Missing a Match
If there has to be an international break, this weekend was the perfect occasion because my wife`s sister and her husband came over yesterday and stayed the night. The timing, though welcome, was completely fortuitous, because their visits are co-ordinated with the demands of their elder daughter`s family in West London rather than arranged around the WW fixture list.
Perhaps that`s a good thing because, if I can persuade my wife that I had forgone a visit to Molineux yesterday, I will have earned brownie points, thereby reducing the need to go to so many garden centres and DIY stores (and suffering less aggravation for going to see a game in the first place).
Although the week lacked the excitement of a match build-up, I eagerly anticipated the climax of the transfer window. As time passed on Wednesday the Sky Sports presenters became increasingly animated in their reporting of the frantic activity and the huge amount of money being spent ... which just goes to show that they were not WW supporters.
I wasted a whole day watching the action on the TV, and in the Birmingham Mail and Express & Star blogs. I did learn, however, that David Davis was going on loan to ICT. Naturally, I am pleased for the lad but it was hardly what I wanted to hear. I had to go to the pub in the evening so I reluctantly relinquished my watching brief at 8 pm but firmly expected to learn on my return that Jez had pulled off a coup in the last couple of hours. Some hope!
There are two possible reasons for our lack of activity: either management believes that we have a strong enough squad already or that the club cannot afford to invest in the transfer market. Neither is a valid excuse. While we have improved this season (due to the acquisition of JOH and RJ and to the benefits brought about by a second year`s experience in the PL), the AV match indicated that we still have some way to go. In particular, we have gaps to fill and key positions to cover. And because of our vaunted solvency, we can afford to buy in one or two quality replacements. As kiawolves has suggested, the management appears to be rather complacent.
At least the weekend offered the opportunity to watch some WW players in action, if only surreptitiously and when my wife, her sister and husband were otherwise engaged. The ROI match was the obvious highlight but I had to record it because there`s absolutely no chance of commandeering the TV on Friday night, even though I had paid my dues earlier in the day by making the meals and hanging the washing out. I also recorded the Scottish match on Saturday, while the four of us enjoyed the landscape of the North Downs, visited a stately home and partook of afternoon tea (and an ice-cream).
In the event, my wife, tired out by a day painting the spare room, went to bed early on Friday evening and I managed to watch all four matches by constantly clicking between channels. Naturally, I missed all of the goals so I do not know if WH was at fault for the one he let in. How did our players fare? Well, firstly, none of them got crocked (but before we can breathe a sigh of relief they have got to survive Tuesday). Surprisingly, of the three starting outfielders- Berra, Doyle and Ward- the defenders performed the best.
Ward, in particular, had a good game. Although he still exhibited his tendency to back off, he made crucial tackles and interceptions, and looked good going forward. Berra`s fortunes were more mixed but on balance he put in a solid display. While his play was not without fault, he tackled , blocked, intercepted and headed well. If he did fall over in the box in extra time, at least Hubnik did trip him unlike the unwarranted dive Rezek took a couple of minutes earlier. Uncharacteristically, Doyle was subdued and rather tentative, seemingly lacking in confidence. It therefore came as no surprise when he was substituted in the 63rd. minute. Hunt came on for ten minutes and, although he buzzed around, he did not have much of a chance to influence the outcome.
In contrast, this week I will be able to look forward to a trip up to Molineux on Saturday as well as suffer the anxieties of the internationals on Tuesday. Let`s hope the club`s representatives all return unscathed because I think that the match against the Spurs is going to be a cracker. While I am pleased that we did not sell Doyle and Jarvis in the window (that`s some consolation), I would have preferred to see a Spurs team shorn of Bale and Modric trot out (and they have acquired Friedel, Adebayor and Parker too). I predict a 2-2 draw but would not be adverse to considering a 3-2 win.