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Home and Away: it's all the Same



I should have been confident about winning this match, WW having broken the Blackburn Rovers jinx at Ewood Park the previous week. However, as AV proved on Saturday, the Rovers are a push-over at the moment and this seemed to devalue our victory. Yesterday`s result therefore helped to add gloss to our performances this season.

For me, the actual countdown to the match started on Friday morning in the High Street when I noticed a guy in a Fulham shirt coming towards me. We talked about the Dnipro game, which he had attended, and our upcoming match. He was confident that his side would win.

So, it was with some apprehension that I donned my WW shirt on Sunday morning before walking into the village for a newspaper. The guy at the checkout was an Arsenal fan so I compounded his misery by telling him that he could not have Doyle at any price. Packing my new season ticket, I set off at 8.45 a.m.

I`ll say one thing for the new strip: it`s easy to spot at service stations. So, I chatted to four WW fans at Oxford and waved to a fifth, who was just getting into his car at Warwick. The prevailing opinion was that we hoped for a win but would settle for a draw.

This was my view when I spoke to the WW fan, who drew up alongside me when I got out of my car at West Park at 11.30 a.m. Quite rightly, he told me to have more confidence in the team. I reminded him of this when we found ourselves walking back together at the end of the match. By then, of course, my confidence had grown.

I was looking forward to a pint of Banks`s Bitter at The Varsity but, as it was closed, I had to settle for a Black Sheep and a BLT sandwich at the Royal London across the road. Having paid, I noticed that The Varsity had opened. Aarrgghh!! Oh well, I could still go over for a pint of BB there. Wrong! The barmaid told me that the pub was waiting for a delivery and would I like a Black Sheep instead? (Perhaps, it`s the proximity to Wales!) Grumbling, I ordered a pint of Banks`s Mild.

I arrived at my seat in the BW stand at 1.36 pm and looked across to the empty Stan Cullis stand, still wondering about club priorities. Kick-off was delayed because of congestion and for the tribute to Frank Munro. What a sad loss. I remember his playing days at WW with affection.

As for the game, WW ran out worthy winners. Apart from a couple of close calls and a frantic last ten minutes, even I could relax, secure in the knowledge that we were outplaying Fulham (and scoring goals). We completely dominated the first half and could have gone in to the break twice as many goals to the good. Fulham tried a little harder after the interval, their substitutions helping to improve their performance without seriously challenging our superiority.

The team has definitely moved up a level this season and all the parts are working better as an integrated whole (but with some reservation: see below). We are particularly good going forward and this provides us with numerous chances to score: look at the stats of the match. At the same time, we are less likely to leak goals at the back. Nonetheless, we really would benefit from the acquisition of a CB and a LB, if only as cover.

Having raised the controversial issue of Ward, let me acknowledge the tremendous progress he has made this season. He had a great game yesterday, nullifying the threat posed by Duff, no mean player. In the 78th. minute, moreover, he made two crucial tackles in the box, thereby preserving our clean sheet and, incidentally, reducing the tension of a one goal lead with ten minutes to go. He also added an extra dimension to the team going forward, linking up well with Jarvis.

Even if there is still some room for improvement, one feels that there will not be so many last minute slip-ups this time round. The defence is much more solid and better organised, that is, doing the job it is meant to do, namely defending. The players are less proficient in moving the ball out and yesterday, apart from Ward, were guilty of sloppy passing. Berra and Stearman were particularly guilty and Johnson was not without fault. I yearn to see Zubar at RB, because, like Ward, he is good at linking up with the players in front of him and going forward himself. If Zubes`s back is still causing him problems, I would prefer to see Foley occupying that position. He is a more reliable defender than Stearman and exhibits greater control with the ball at his feet.

We won the game in midfield with Henry approaching his best as an enforcer. This allowed JOH to orchestrate the attacks and to get forward to have a number of shots on goal. Jarvis had a good game and was involved in both goals. Hunt was superb again, popping up all over the pitch. It was his cross that set up Johnson`s header that led to Jarvis`s goal. Actually, we were all celebrating Johnson`s goal when it hit the post!

Upfront, the partnership between Fletcher and Doyle is flourishing. Doyle improved on his Blackburn performance and deservedly bagged a goal ... the more difficult one of the two he should have scored. He is a priceless asset and the report of a Liverpool bid for him would have spoilt my day, had I not partaken of some fortified water by the time that I read the report. If Kenny Dalglish wants him, he is going to have to pay a lot more than the reported 10m. and shift my dead body out of the way first. Fletcher did not score but posed a constant threat. If one or two passes had been better flighted or weighted, he would have been on the score sheet. Thinking about the potency of our attacking force is helping to allay my built-in anxiety about all things WW.

I drove home in a state of euphoria, which traffic congestion on the M40 and the annoying Robbie Savage on 606 could not budge. However, I was worried that I would be late for my risotto at home, timed for 7.30 pm. At Oxford services I talked to a WW fan, who had his girl-friend in tow. If only my wife were as keen, it would mean fewer compensatory visits to garden centres and DIY stores. A phone call delayed the risotto and a bottle of white wine put her in a good mood. Settling down to watch Football First at 10.15 pm, glass of beer in hand, it was the end of a perfect day ... leaving aside the possibility of the departure of Doyler of course.




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The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday August 22 2011

Time: 10:54AM

Your Comments

Great report southbank. It was a great team performance, with every player playing out of their skin, a few mistakes and sloppy passes out of defence, but that can easily be improved. Would like to see Foley or Zubar at right back as Stearman sometimes looks like he forgets that he's a RB and drifts into the centre leaving space on the right, but that's just me beng picky! Bring on Villa on saturday, if we can get at least a point it'll be a brilliant start for the best Wolves team I've seen in my relatively short life time.
danjsharp
Great report southbank. It was a great team performance, with every player playing out of their skin, a few mistakes and sloppy passes out of defence, but that can easily be improved. Would like to see Foley or Zubar at right back as Stearman sometimes looks like he forgets that he's a RB and drifts into the centre leaving space on the right, but that's just me beng picky! Bring on Villa on saturday, if we can get at least a point it'll be a brilliant start for the best Wolves team I've seen in my relatively short life time.
danjsharp
Well done Wolves great start to the season keep it up... Just dont take 6 points of us this year please... lol... 'Spurs'
ChrisShelley
Well done Wolves great start to the season keep it up... Just dont take 6 points of us this year please... lol... 'Spurs'
ChrisShelley
Thought the lads were excellent. Keep this up and we'll be playing Barca next season lol!!! Banksy I'm glad you mentioned Ward. He was outstanding. And, I say this with much trepidation for fear of the inevitable stick i'm going to get but.... We do not need a new left back. Wardy is our man!!!!! UTW!!!
Big Tasty
Thought the lads were excellent. Keep this up and we'll be playing Barca next season lol!!! Banksy I'm glad you mentioned Ward. He was outstanding. And, I say this with much trepidation for fear of the inevitable stick i'm going to get but.... We do not need a new left back. Wardy is our man!!!!! UTW!!!
Big Tasty
I've said pretty much the same in a previous post, so can only agree with you on all points raised, good and bad. Great to see Foley come on, and want to see him start, as the sooner we get replacements for Stearman and Berra the better. WE ARE WOLVES !!!
AdMant
I've said pretty much the same in a previous post, so can only agree with you on all points raised, good and bad. Great to see Foley come on, and want to see him start, as the sooner we get replacements for Stearman and Berra the better. WE ARE WOLVES !!!
AdMant
Big Tasty: judging on his two PL performances this season, Ward is doing a good job at LB. But - and this is a complete reversal of my previous attitude - I am now worried lest he gets injured rather than being disappointed when he is fit and playing! It grieves me to say it but George is not an adequate replacement so we do need better cover for that position.
Southbank60
Big Tasty: judging on his two PL performances this season, Ward is doing a good job at LB. But - and this is a complete reversal of my previous attitude - I am now worried lest he gets injured rather than being disappointed when he is fit and playing! It grieves me to say it but George is not an adequate replacement so we do need better cover for that position.
Southbank60
Yep would agree that Big George has trouble against tricky quick wingers and is caught out of position too much. His distribution also needs work. But I try not to lose sight of the fact that we paid next to nothing for him. And at the end of the day, he's ours. And for all his faults....I still love him!! UTW!!
Big Tasty
Yep would agree that Big George has trouble against tricky quick wingers and is caught out of position too much. His distribution also needs work. But I try not to lose sight of the fact that we paid next to nothing for him. And at the end of the day, he's ours. And for all his faults....I still love him!! UTW!!
Big Tasty
You old softy, Big Tasty. You should be supporting a Surrey Sunday pub league division 3 side rather than a PL outfit. On the other hand, MM has often been accused of a similar fluffy selection policy towards Ward ... with some success at the moment. Let's hope that he doesn't fluff it.
Southbank60
You old softy, Big Tasty. You should be supporting a Surrey Sunday pub league division 3 side rather than a PL outfit. On the other hand, MM has often been accused of a similar fluffy selection policy towards Ward ... with some success at the moment. Let's hope that he doesn't fluff it.
Southbank60
Nice read. what was a surprise the weekend was how closed in the ground looked already with the new North Bank. I can't wait to get my seat back. By the time the grounds finished it'll be a hotbed for any opponents. If Carroll is worth 35 mil then Doyle who's a dead cert in the RoI Team is worth far more than 10 mil. I would hate us to lose him but sadly money talks and agents love their money. The only thing we can hope is that if he does go that Arsenal & Liverpool get involved in a bidding war. Atleast we could use the money to bolster the team. Unfortunately....I don't see a natural replacement for Doyle. Time will tell....next few days are gonna be a nail biter. I hope that he is the kind of lad who prefers to play rather than warm a bench, however, and lets be honest here.................if someone offered to probably triple your wages..............what would you do????? We all like to act like the good guy but we'd all struggle to turn down such an offer if it was presented to us. The other problem is he is Irish so the odds are he grew up a Liverpool fan anyway :(
Rustmonkey
Nice read. what was a surprise the weekend was how closed in the ground looked already with the new North Bank. I can't wait to get my seat back. By the time the grounds finished it'll be a hotbed for any opponents. If Carroll is worth 35 mil then Doyle who's a dead cert in the RoI Team is worth far more than 10 mil. I would hate us to lose him but sadly money talks and agents love their money. The only thing we can hope is that if he does go that Arsenal & Liverpool get involved in a bidding war. Atleast we could use the money to bolster the team. Unfortunately....I don't see a natural replacement for Doyle. Time will tell....next few days are gonna be a nail biter. I hope that he is the kind of lad who prefers to play rather than warm a bench, however, and lets be honest here.................if someone offered to probably triple your wages..............what would you do????? We all like to act like the good guy but we'd all struggle to turn down such an offer if it was presented to us. The other problem is he is Irish so the odds are he grew up a Liverpool fan anyway :(
Rustmonkey
WHY should we sell Doyle its taken the whole of last season to get him and fletch to player together why break it up now after the start we have made and why for 10mill he is worth a hell of alot more and what then happens at the moment we have six strikers if we sell Doyle and cant replace him that leaves 5. The hoff is leaveing that leaves 4 ward plays at LB that leaves 3 dont think Vokes is up to scratch which the leaves 2 Fletch and seb if 1 gets injured do we then play Ward up front that then leaves us with 1 LB Elikobi all of a sudden were up ***** creek with out a paddle i know money talks but it has to be alot more than 10m to even think about it we are not that desperate for the cash and if we did get reasonable amount who would we buy at this late stage.
kiawolves
WHY should we sell Doyle its taken the whole of last season to get him and fletch to player together why break it up now after the start we have made and why for 10mill he is worth a hell of alot more and what then happens at the moment we have six strikers if we sell Doyle and cant replace him that leaves 5. The hoff is leaveing that leaves 4 ward plays at LB that leaves 3 dont think Vokes is up to scratch which the leaves 2 Fletch and seb if 1 gets injured do we then play Ward up front that then leaves us with 1 LB Elikobi all of a sudden were up ***** creek with out a paddle i know money talks but it has to be alot more than 10m to even think about it we are not that desperate for the cash and if we did get reasonable amount who would we buy at this late stage.
kiawolves
dizzy heights - enjoy the moment lads!
merlin
dizzy heights - enjoy the moment lads!
merlin
Which,Kiawolves,is precisely why the window should close as the season starts.
all4divisions
Which,Kiawolves,is precisely why the window should close as the season starts.
all4divisions
I agree that this window remaining open makes no sense. I am not worried in the slightest about Doyle- it just won't happen and by Mick saying it would rip the heart of them if they were to let him go, there is no chance it is goign to happen. When they were signing, O'Hara said he was excited about our transfer targets (not sure what they told him there) but he was offered assurances our better players would not be sold- Johnson was straight forward in asking the same question; what would if do to those players who have had such a great start if they felt the club had let them down on transfer poilcy after just two games, and two impressive wins of which Doyle has been instrumental. All and any talk of 10 million is a joke regardless. He has recently signed a new improved contract; if O'Hara and Johnson are earning in the region of 35/40 grand a week he can't be too far behind them and if he is then he could always ask for an improvment which I can't see happening either- he has laughed off the transfer speculation same as Jarvis ignored it last season- for the record no bid was ever made there that we know of either. They are great players at the right age and whilst having our players linked with the likes of Liverpool and Juvents speaks volumes of the quality we have purchased and nurtured, it's even better to know we are not in a position where we need to sell anyone. I have said this before, but if we did struggle again this season and these clubs are still knocking on the door for them, then who could blame then if they went next summer for the sake of their careers. We have made a great start but I remain very concerned the window is coming to a close and there is all this talk of us having enough quality and depth in the squad. Ward has had great back to back performances and whilst myself and others have argued he looks better further up the field a few things; who would he drop to play him there? Jarvis? Hunt? Two more were great performances under their belts- Kightly and Hammill are waiting in the wings, so to speak to get their chance to shine. Only injuries to two or three I think will see him pushed forward now and then we have a worry, with Curious George coming in at left back. Everyone seems to agree that they are more comfortable when Foley has come on at right back, but for all his tinkering and odd substitutions in the past I am pleased that Mick has fielded the same team as I think it has done the players confidence good and kept those on the bench chomping at the bit- I think we will begin to start seeing the best of them now and as things stand our injury list is not the concern it was. I think we all look forward to Zubes storming down the right but if Foley is doing a storming job there he has to overtake both he and Stearman first so perhaps we will see him used in the middle instead? Great that these options are presenting themselves but I will stick by my guns and say we still should have signed more. Two, maybe three more. I can not for a minute believe they will not bring in a striker. The have done well to get a million for the Hoff so what exactly are they doing with the money? We have made as good a start as we could have hoped for and I can't actually see us getting beat at Villa. At the same time such promise could come undone with two or three injuries to key players. At the very least, their is a loan market, so use it! Mr. Banks- a tremendous read as always.
New York City Wolf
I agree that this window remaining open makes no sense. I am not worried in the slightest about Doyle- it just won't happen and by Mick saying it would rip the heart of them if they were to let him go, there is no chance it is goign to happen. When they were signing, O'Hara said he was excited about our transfer targets (not sure what they told him there) but he was offered assurances our better players would not be sold- Johnson was straight forward in asking the same question; what would if do to those players who have had such a great start if they felt the club had let them down on transfer poilcy after just two games, and two impressive wins of which Doyle has been instrumental. All and any talk of 10 million is a joke regardless. He has recently signed a new improved contract; if O'Hara and Johnson are earning in the region of 35/40 grand a week he can't be too far behind them and if he is then he could always ask for an improvment which I can't see happening either- he has laughed off the transfer speculation same as Jarvis ignored it last season- for the record no bid was ever made there that we know of either. They are great players at the right age and whilst having our players linked with the likes of Liverpool and Juvents speaks volumes of the quality we have purchased and nurtured, it's even better to know we are not in a position where we need to sell anyone. I have said this before, but if we did struggle again this season and these clubs are still knocking on the door for them, then who could blame then if they went next summer for the sake of their careers. We have made a great start but I remain very concerned the window is coming to a close and there is all this talk of us having enough quality and depth in the squad. Ward has had great back to back performances and whilst myself and others have argued he looks better further up the field a few things; who would he drop to play him there? Jarvis? Hunt? Two more were great performances under their belts- Kightly and Hammill are waiting in the wings, so to speak to get their chance to shine. Only injuries to two or three I think will see him pushed forward now and then we have a worry, with Curious George coming in at left back. Everyone seems to agree that they are more comfortable when Foley has come on at right back, but for all his tinkering and odd substitutions in the past I am pleased that Mick has fielded the same team as I think it has done the players confidence good and kept those on the bench chomping at the bit- I think we will begin to start seeing the best of them now and as things stand our injury list is not the concern it was. I think we all look forward to Zubes storming down the right but if Foley is doing a storming job there he has to overtake both he and Stearman first so perhaps we will see him used in the middle instead? Great that these options are presenting themselves but I will stick by my guns and say we still should have signed more. Two, maybe three more. I can not for a minute believe they will not bring in a striker. The have done well to get a million for the Hoff so what exactly are they doing with the money? We have made as good a start as we could have hoped for and I can't actually see us getting beat at Villa. At the same time such promise could come undone with two or three injuries to key players. At the very least, their is a loan market, so use it! Mr. Banks- a tremendous read as always.
New York City Wolf
 

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