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I`m Bakken Solbakken

A Wolves Fan`s Perspective on the Forthcoming Season

Considering how depressed I was in May, I, like other bloggers on Wolves websites, am feeling remarkably upbeat about the forthcoming season. The reason for this optimism is the new manager, the Norwegian Ståle Solbakken, who, although a totally unexpected appointment, has been universally welcomed by the fans. Arriving with an impressive record, his initial pronouncements have further enhanced his standing. Here was a person, I thought, who could drag the team into the modern world of soccer, a game characterised by pace, movement and athleticism.

Indeed, the manager showed his hand early with the acquisition of the talented young Icelandic striker, Björn Bergmann Sigurdarson, who (admittedly from You Tube clips) seems fast, skilful and deadly in front of goal. Presumably because he has viewed the video nasties that constitute a record of our dismal showing last season, Ståle has emphasized the need for the team to maintain possession, to keep the ball on the ground and to play higher up the pitch. He has also earmarked for remedial treatment another glaring weakness, namely, the inability of defenders, midfielders and strikers to work as units and the associated failure of each element to link effectively with the other two. If he succeeds, we will win more games and play more attractive football.

It is particularly gratifying to note that Ståle shares the fans` poor assessment of our defenders and intends to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, his initial target, the Norwegian international central defender, Vadim Demidov, preferred to sign for Eintracht Frankfurt. The club, like ours, has seen better days but could offer the player more money (so what`s new at Molineux?). He is also looking to solve our left-back problem, with rumours of a bid for Bryan Oviedo, whom Ståle brought to FC Copenhagen in 2010. While other teams are also interested in him, the Solbakken effect might do the trick, as it did with Sigurdarson.

While blogs reveal our impatience with the lack of progress in improving our back line, I believe that the manager`s reputation, especially in northern Europe, will enable him to bring in capable replacements. For the same reason, I cherish the irrational hope that we might be able to hold on to our stars. We don`t have to sell but, as Ståle has pointed out, we would have no option if offered silly money for players like Fletcher and Jarvis. Presumably, that is why we find ourselves in the market for midfielders and strikers.

Another reason why I am happy with the new managerial team, even if the continued employment of Terry Connor causes me palpitations, is the feeling that our young players will now be given a proper chance to prove their worth. Davis has already made the grade and Batth, after a successful loan period at Sheffield Wednesday, could join him in the side. It would save us millions if he replicates that form. Moreover, if need be (and with Jez Moxey holding the purse strings it`s a possibility), I have faith in the manager's ability to extract better performances from the many under-achieving members of the current squad (though perhaps not from those beyond redemption). It would be a start if he judged players solely on merit and selected them in their right positions.

In short, while relegation was a miserable experience, it could prove to be the springboard for a more promising future. I, like many other fans, felt that under the previous regime we could expect little more than a constant struggle to avoid relegation from the Premier League. Now, under a young, dynamic manager we have the opportunity to regroup, rectify the faults and move forward, allowing us not only to achieve promotion in the short-term but thereafter to improve our fortunes in the top flight. A 5-1 victory over Bray Wanderers last Saturday was an excellent start and a similar walloping of Walsall this weekend would be even better. It`s an exciting time to be a Wolves fan.

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The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday July 25 2012

Time: 12:00PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Cant argue too much here... you are right that we were going nowhere with MM and TC, all we need do now is rid ourselves of a couple of the below-par tactics and players that those two cultivated. Its far too early for any judgements to be cast, but Solbakken appears to be making the right moves - I just hope Moxey doesnt stick his fat head in where it doesnt belong. UTW !
Report Abuse
25/07/2012 12:41:00

Great write up Banks and only serves to uphold my enthusiasm for the upcoming season. No one saw this appointment coming, they did it quick and from what I have learned and heard from him so far I have to give M&M a nod and say well done. A complete left field move and exactly what we needed. I shall always maintain Mick should have gone after the Blackburn game; we just got worse, we ran out of ideas by the day and for a variety of reasons the spirit was drained from the squad which left nothing but an obvious relegation written on the wall. The TC 'reign' will be one difficult to forget, worse still that he is still there (surely not for too long.) The new manager, I don't care if it is a Sunday pub team, to win the league 5 times out of 6 you know how to put a team together to do the business, and I don't care if it was in Denmark because you can only beat what is in front of you and he did that year in year out. His right hand man who we have practically heard nothing about since he arrived is supposed to be one of the brightest young coaches out there also so with those two together I think the days of scratching our heads wondering why the hell this player or that is being employed in that position etc. I have actually watched some video clips and in one, which looks very relaxed I think it is Zubar he yanks by the arm and drags him back a yard or so and puts him in line with the other players. According to one report he stopped a flowing training game to tell Foley he had moved forward too quickly. These attentions to detail are mightily encouraging compared to the bizarre hollering noises we would hear Mick yell either from our seats in the ground or picked up on microphones. A good shift clearly will not do anymore. I did pull a face when I read an E&S headline including boss showing players the Barca way but the read, fairly in depth from two players put my mind at rest. Of course there was never any intent to replicate that but to my understanding he was showing how high they defend up the pitch and how many tackles the likes of Messi win, and the results from winning the ball back in such positions and so on. He just seems to be a proper football thinker, he has done it and competed in the Champions League. Very soft spoken and careful with his words but you wouldn't want to get on his wrong side would you, and he seems to have the respect from the players already and is stamping down his ideas. In what to me seems a fairly slow transfer window there have been six coming or going with the most impressive, the very quick signing of the Icelander. It is going to be very exciting to see what he can do and I can not wait to see us at Leeds. Great game to start the season with and a win there can really get their confidence up. Between now and then he will be working away on his system and brining in the players that can employ it for once. So far, so good, let's just hope they keep chipping away as they have and come opening day we will raise an eyebrow and say 'that is the Wolves' he has spoken about creating.
New York City Wolf
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27/07/2012 06:07:00


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