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Loyalty to the Club

Loyalty to the Club

Usually the subject of loyalty in soccer hits the headlines because of yet another example of disloyalty by a player or manager. I suppose it`s inevitable, given that it`s a profession in which individuals make obscene amounts of money and can indulge their every whim. Self-gratification (in its various forms) therefore tends to overrule such virtues as respect, the keeping of promises and the honouring of contracts.

While most of the stories concern players rather than managers (there are far more of them), the latter can be just as guilty of selfishness and lack of consideration for the clubs which employ them: take the recent examples of Mark Hughes and Alex McLeish. So, it`s life-affirming to read the story of Roberto Martinez, who has just turned down a profitable move to Aston Villa and an escape from the perpetual fight against relegation in order to soldier on at Wigan (admittedly with an enhanced salary). Even so, while my heart warms to him, my head tells me that this will make Wigan a more difficult rival next year. Grrr!!

Of course, here at Wolverhampton we have our own example of loyalty. Even though WW took up almost permanent residency in the relegation zone, leading to strident calls for his sacking by a section of the fans, MM plainly enjoyed the support of the board and the players. Moreover, the chairman and CEO made it clear that the manager would remain in post even if he failed to keep the team in the PL. As this looked highly unlikely at the time, this was a brave (or foolhardy, take your pick) gesture.

We shall never know what the board would have done had the team suffered the ignominy of relegation. More was at stake than mere prestige: because of the multi-million pound development plan for Molineux there was a lot riding on the maintenance of our PL status. Indeed, critics wondered whether the one could succeed without the other. I suspect that MM would have gained a stay of execution, with judgement being deferred until Christmas.

What of MM`s own loyalty to the club and the honouring of his contract? Even during the darkest days of Christmas and Easter, he constantly chanted the mantra that he should only be judged by the position WW ended up in at the close of play on 22 May. Leaving aside the issue of whether mere survival could be construed as a good enough result, he managed to pull it off. But what would have happened had Hunt not scored that vital goal in the 87th. minute? As an honourable man MM should have resigned, having patently failed to achieve his target. Thankfully, we will never know what was in his mind.

At this point, the argument goes into reverse. Should clubs adopt a different perspective on the issue of loyalty and the honouring of agreements? If a team is floundering under the stewardship of the manager, is it justifiable to sack him, written contract notwithstanding? Most fans would agree, though, as the heated nature of the debate has shown, they are divided as to what constituted a satisfactory outcome to the season.

For me, the interests of the club come first, though I wouldn`t want a manager to be saddled with unreasonable expectations, no matter what he might have had to agree to in the interview. For the record, I think that MM has fully fulfilled whatever promises he made to the selection panel in 2006. Merely to replace Hoddle was an improvement in itself. I am sure the board - and most fans- would have settled for promotion and survival in the PL for a third season. The question is: can he take us to the next level. I hope so but, if not, what do we do then? How loyal should we, as permanent fans, be to transient employees of our great club?

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

Date:Tuesday June 14 2011
Time: 9:28AM


see where we are come jan, if we are floundering again in the relegation zone then the right decision must be made... Luck played a part in our staying up this season, and the flaws in our side were and still are plain to see. If Mick doesnt address them, and we are in the same boat as last season he simply has to go. That said, I do believe we are only 2 or 3 (decent) players away from a mid-table side, if Mick can pin these 3 down we wont need to be having discussions like this ! WE ARE WOLVES !
Ad Mant
14/06/2011 13:37:00
"But what would have happened had Hunt not scored that vital goal in the 87th minute?" We'd have still stayed up by a point.
Sy V
14/06/2011 14:58:00
Sy V: you may be right but the fact that Hunt scored meant that Birmingham had to get another goal. As they pushed forward, they left themselves exposed to a Spurs counter-attack. And that's what happened. Foster went up for a corner which Spurs gathered up. He had barely recovered when Pavyluchenko received the ball. With Blues players all over the pitch and out of position, Pav. took a pot at goal.
14/06/2011 15:46:00
This is just the topic. Others concerned with transfer rumours and the ground development I see as quite secondary, for whatever new faces come into the squad and whatever the standard of Molineux, the fortunes of the Club will depend on who is in charge of the team. A slight correction - or better, a fuller or more ample version of the 'entente' between the board and MM would suggest that once SM was convinced that MM is the man to establish the Club in the PL, in the medium or long run, even if with an eventual hiccup of Championship football in the bargain, MM could announce that he 'is here for years to come'. True, we cannot know what Mick would have done had relegation become reality. I went into this in some detail in another thread, now I get feedback in a full-blown article. My own take is that MM was satisfied with having secured survival where the going was admittedly tougher than in the previous year, injuries apart, for all teams are plagued with them to one degree or another. Had he deemed not achieving the target of a mid-table position and just making it to stay in the PL as a failure, he would have done the honourable thing and offered to resign, despite the confidence of Chairman and CEO. The same would have applied in the event of relegation. I say that, in either case, his resignation would not have been accepted. That is only in line with the Chairman's declared esteem of the man - which leaves only the sack as the other possibility; again, out of the question for the same reason. The question I would like fans to ask themselves is: do they feel SM was right or justified in placing as much trust as he did in MM? The future alone will give the answer. For now, the question itself will do.
14/06/2011 16:08:00
Knowing MM's luck he will solid the defence up and then Doyle or Fletch wont notch 10 between them and Jarvis and Hunt have horrible seasons and then you will all be saying MM should have added to the attacking options hahaha ! , LovesW the board and MM know and accept the first 3-4 seasons are about staying in this league , yes ideally we would want to be safe with a month or so to go , and we did so the first season with in my eyes a team thats not as good as last seasons , Footballs a funny ole game and the premier league is not called the toughest in world football for nothing , fans saying we SHOULD be midtable , well it just baffles me , if we finish midtable then great and a great achievement by everyone but if we survive with a game to spare next season ill be happy , with each season you survive as i said in the first 3-4seasons you get established and experience grows , sum it up another way , IF we spend another 18 million this season that will be 54 million in 3 seasons , the top sides i.e Chelsea United Pool City Spurs and probably Arsenal too pay more than that in wages per year !!!!!!!!!!!!
14/06/2011 16:29:00
I think that everyone's bottom line is survival and if I were offered it now, I would probably take it. Of course, that presupposes that I could be assured of avoiding the drop but that's impossible. Moreover, if we merely aim to escape by the skin of our teeth, we risk falling short of even that target. Now that we are in our third season in the PL, optimistically we should be setting our sights a little higher. We might fail but, in doing so, we might avoid the deperately tense run-in that we experienced this time round. And, if not next year, when should we be thinking about the push forward that we all want?
14/06/2011 17:12:00
I agree Southbank , I just look at the teams that are mid table year in year out , Everton , Villa , Fulham , Sunderland , Bolton , they have spent a hell of a lot more than us and pay way higher wages even Newcastle they might not have spent much last year but i bet there wage bill was still double ours and even Stoke , they dont over spend but Pullis knows spending big means changing his style of play and i dont think hes capable of doing so , we think spending 18-20 million a season is a lot but its nothing really , i just think we need to be realistic when it comes to thinking our club is on a par with those , we are ambitious and we are improving , but to be realistic the promoted sides plus Albion Wigan and Stoke are the sides we should finish above and anything else is a bonus , Newcastle Bolton and Blackburn would to me be the bonus of finishing above and with our record against Blackburn we might aswell say thats 6 pts we wont get next year hahahaha
14/06/2011 21:22:00
Ad Mant, change the bleeding record moron, it is clear that you don't like MM, I suppose you are one of those cretinous Ince *****, talk about support, you wouldn't know the meaning of the word, now "BACKSTABBER" springs to mind, and you have the audacity to say we are wolves- you ******** well aint. The second word is OFF! back to tesco land. Has bully said luck doesn't come into it, Mick won't use the excuse of injuries, but look at the players he had out - but I suppose you will dismiss that as well, Mick should be given the job for life, because he is one of the best Mangers we have had since the Great Stan Cullis (and yes I did see his teams) in fact having supported the lads for 58 of my 62 years I have seen it all,I don't think you will last that long because you think you are the bees knees and the club are going to listen to you! well I have news for you - THEY WON'T!
14/06/2011 21:34:00
ODDJoB- stoke are much better than blackbur IMO
14/06/2011 21:59:00
With friends like you, johnwolf, MM does not need enemies. Why spoil a perfectly good argument with abusive language? You also trot out the standard insult against all the fans who do not agree with your point of view, namely, that they are not true WW supporters. On the contrary, you have to examine your own credentials, should you really believe in the nonsensical assertion that MM should be given the job for life, presumably regardless of what happens to the team. Therein lies the road to ruin. I fully expect a barrowload of abuse in reply to this post, which would only serve to prove my point.
14/06/2011 23:25:00
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