Wolves - Another False Dawn
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Another False Dawn

I had set my alarm clock to ring at 7.30 a.m. yesterday but it must have gone off earlier because it was pitch black outside. Yet another false dawn ... and so it proved.

Even my wife was sympathetic. She listened patiently while I berated the team, and passed me a bottle of beer. To indicate solidarity, she asked me who was to blame, adding (perceptively, I thought) that in her experience as a teacher an effective head made the difference. This morning I actually got breakfast in bed: fortunately for our marriage, without the Sunday papers.

Pathetically, I dared to countenance the possibility that this time our fortunes might have changed. Indeed, I was so impatient for the kick-off that to kill time I volunteered to brave the ice and snow and do the Sainsbury`s shopping run by myself. Then, I hoovered the house from top to bottom (though I did it the other way round: perhaps that`s why my wife irritatingly kept pointing out things I had missed). Even so, she was so impressed that she took a picture of me hoovering the stairs and sent it to our daughter in Glasgow (who collapsed in astonishment).

And it could have been so different. Had we scored in that flurry of shots at five minutes, we might have won. We had clear-cut chances late on in the game too. And what about the injuries? Ohmygod, I am sounding like our manager, the master of would`ves and should`ves. If the ball hits the crossbar or is pushed away by the goalkeeper, that`s not bad luck, that`s poor placement.

However, it`s not really the fault of the attackers (I`m almost as sorry for Doyle as I am for myself). Yesterday`s performance forcibly reminded me that we are in this predicament because of the frailty of our defence. It has been ever thus but, yesterday, the defence as a whole was particularly dreadful. Even MM admitted it, though continuing to insist that the goals were due to isolated slip-ups. Rubbish! The players were utterly incapable of defending against set-pieces, were turned at will and caused me palpitations every time a long ball came through the middle. The team sheet was interesting too. If MM had decided to get the Strictly Come Dancing T.V. audience to select the players, he might have told us.

What can we do? Getting Craddock fit again will be a start, as he brings authority to central defence and coaxes a better performance out of his partner. Chopping and changing the pairing does not help either. It`s been a feature of the season, though yesterday it reached its nadir: if I recall correctly, we had three different partnerships. Taking the overview, circumstances have sometimes dictated the choice and, of course, we are stuck with the players we have. Nonetheless, one could be forgiven for assuming that, as we have a former international defender as a manager, our back line would at least be well-drilled and capable of functioning effectively. Even Blackpool managed to act as a cohesive unit against us. Surely, our defence is in such a sorry state that we must qualify for an emergency loan outside the transfer window!

As the latest match proved, Berra is just not good enough and, typically, had to resort to fouling the opposition. It did not take him long to find a place in the referee`s book. Incidentally, I would forego a settled pairing if it meant that he was one of them. Ann Widdecombe displays better footwork and she is more difficult to get round! At the moment, Mouyokolo isn`t the answer either, being at least partly at fault for both of the first two goals. Zubar looked uncomfortable in the middle too. What chance is there of picking up Lescott on loan in January? As we stand at the moment, he is the only defender of quality who would want to join us. Lescott and Craddock: that just might do it. If we do not sort out the problem - and the one at left back- we are doomed. If this happens, at least we will have time to groom the youngsters, Mouyokolo and Stearman, in preparation for our return to the top flight.

I`ll be at the game next Sunday, hoping that yesterday`s debacle will concentrate minds and lead to an improvement, just as a similar disaster did last year. Damn! That was the Birmingham match.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 5 2010

Time: 11:51AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
On another day it could easily have been 4-4. The chances you mention during the opening stages of the game were just so unlucky, especially the one that clattered away after hitting the crossbar and post from Zubar.
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05/12/2010 12:05:00

Perhaps, but all our shots had to go in against a resolute defence ...
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05/12/2010 12:11:00

I was waiting for someone to write something about yesterday before I chipped in with my comments,to be honest I did'nt have a clue what to say to make things any better.I think Ward in central midfield just about sums up our plight at the moment,I know we have injuries but did we have to resort to that?.The defence is abysmal,midfield not much better and we have an abundance of attacking players so why did we lay out all that money for Fletcher and have him sitting on the bench?.I think he deserves his chance now to play central striker,Doyle is a good player but goalscoring chances are not being taken and he has had enough time,I also think that Doyle is better equipped to play the wide role that MM has had Fletcher trying to play.Ultimately the manager must pay the price for team performances and while I dont think MM should go at this point in time I think he maybe only has the two derby games to 'convince' people that he should stay.I think we desperately need 2 players,a centre back and a class midfielder in January but alas, by then I think it will be too late.We have B'ham,WBA,and Wigan before xmas and if we are to achieve the nine wins reckoned to be needed to stay up, we need to win all of those,hand on heart I dont think we can,not with these team selections.I would rather see youngsters be given the chance than people playing out of position all the time!,Batth and Winnall could at least be given 20 minutes to gain some expierience.Anyway what do we 'Numptys' know?,I have a feeling though that if things do not turn around,I mean a run of results not an isolated win, Merlin could be on his way.Lescott I dont think is even an option,even a loan deal,his wages would smash the wage structure.I fear we will have to go 'down' to become a better team,hopefully retain all our players and come back stronger with a couple of new additions and some of our promising youngsters making the grade.Sunday 19th Dec at our biggest rivals ground could just be Merlins graveyard and then we will have the problem of who to appoint in his place?Up the Wolves!.
Crete Wolf
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05/12/2010 12:54:00

What a load of old tripe. I enjoyed the articles style and humour, but you cannot finish with huge in correctness! For us fans who have braved horrible away days recently such as Blackpool away and Blackburn yesterday, as well as being lucky enough to have season tickets - it is fair to say that those opinions are usually spot on the truth. So where do I stand? Well lets start with your statement that its not the fault of the attackers. Doyle you feel sorry for? For real? The guy has spent 95% of this season in a wide midfield role. Yesterday once again - his lack of in ability in being able to stand on or around the penalty spot cost us goals. For all his fantastic work rate - a million times better player than SEB - he's still never going to score! Notice how SEB scores simple goals for just being there. A likeness to Drogba, arguably the best striker in the world (definitely last season). Then theres Jarvis - brilliant on his day - but against Blackpool and Blackburn - utter useless. Berra had one cross yesterday and did a far better job than all of Jarvis' all day... A winger that cant cross or shoot? Like i said - brilliant on his day - but why do we not let Milijas take all the set pieces? The guy is outstanding. Our best player in the last month. The only player yesterday who you could say had a good game 90% of the time. You also state Berra isnt good enough, and Zubar looks uncomfortable?! YOU CLEARLY DON'T GO TO MANY GAMES! Berra has his flaws like them all, such as his persistent needless fouling and raising his arm appealing for offside constantly - but he IS good enough - we're just missing Craddock. ZUBAR WAS SENSATIONAL LAST WEEKEND. He was also solid yesterday. Did Match of The Day not show you that? Moyokolo is a complete waste of space. Has no talent and was another panic buy. Elokobi isn't worth my fingers in type. Ship them both out in January, and bring in Lescott. Real fans couldn't care less about a new stadium if were in the Championship. Use the millions there to buy him. Then spend millions on a decent left back. Keep clean sheets - get a point. Keep a clean sheet and sneak a goal - get 3 points. Just look at Birmingham to see that. This is all common knowledge. I hope what I have just written about has taught you something about our great club. P.s. Mancienne isn't worth any of our transfer budget. Watches the ball , and gives it away repeatedly. I genuinely believe Nigerian Oli was probably better. Lets bring the tackling back, and lose the defensive negativity. In Mick we trust.
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05/12/2010 13:40:00

Premiership Wolf: for someone who puts so much faith in the manager, you are rather critical of his tactics and team selection. If you read my article closely, you will also see that I criticized the forwards for having insufficient skill to score. I, too, would like Doyle to find the net more often but he has a thankless task: the onus of tracking back as well as being the sole focus up front is difficult to maintain. Zubar was great last week and he could have scored an excellent goal yesterday. I really rate him and he is one of MM's most inspired buys. However, in his exuberance to go forward, he sometimes exposes the team at the back. Moreover, he was uncomfortable when moved to the middle. I agree with much of what you say, including your verdict on Mouyokolo. I also value SEB as a goal poacher- this season we always seem to be closer to a goal when he comes on. But, he has Doyle alongside him: remember Doyle's pass last week? It also amazes me that Milijas does not take all the dead ball kicks: I have written at length about Jarvis and crossing in numerous blogs already. I maintain my dislike of Berra, who is fine if the ball is coming at head height towards him but is very easily turned. Why does he commit so many fouls? And, if he is such an accomplished Prem central defender, why does he need Craddock to hold his hand? I agree, however, that we desperately need a fit Craddock back in the side. I don't want to re-open the numpty debate but I know that when I am at a match, I can't see properly see much of the match: it was particularly bad behind the goal at Craven Cottage. On T.V., on the other hand, I get panoramic shots, close-ups and replays. I watched the match on freeview yesterday afternoon and played the recordings back a couple of times this morning before writing my piece. As I have written on another occasion, if you live in the Wolverhampton area, you are a lucky bugger. I don't and I cannot get to all the games but that does not mean that I don't have a good view of the matches ... or a legitimate view on them. See you there next week though.
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05/12/2010 14:12:00

I have to start by saying that I don't live in the Wolverhampton area... I live in Chester so for me its 2 hours each way... And that's on a good run. Starting with trusting Mick - i'm sorry but the guy dragged us from the bottom of the championship doing nothing, to gracing the turfs of Old Trafford and The Emirates etc. Constantly at the moment i'm questioning what the hell he is doing playing foley in midfield, fletcher out wide, elokobi at centre back (like last weekend) and ward (wherever the guy fancies playing), but he's the very man who got us where we are. He's no fool. We have major injury issues at the moment and that isnt helping, but we should have had a squad capable of doing a job (but then there's the argument of looking at Chelsea and their defence currently. Come January we need to be 7 points better off, with focus on spending good money on good players. And that is Micks job. If he's not allowed to spend, we are doomed... But if we do go down - who better to bring us back up? And I tell you what - we better not sell ANY of the squad that took us down. The likes of Jarvis and Henry owe the club for giving them the chance. And Doyle - he owes us a hell of a lot because at the moment, he's 33% of the problem. They are all on long contracts, so one season in the championship would be the very least we deserve. We bring Marcus straight back into the squad as well. That guy (along with Doyle) is the reason why we are still in the EPL this season. I can get over his poor kicking. He controls the defence ten fold better than 'stay on my line' hennesey (at fault though yesterday for moving off his line...), slight contradiction but I hope you get my point... With regards to Zubar going forward and leaving holes at the back - what's the point in Mancienne if he can't go forward? Zubar has a great strike, attacking flare, good in the air, and shows sheer determination. I for one don't want to lose that.
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05/12/2010 14:36:00

Hey, Premiership Wolf, we have achieved synergy. I endorse most of what you say. I particularly agree with your thoughts about the contractual obligations of our top players, who may be playing in the Championship next year. Like me, you only offer a qualified approval of MM's performance, though you are more tolerant of his stewardship of this season's disaster than I am. Like you, I thought he did a wonderful job for us up to the beginning of this season ... and the first half against Stoke was great too. It's just that I think he is running out of ideas to get us out of this mess, let alone make progress. It's not that he has had no money to spend or that he knows nothing about defending ... so he should be able to spot tactical shortcomings in this area (in other sides as well as our own) and possess the nous to assess the ability of a player to perform effectively in his allotted position, whether he is already in the squad or as a potential recruit. Incidentally, it's a 4+ hour journey for me. Owing to a damaged spine (an old rugby injury), I have to take regular stops when driving up otherwise my torso seizes up. It's not that pleasant sitting in a football ground seat either.
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05/12/2010 15:22:00

Well we will have to agree to disagree with regards to Mick. I'm sticking with him till the very end - I can't see anything better out there currently to replace him with anyway... Motivational wise Ian Holloway would be perfect - but would he leave Blackpool? And what would happen come next season if he kept us up? He's got no Premiership experience other than the past few months... O'Neil? Wouldn't come.... That leaves the likes of Pardew? Roeder? Really? No thank you. Stick with Mick. He really does care about our club and he will buy in January. Will he sort it out? Lets just hope so.
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05/12/2010 15:41:00

Premiership Wolf: fair enough and we agree on most things. I am sure that there would come a point when you would say enough is enough. What is your tipping point? Incidentally, you might like to consider changing your nom de plume should we fail to avoid the drop. I see that you wear your name with pride, as indeed I do, recalling the time when I could attend all the home games, including the prestigious ones against foreign opposition. Those were heady days for a young Wolves supporter and one that I desperately want to see recreated today (well, OK, I'll give it a couple of years).
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05/12/2010 15:59:00

Nope, If we go down, I'd want us to stick with him for one season. If he failed to get us back up - then he's gone. But lets not contemplate too much over that just yet. We are only 1/3rd of the way through the season?!
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05/12/2010 16:47:00

PremiershipWolf where were you when I needed backup regarding Mick on my articles! Completely agree with the majority of your comments, now is not the time to go swapping the manager, it is more likely to do more harm than good and as you point out, there is noone available who would be better than what we have in Mick.
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05/12/2010 17:26:00

Click here for the comments from our facebook page on Mick.
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05/12/2010 17:32:00

Akela: you and Premiership Wolf may well be right: it's a gamble one way or the other. If there are doubts in our mind about the risk of changing managers (and I share them, if not to the extent that the two of you do), we should stick with MM. The onus is on the fans calling for a change of manager to prove their case. Even so, in the real world, whatever our individual tipping-point, the only one that matters is Mr. Morgan's. With regard to contributions to the debate- any debate - on the Vital Wolves site, I would like to second Akela's hope that more people will join in (and do so regularly), whatever their views. We all want the best for the Wolves, even us numpties.
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05/12/2010 17:41:00

If Mick can spend in January and get in a centre back and a left back I think we'll be laughing, especially if they have experience..eh akela that used to be your pet hate on here!!! ;)
Wolf Man
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05/12/2010 19:20:00

I cant understand why both Hahneman and Stearman were left out in favour of Hennesey and Mouyokolo. Definitely a step backwards IMO.
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06/12/2010 03:55:00

I cant believe Newcastle have sacked Hughton,if we were in the position they are in, Merin would be 'the messiah'.I still think we should stick with the 'devil' we know.All the names banded about,half probably would not come through salary reasons and the other half?.Even if we do eventually go down I would give him a season to try and get us back up.When you think about it,who could we get at this stage of the season without disrupting the players and the system and what would happen to Stephen Ward?(Joke).No,Merlin will do for me at this moment in time.Up the Wolves.
Crete Wolf
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06/12/2010 16:49:00

January will reveal all. Nothing less than 2 seasoned prem defenders - and oh if only one of them was 1 Lescot on Loan. Im not a Mick fan, but I m not calling for his head, He must know Ward Stearman and Berra are not up to it - but with all the injuries and Moyokolo blowing hot and cold they have to get a start. however if there is no Intent in January, then things must change and mick must go.
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06/12/2010 21:15:00

Crete I thought that was a joke until I went on BBC and read it. I can not for a single second fathom as to why this manager has lost his job. Club in crisis, stormed the Championship, 11th, 4 points off 6th??? Beat Sunderland 5-1, Villa 6-0, beat Everton, beat Arsenal. Nothing would please me more than to see them relegated again for this. I laughed my b*alls off when they got relegated because they were too big for their boots and they deserved it. Now the owner deserves it. Idiotic.
New York City Wolf
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07/12/2010 02:30:00

You want to go and have a look on the toon Vital site,I think the kindest description of the chairman is a Fat Tosser! oh I hope that word is allowed? Fat?,it was on toon site anyway LOL.
Crete Wolf
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07/12/2010 11:38:00

Wolf Man you remembered, I'm touched! Actually experience right now would be nice, it isn't a coincidence that we are struggling while lacking Craddocks's leadership.
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07/12/2010 13:09:00

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07/12/2010 13:56:00

January still seems a very long way off for me, based on pure concern for the upcoming fixtures. Your heart is always beating faster ahead of a derby and I have almost always bet on us to take the points but this weekend I only hope they can surprise me because I can't see us getting anything. Mick has refused to blame injuries which is a good thing, nothing more annoying than Steve Bruce crying about losing two defenders when we were missing 6 players when we beat Sunderland. I'll say it for him however, that the injuries really are having an impact- we are crying out for the same four week in week out at the back- look at last season, the season before, Craddock and Berra were excellent together but his hand is being forced and it paints a gloomy picture when Stephen Ward is starting in midfield. There is a lot of talk about Lescott and who wouldn't want to see him here but if he is available for loan I assume there will be 'bigger' clubs than us offering bigger money- the upside however is that Lescott thankfully is not one of these who wants to sit at City counting his money- he wants his football and his soft spot for Wolves might, just might lead him back- it would only be a stop gap of course. He has made enough money for a lifetime but let's say he helped keep us up and we of course wanted to keep him- even a 50% pay cut would be outside of our pay structure and how many people, whatever profession, would take a 50% pay cut? The financial bubbles do tend to burst, how many clubs have we seen nearly vanish from existence, just as we were hours away from all those years ago- even Chelsea have tightened the spending culture that City are now mirroring. They don't need the money and if they are helping finance a large part of Bellamy's wages would they be happy to do the same for a Premiership club?
New York City Wolf
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07/12/2010 14:41:00


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