Writer: Stuart Smith
Date:Tuesday May 6 2008
Well, that`s it, the season over.
Not with the kind of bang a late winner usually creates, but a more muted sigh of regret for another failed promotion campaign.
With some already proposing talks open with Frank Rijkaard, it`s a good time to look at exactly where Wolves are 2 seasons in under Mick McCarthy.
No squad, no hope, no chance sums up the state of the club just prior to McCarthy`s arrival.
With little in the coffers to aid McCarthy`s need to strengthen en masse things looked pretty bleak.
A handful of astute signing later, and McCarthy started to build from the ruins of Glenn Hoddle`s reign, and fashioned a side that sneaked into the play offs, losing out to a stronger more experienced WBA in the semi`s.
No chance, to three games from the Premiership, and on a shoe string saw McCarthy hailed as the new messiah, even though it was apparent then, that there was still further work to be done.
And the over achievement of that first term brought out the very best in the Wolves bi polar mentality in the months to come.
The teams Achilles heel was its lack of firepower, and one of the biggest surprises was that any of the strikers tried came close to, let alone surpassed Seyi Olofinjana`s haul of 10 for that first season.
Bereft of strikers at the start of his tenure, McCarthy tried Jay Bothroyd, Jemal Johnson, Leon Clarke, Andy Keogh and Stephen Ward in a multitude of permutations, struggling to find a consistent scoring pair.
And continued to do so ,until this January`s transfer window which saw the arrival of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, looking every bit the part of goal scoring legend where others have flattered to deceive, finishing this season off with the accolade of divisional Golden Boot.
Defence has now been strengthened this season with the signing of George Elokobi, David Edwards has increased the attacking midfield options, and the return of Matty Jarvis to full fitness has shown that McCarthy was right in letting Michael McIndoe go to Bristol City.
Kevin Foley, Michael Gray and Darren Ward have proved to be wise acquisitions at the back, which will see further strengthening in the summer ahead of McCarthy`s third attempt at promotion.
Short termism is the scourge of Championship football. There is no quick fix, and short of a spending spree of Russian proportions, long term success cant be bought.
So in two year, we`ve gone from a squad down to its barest bones, to holding the two most coveted wingers in the division, the divisions top scorer, the divisions most wanted 'keeper and arguably left back.
Healthy competition exists in most areas, and there are still those in the squad whose potential has yet to be realized.
Steve Morgan may find himself having to dig deep this summer, but he wont have to break the bank to get the final pieces Mick McCarthy needs to build a squad that can live up to the high expectation in Wolverhampton.
A pre season free of injuries and Wolves will return for the next campaign in as strong a position as they`ve ever been to achieve promotion to the top flight.
Not for a fortune either.
And for doing that in two years, Mick McCarthy should be applauded.
Date:Tuesday May 6 2008
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