’t count for anything. Did we not say similar in the Championship for 30 years or more as we failed to admit the truth, gazumped by one and all?!
The prospect of gatecrashing the likes of Arsenal is the very reason that Nuno will want to stay. And far from thinking he’s taken Wolves as far as he can (as Tim Spiers asked), he’ll surely be contemplating that this might just be the beginning – particularly after beating the fabled top clubs in the past year and knowing how tangible this all is.
With backing from billionaire owners, a fan base who genuinely adore him like a God and a leaderless Arsenal side whose fans boo their own captain, should he stay or should he go?
I don’t even think it’s a question worth asking.