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A Better Day out of the Office

A Better Day out of the Office

It was a strange feeling this morning with no game to look forward to, only the dread of following the fortunes of the teams around us. For my training ride, I therefore thought that I would cycle past Chelsea`s ground at Stoke D`Abernon in order to commune with the beautiful game and ponder on the likely outcome of the afternoon`s fixtures.

Armed with the statistics, I found myself having to make difficult decisions (as if they would have any bearing on the actual results).

Naturally, I hoped for a draw at Bloomfield Road as we don`t want Blackpool to disappear up the table, while it would keep Wigan below us on goal difference. If there had to be a victor, let it be Wigan ... by a narrow margin (we could have done without the minus six goals in the last two matches). Similarly, I wished for away victories at St. Andrew`s and Upton Park, realising that I had to let some teams fly the relegation zone in order more firmly to embed others in it. On the other hand, a home win for Everton against Blackburn would do nicely.

As I settled down rather anxiously to watch Gillette Soccer Saturday with Jeff Stelling, I had to fend off my wife ... somehow aware that the Wolves were not playing this afternoon, she thought that I would like to go out and help her choose a new front door.

She finds it hard enough to understand why I want to put myself through the agony of listening to the Beacon broadcast of the Wolves match, while simultaneously watching a murky freeview picture, beamed in 30 seconds after the sound (It`s a pity that in the gap one cannot warn the defenders to cover the striker ghosting in behind them and in doing so alter the course of the game). So, to spend the afternoon listening for occasional reports of other matches when I could have accompanied her to a home furnishings megastore was beyond her comprehension. Having made a vague gesture of doing the ironing, I took up my position behind the sofa, watching through latticed fingers and occasionally wrapping them round a bottle of beer chilling in the fridge. Within five minutes WHU and Wigan were a goal up ... then, it started getting better.

Well, it`s 5.06 pm now and I have just watched Jeff Stelling run through the table (though I had already done my own calculation) and we can breathe a sigh of relief. It`s still in our own hands because, if we win the game in hand, we will leap-frog WHU, Blackpool and Wigan. Moreover, we have to play two teams, Sunderland and Blackburn, in freefall, the latter match at home on the last day of the season. We all have to be there for that game because it could very well decide our fate.

How is the team going to react to this afternoon`s results? Positively, I hope, because MM has once again played his 'Get out of Jail` card, if only indirectly. Even so, Bill Stevens, the Wolves` sports therapist, is going to have his hands full over the course of the next few days, as the players fret the week away. Given that the stance of the team and management all season has been one of unwarranted complacency, the outcome of today`s matches will confirm the impression that the soccer gods are on their side. So, they should be able to play without tension or pressure.

I have my ticket for the Fulham game and look forward to a confident team performance, operating within a flexible 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation. Surely, MM will not cock it up by going 4-4-2?

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

Date:Saturday April 16 2011
Time: 5:42PM


I am afraid Mad Mick will go 4 4 2 he has already said so!
16/04/2011 18:17:00
I know and that's what worries me. Reassure me, lovesW!
16/04/2011 18:23:00
Southbank, 25 years ago I built a reflecting telescope, the second largest on the Island at the time. It took me a year of planning - where to get the optical and mechanical components, their quality, prices....I even had a 1:10 cale cardboard model of it by my bedside after I had decided on the design. The larger part of my free time that year was spent doing absolutely nothing but deliberating on the purchase of the primary mirror, the accuracy of it, since that is the core of the instrument. (Astronomical mirrors are advertised as having the paraboloidal surface accurate to 1/8th, 1/10th or 1/20 of the wavelenght of light...impossible for an amateur to verify, since the equipment for that is costlier than the scope itself, and is the exclusive reserve of professionals, and having the mirror tested involves time, additional expense and risk of damage to the mirror in transportation, and , at any rate, not worth it on a £300 objective mirror). The adverts went: your satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Sales psychologists eventually got round to make it clear to would-be customers that it is your satisfaction that is guaranteed, not at all the claimed accuracy of the mirror. And, indeed, in 9 out of 10 cases it would be found that the accuracy does fall short, but most amateur astronomers' experience with mirrors is limited, for one thing, and for another, the discrepancy in accuracy will be in the order of nanometers. So you go ahead and buy it because you are satisfied with it, and eager, all too eager to have it; accuracy does not come into it at all.........
18/04/2011 12:38:00
So, the moral is (and it is open to interpretation): don't believe all you hear or read and that purveyors of things which interest us foist inferior products on us under the impression that we are gullible enough to accept them.
18/04/2011 13:17:00
........had I gone on, most readers would have been put off by the sheer lenght of it. Southbank, you ask me to reassure you. I will comply and give you MY reassurance, not reassurance. That I cannot give. No one can. As to this reassurance of mine, I cannot run it through a series of tests - arithmetical, form of the team and that of the other teams, strenghts and weaknesses of players compared with those of our rivals in peril..I could also go by the first letters of the names of the clubs that have been relegated since the formation of the PL, by the gematria concealed in the letters of the names of the clubs, of their managers, owners, sponsors, consult would have no bearing whatsoever on that which is to be. The managers of the four Midlands clubs involved in the relegation fight were interviewed recently; the Express and Star or Birmingham Mail, I cannot recall which. All four say the same thing: great bunch of lads, team spirit and togetherness excellent, review the DVD's and correct the errors, support from CEO's and Chairmen, we will fight on. Southbank, even if all that be true with all four clubs, even if they play to perfection from now on, still three teams will go down. Am I then a fatalist? Accept everything as it is, because who is to go down will go down? Far from it. My reassurance consists in this: The slip of note paper in front of me for 4 weeks or so now, has a 'D' after VLA, NCS and EVE. Three points. I am still on course, exactly on course for my 42-point target, and that is excluding the Sunderland game, which I have omitted altogether, leaving it as a sort of 'reserve points source' should my win forecast for either the Fulham or Stoke matches turn out wrong. Stoke will be on a high on Saturday following their thrashing of Bolton, so if they put that to good effect and win against Villa, leaving the nether regions of the table, they may be tempted to rest a few players in view of the Cup Final and field a somewhat weakened side three days later. Everything is still to play for, and I still forsee that May Magic round the corner. The big regret for me will be if we do not go all out. Try and fail I accept, but try having held nothing back. Play Vokes, Hunt, have Hennessey go up for corners and set pieces, substitutes defenders for strikers if 0-2 down..but give all. It may fail disastrously, so what of it? Not scoring will most certainly fail. I went into this at somewhat greater lenght in another thread. So this is my reassurance for you. You are welcome to make it your own, if you so wish. But with me, not even your satisfaction is guaranteed, let alone its intrisic validity. Indeed, I would say that you will be seeking reassurance elsewhere just after having gone through all this crap. For crap it may as well be; still, I am kept alive nonetheless for it. You are then welcome to make this illusion your own, but that will be your decision. With me, it keeps me positive, for 3 or 4 weeks it will continue to do so. It will stop doing so only when it itself is destroyed. But even that much gain is enough benefit from an illusion before the reality asserts.
18/04/2011 13:48:00
Gosh, I am still not certain whether you know that I was being playful when I asked for your 'reassurance'. I should have included the inverted commas the first time. I take your point about going down fighting but that philosophy arguably lost us two or more points in the last two games. As you know, some time ago I had joined you in the 4-4-2 camp, but the last two games have proved to me that we are too fragile defensively to adopt it. Clearly, we might end up with the players lining up 1-1-9 but that's a couple of games down the road.
18/04/2011 14:10:00
You may be certain that I have been playful too. It would be foolish not to be playful about a game. The fragility of the defence is obvious, and it is difficult to see how it can be rectified and sustained that way; what else can be done other than try in all ways possible or imaginable to score more goals than are conceded? I like your last line. That is imaginary enough!
18/04/2011 15:04:00
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