Work in Progress at Molineux
Ostensibly, yesterday`s trip up to the West Midlands was to help my wife trace her ancestors but it also gave me the opportunity to view the progress being made on the new Stan Cullis Stand.
We started out at 6.40 a.m., a little later than expected, as I had to deliver a second History lesson on the website. As expected, the M25 was very busy so it was nice to stop at Oxford services to rest my back and have a cup of coffee. No Wolves supporters there, nor at Warwick services, however.
We arrived at West Park at 9.40 a.m. and walked to the ground. Seeing the empty car park (apart from all the building stuff, of course), my wife pointed out that we could have parked much closer than we had done. Bugger! I was clearly still in 'driving to the match' mode. At least, I had time to visit the shop before sorting out my season ticket. As a senior citizen, I have to prove my age in order to pay at the concessionary rate. It seems as though an ability to quote from memory the names of the entire 1960 cup winning team and instantly to recall the famous victories over foreign opposition in the 1950s does not count.
All the way up the motorway I had been debating what strip to wear for the forthcoming season. While I do not wish to parade around the ground wearing the logo of a plastic crisp manufacturer, I am not really happy with the new shirt either: it is collarless, dyed the wrong colour and bears the insignia of a betting company. As you know, I dream of wearing the Goodyear strip. At the shop I tried on a junior - non advertising- version of the new shirt but it was slightly too small. I had reluctantly resigned myself to buying the new T-shirt when my wife found me the ideal purchase: a black and old gold sports shirt, with collar and the WW logo. Perfect.
Picking our way past the building site, we could see the new SC Stand rising up to our right. It appeared surprisingly compact, though it will loom larger once the upper tier is erected and the corners filled in. Looking at the empty space below the inserted tiers, I tried to visualise the completed stand, with its mega-store, museum, café, hospitality facilities (will the bar sell Banks`s Bitter?) and video screen. This wasn`t a problem, having helped to sweep the floors of the shell of the Mander Centre many years ago. Showing my passport to prove my age at the prefabricated ticket kiosk, I await my season ticket. With the reduced capacity, I am glad that I have secured one.
Sporting my new WW shirt, we returned to the car. Making a detour to look at Pendeford C.S., where my wife used to teach, we noticed that it is now a Business and Enterprise College. Wow! Then, off to Lichfield to sift the documents for evidence of my wife`s relations. Her ancestors lived in the Ironbridge area, the town where Billy Wright was born. Ah! The 1950s: now, that was the time to be a WW supporter. I quite like helping my wife in her search because, as I am a History teacher, it`s the only time that she listens to my advice.
On the way we stopped for petrol and I found myself in conversation with a Wolves supporter in the shop. I was wondering how he knew - it couldn`t have been any confidence in my demeanour- when I realised I was still wearing the WW shirt. Both of us think that we could do better this season but -and it now appears to be a big but- only if we sign another CB and a LB of proven PL quality.
Why am I worried? Well, while my wife was doing a stint of driving on the way home, I read the back page of the Express & Star. Now, I know one shouldn`t rely on the accuracy of the information contained in the rag but the report that we have virtually emptied our transfer kitty still concerns me. Having allegedly paid out a mere £8m for JOH and RJ, it seems we are incapable of purchasing the two defenders we desperately need. Even bloggers on this site are beginning to find reasons why we can field players like Elokobi and Ward at LB and Berra and Steaman as CB and avoid another relegation battle.
Surely, this is a smoke screen, an attempt to drive a hard bargain with the CEOs of clubs with whom we are currently negotiating. I hope so, otherwise the warm glow I currently feel towards MM, having defended his tactical nous on this website, will rapidly disappear. And, there are grounds for this fear. According to the Express & Star, MM pulled the plug on the Lee Wallace deal, arguing that he already possessed players equally as good. Hmm ... that`s extremely unlikely but let`s hope he has someone even better in mind. I am watching and waiting, pen poised. Regarding rebuilding the team, as well as the SC Stand, it really is 'work in progress`.