Separating Wolves & Relegation Talk
And so it begins.
Here Is The City- of whom I know little about, has shot their predictive load with regards not only the coming of the new season but it's end.
Last week I stumbled upon the interview I did with Vital Everton ahead of our trip to Goodison Park last year and must admit upon reflection I was not disappointed by either my words or optimism. I noted Fletcher, Hunt and Van Damme as excellent additions to the squad- little knowing the impact the first two would have- as for JVD it was not my idea to play him on the left wing so I stand by my assertion he was/is a good player. Elsewhere I named Doyle and Jarvis as those they should be aware of and wrapped things up with 1-1 prediction. I rarely gloat but will note that having also predicted a 2-1 win over Stoke on the opening day my mind turned to idility and a new career, well... betting (and, yes... making up words that I think Oxford missed.)
Thankfully, that idea was short lived- during the same interview I had predicted we would finish 12th.
As is mentioned above however, I am not disappointed with my prediction- as was established long before the end of the season- my disappointment sat with our performances and points haul, or lack there of. I shall never associate the 2010-11 season with the word success. Having achieved 'survival' the year before we found ourselves in a very good position to move forward, and set about doing so to the tune of 18 million pounds. Whilst some will tattle on that we finished with 40 points, the fact remains that we finished 17th. The proof is over the course of a season and there is no escaping the table when the whistle goes and you have kicked the last ball- ask Birmingham. There can be no greater, no more accurate a measure than the final league table and it told us that from 20 teams starting the season only three 'were worse than us.' The year before we finished above five others, which in my book carries a tad more respect.
If it was my money I would be concerned. Once again, the lack of a football season means it is 'Silly Season' and transfers a-go go.
Time shall tell. None of us really has a true idea of how many, or which players we have bid for, spoken with... the only point is when it becomes fact, the contract has been signed (nice touch on the Craddock deal) and the player is holding up the shirt of his new allegiance.
Anyways- most Toffee's were in agreement; we had a good squad, had spent money and spent it well. The Everton faithful had nodded with due respect, but in the grand scale of things they were amongst a minority. Wolves had pretty much across the board been lumped in with the others expected to endure a miserable relegation battle. Despite our outlay we were still considered to be amongst those very few in danger of a return to the Championship. I sniffed at their derision. They don't know what we've got at The Wolves. We'll show em!
Last year, we certainly etched ourselves on the memories of many. The fantastic wins- the Liverpool's. The Chelsea's, United, City's.... Tottenham 3-3; as fine a game I have seen as long as I can try to remember. No doubt it was better to look in from the outside, whilst we Wolves became infuriated by not an inability to beat the likes of the WIgan's and the West Ham's but the fact they embarrassed us. It was not a fun season and not one I shall remember fondly.
Last week I said that I was waiting for people to write us off again. I did not expect concrete predictions at this point (the author of the article actually has the clubs from 1 to 20; as in where we shall all finish) but it comes as no surprise. Do I blame them? I don't. From the outside in... who knows the daily ins and outs of each and every club. Jamie O'Hara spring to mind? The chap admits he did not know how big the club was until he got here, and football really is his business. What hope for those other mere observers.
I have no axe to grind with commentators as long as they present a fair, well informed argument. The Here In The City article suggests a third season could be 'one too many' for Wolves. After two close calls I can see why someone would assume another struggle. Unless we sign three quality players at the back I agree that we will struggle again. One thing I assure however is that I will not be making my 20 predictions until season's eve. The transfer window may well drag on into the season but by the time whistles go across the country managers will in the main signed the players they wanted to sign. At this point in time we have two years on the new boys. Q.P.R are being linked with some impressive names, Swansea are an admirable outfit, Norwich seem depleted of any significant funds. The three are going to find it tough but will all three go straight back down? Something tells me not.
Elsewhere I can not see much changing at either Blackburn or Wigan. One club I will be watching with great anticipation is Villa. Regardless of who they bring in this summer I think the club is up against it, and if we count backwards it does not take long to get back to Martin O'Neill. I scratch my head to this day as to why there was no greater outcry when they lost one of the best managers in the game- for part I understand the timing left a rather significant smear on his copy book, but the club have taken almighty steps backwards since O'Neill departed.
Houllier never seemed the right fit for Villa, and dropped the ball repeatedly during his short time in charge. I don't idle for more than a few minutes when I think of Birmingham City. A smirk perhaps. The way they are conducting themselves and hiking up transfers, they are playing a dangerous game whereby they could wake up one day to find everyone has given up on Dann and Johnson and already signed replacements from elsewhere. They shall leave it too late to bring in the replacements or will end up with unhappy players and wages they can not afford. I remember many years ago when the roof came off, thankfully landing on many of their empty seats; even the police couldn't stop laughing to a chorus of St Andrews is falling down. This time they might not be able to put it back together again. Oh well, they can always kick the league cup around the car park.
Anyways, not far away are our friends at Aston Villa. I like Villa. Great club, tradition, great support. I wish no ill on Villa but old Randy has surely put his foot in it this time. According to reports, they stepped away from Steve Mclaren fearing a backlash from the fans??? Then they appoint a manager who boasts a pretty impressive CV if relegation is the name of the game. This appointment must prove the most senseless in recent times. We can trust that the cameras will be focused sharply around the club, and whilst the hostility has quietened somewhat it will only take a couple of misplaced passes, then a few defeats before big Alex is under the glare. Like last year, I shall wait until we have closed business before making a prediction on our own chances next season, let alone those of others, but as things stand I believe that Wolverhampton Wanderers have enough quality in depth, and enough clout in the market to develop this squad further and steer well clear of a relegation battle. Once we have closed business I shall be offering a more accurate prediction. For the now, I don't think we should be too worried.
Thoughts on a post card. The usual address.