Wolves - A Confidence Trick
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A Confidence Trick

Looking at the Championship table this morning, I was pleased - if a little bemused - to see that we were nestling snugly in 4th equal place. Who`d have thought it after the disappointment of the Leeds and Cardiff games?

WW were a team in turmoil, lacking in confidence, coming to terms with the loss of key players and struggling to assimilate new recruits. These issues alone would have caused problems but on top of them members of the squad had to deal with a new manager and adapt to a completely different style of play. As I took my seat before the Leicester game, we lay in 23rd. place, that is, second from bottom.

Some might argue that the fixture list did us no favours, forcing us to play away games against two of the promotion candidates at a time when the team was in complete disarray. What a morale-sapping experience. Wouldn't it have been nice had we played Peterborough and Ipswich instead?

I disagree. We were in such a mess at the beginning of the season that we could not guarantee beating any team. Remember, Ipswich drew their opening match against Blackburn and, fortuitously, we took on Barnsley at their most clueless. So, as it turned out, we got two of our toughest matches out of the way at a time when we were bound to struggle. And, we gained a hardly deserved point against a far superior Derby side.

The defeats (and the fluky draw) concentrated minds and made management and players alike realise the magnitude of the task facing the club. Indeed, I would argue that they accelerated the process of adaptation to SS`s methods as they seemed to offer the only way forward after the failure of MM`s outmoded tactics. In this respect, the sacking of TC helped enormously.

The match against Leicester, a team tipped for promotion, was therefore a crucial one. With two interrupted weeks of training to improve the players` familiarity with the new tactics and to assimilate the new recruits - aided by a huge dollop of luck (I saw the siege on our goal at close hand) and the input of a sports psychologist- we pulled off what might prove to be a season-defining victory.

Now, we could face most Championship teams with greater assurance, more certain in our own ability to make quality count. We could expect not only to hold our own but also to win. And so it proved. Three wins on the trot, two of them away and two clean sheets to boot, have rocketed us up the table. All reports of the Peterborough match emphasized WW`s domination of all aspects of play, the only wonder being that we did not score more goals.

If sport is as much a mind-game as a physical one, what a boost to our confidence! It sets us up nicely for the eminently winnable match on Saturday against a stumbling Sheffield Wednesday. If we succeed, we can contemplate the run of three tricky away matches against Blackburn, Huddersfield and Bolton with equanimity. I wouldn`t have thought that two weeks ago.

So, the fixture list has been kind to us. That is not to say that it is going to be easy. Results to date have shown that any team can beat any other one in the division, regardless of their respective positions in the table. Our defenders are going to be tested by less generous strikers than those from Leicester, Ipswich, Peterborough and Barnsley. Similarly, our forwards are going to have to sharpen up.

I was therefore particularly pleased with Sigurdarson`s well-taken goal last Saturday because it showed that he is adapting to the faster pace and rough-and-tumble of the English game. SEB is scoring goals, too, and Doyle is superb. In the middle, Doumbia and Sako look classy and Henry is back to his best as an enforcer. I am also delighted to see Johnson and Berra return to form and to witness the greater stability which the returning Foley brings to the side.

We are on an upward curve and I am quietly confident, more so than I expected to be at the start of the season. Perhaps, the empty seats I wrote about in my Leicester report will soon be filled, as more fans get behind our team. It`s going to be an exciting season and far more enjoyable than the ones I have suffered over the past three years.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: southbank60 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 24 2012

Time: 5:16PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
those empty seats at the Leicester game proved one thing! that those "fans"? that stayed away are good time charlies and are not prepared to support the club when times are not so good, but watch them come back in their droves once we are top of the league and back in the premiership.
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24/09/2012 21:18:00

Couldn't agree more. We all new it was a transition period but if we can continue to grind out good results then who knows what will happen when we actually start firing on all cylinders. I expect a good report Saturday night SB as I will be missing the game on Saturday. I have t o have a colonoscopy for suspected Crohn's disease at 2:15 at Stafford so won't make the game. Trust me....given the choice of 90 minutes of anguish at Wolves or having a camera crew crawl up my arse......I'd rather choose the Wolves but needs must. UP THE WOLVES!!!!
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24/09/2012 21:47:00

Those empty seats were probably a lot of lads who play football sunday mornings and prefer to go straight to the pub from the match they have played ! , I have never known any club outside the prem n lower clubs in the prem sell out when they are on tele unless its a derby or against a top prem side , dont read too much into the attendence ........................ Lets hope the camera is not RUSTY hahaha !!!!
Will the Wanderer
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24/09/2012 22:01:00

Best of luck, Rustmonkey: I hope you get a good result at the hospital.
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24/09/2012 22:03:00

I think johnwolf's explanation for the empty seats is spot on. The stay-aways may well include sunday morning players who would rather go to the pub after their game than to the Molineux- I don't see how that's relevant though.The only thing to 'read in-to it', is that the predicted exodus of fair-weather 'fans' has taken place. 7,000 disappearances and, no doubt, 7,000 different excuses.Not being able to afford to go anymore is a genuine reason for no longer going. Going to the pub instead? Pffft! That sort can stay gone; it's better now anyway.I wonder how many of them would have dragged themselves out the pub if we'd still been in the PL playing e.g United. Ditto Southbank60's sentiments: All the best Rustmonkey.
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24/09/2012 22:57:00

Thnx for the support guys.....a couple of weeks ago I would have said that either way the ending would be ***** but then Wolves throw together a good run so I guess I can't play that card now, lol
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25/09/2012 00:06:00

So are you slagging off the 4000 fans who attended the Barnsley game as we got 24400 for that match , its a sunday game , dont read too much into it , its always been the same , in the prem we only got 25000 for one game on a sunday , its not a big deal !
Will the Wanderer
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25/09/2012 11:35:00

And we all know sundays are days for all day drinking sessions and probably just wanna go to the pub to watch it , who the hell are you to have a pop at people preferring to watch a game in the pub as there is hardly a live game for us to see now we are in the championship and I dont care how much you THINK you know football you always get a better understanding watching a game on the box than you do at the game ! , could be worse , could get 14000 like Blues !
Will the Wanderer
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25/09/2012 11:38:00

As a long distance supporter with an anti-sports wife, I can barely get to home games, let alone those elsewhere in the country. Indeeed, she keeps asking me why I don't support Fulham, the nearest team to me. OK, you all know the answer to that one. Clearly, therefore, I am a numpty, as are New York City Wolf and Crete Wolf, among many others. After a particularly vicious attack on us by MM I wrote a report, explaining our situation ... and, to tie in what I am saying with Will the Wanderer's point, I also argued that one can often get a better understanding of the game as a TV viewer (though none of the atmosphere). When I am sitting at one corner of the BW stand, what happens at the other end is often a complete mystery. And, I cannot rewind the action either! It doesn't help that I have to keep taking notes so that I can provide a report service to all you guys in Vital Wolves land. I should invest in one of those dictaphone thingies.
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25/09/2012 15:45:00

Rustmonkey hope everything goes alright i know what its like for fiveand a half years have had things put down me up me and in me its not very nice goodluck.
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26/09/2012 08:00:00

Returning to the issue of confidence, headlined in this report, I want to consider it in relation to the heavy defeat at Chelsea last night. Looking at the respective teams, the outcome was a foregone conclusion. One could liken it to our commanders ordering raw recruits over the top of the trenches in World War I to face concentrated machine-gun fire. I have no problem with that (though not the needless squandering of young lives in WWI, of course) because the cup does not matter in the grand scheme of things. If I had been SS, I would have made exactly the same calculation. Save our first team for the vital league match on Saturday and offer the fringe players game-time and the chance to force themselves into the reckoning. I don't know how many did. The experience must have had a disheartening effect on them, confirming the initial fears they felt on reading the team -sheet. They were simply outclassed, as we all knew they would be. I have only one worry and that is the issue of confidence. We have built up a good deal of momentum over the last three games and Chelsea cruelly and clinically ended it last night. How will it affect the whole squad, especially its impact on those players who are being kept back for Saturday? If they can divorce themselves from the result, explaining it away as the inevitable outcome of a mismatch between a strong PL side and a reserve Championship team, no damage will have been done. However, if it dents the morale of the entire squad, David Young, the sports psycholoogist, will be working hard over the next four days. Surely, the players will be able to make the distinction and on Saturday pick up where they left off last week. I'll be there to offer advice and a soothing word, if need be.
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26/09/2012 08:54:00

I agree with Johnwolf but it is a sad state of affairs, you either support your team or you do not thats the truth and those who have stayed away are not fans but fair weather fans who only went to see premiership teams, there are a lot of fans who would love to go to a match or own a season ticket but cannot afford it but unfotunately they will be back when success rears its head and i for one hope they stay away but the club cannot afford it so it is a necessary evil and when the ground is complete we need to fill it, so enjoy the season and what it brings but above all support your team through thick and thin and come saturday i will be up at 7am take my dog for a run on the beach get in my car and begin my journey from somerset pick up my brother at west b---m and come to see my beloved wolves its my 42nd season and come what may my money for next season in march will be gaining interest in the wolves account, i can put my hand on my heart and say I AM A WOLVES FAN and couldnt give a damn wether we are in the prem or not but for my clubs sake i want it to be and i want it to be as successful as it can on another note good luck Rustmonkey hope all goes well
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26/09/2012 18:20:00

Davies , I know my mate attends church every sunday , should he stop to attend a game ? , I also know someone who religiously goes for dinner with his family every sunday ( about 25 of them but only two go to the games ) , so you saying its wrong for those to swap what they do to attend a football match , now this may sound extreme what I'm typing , but I do NOT remember any of you saing what happened to the 4000 fans missing for the Barnsley match , its a bloody sunday game , just put your dummy's back in , its happened for aslong as I can remember with Wolves and most other clubs for that matter !
Will the Wanderer
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26/09/2012 22:21:00

That's right, it does happen at all clubs;following relegation the glory hunters disappear.
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26/09/2012 22:48:00


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