Date:Thursday September 7 2006
There are few Wolves fans without an opinion on Leon Clarke.
In his first few years as a professional footballer, he has seen his initial rising star turn into a lead balloon, gone from fledgling hero to number one villain, and gone from a boy to man in the process.
Now, after a lengthy silence, he has opened up to the Birmingham Mail about what the last couple of years have been like growing up at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
'It was hard for me last season, it was a big learning curve after breaking through the season before.'
'There were good times and bad times, more bad times to be honest, but Terry Connor told me to learn from it, take it on the chin and start growing up and being a man.'
'I think I've done that, and have hopefully learned from it to use to my advantage in the future.' he said.
'I wouldn't say my attitude is completely spot-on now, after all nobody's perfect, but it's a whole lot better and hopefully I can keep it going.'
Throughout all of his ups and downs, Leon has never lost the support of arguably the most important person in his professional life, The Gaffer.
Mick McCarthy's viewpoint on his potential is no different from the 2 men before him, something Leon appreciates perhaps more than most.
'The manager has been brilliant with me, putting his arm around my shoulder and telling me I'm a good player and that if I'm doing the right things I'll be involved,' he added.
Perhaps the biggest task ahead of Leon though, is winning over the fans. The lifeblood of Wolverhampton Wanderers can be some of the most demanding in the land, and once their minds are set, they can be very difficult to change.
But there now seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. If opionions can't quite be said to have changed, they may at least now be turning.
And Leon knows the best way to bring about what would be, a remarkable reversal.
'I seem to be getting a good reception this season and the fans have been really good to me,'
'No one has said anything negative, it's all been positive. 'Obviously there was a bad time last season but the fans seem to be supporting me now and hopefully I can give them something back, not least with a few goals.'
'There's nothing better than having the fans behind you, when things aren't going well and it's a bit negative it does affect you but when it's the other way round they are like a 12th man.'
There are those that will never be happy. There are those not prepared to hand out second chances.
Perhaps they have never needed one themselves.
Leon Clarke has shown maturity and strength of character in facing up to past events, and has learned from them, as he makes the transition from the follies of youth to becoming a man, and for that alone he deserves his chance for redemption.
Only time will tell if he is allowed that.
Vital Wolves certainly hopes that he is.
Moxey lays down the law on Wolves outcasts (Thursday April 24 2014)
Molineux redevelopment remains on hold (Wednesday April 23 2014)
Better than 2009 for Ikeme (Tuesday April 22 2014)
Wolves target record points haul (Tuesday April 22 2014)
Champions of Division 1 (Tuesday April 22 2014)
Stats: Leyton Orient v Wolves (Monday April 21 2014)
Stats: Wolves v Rotherham (Friday April 18 2014)
Wolves standards will not slip (Thursday April 17 2014)
Leicester lead chase for Sako? (Wednesday April 16 2014)
Wolves would have gone bust (Tuesday April 15 2014)
|5. Leyton Orient||44||23||11||10||+36||80|
|SUFC Can United take the points?
» Sheff Utd : 24/04/2014 20:00:00
|RUFC - No Interest For Croft From Millers
» Rotherham : 24/04/2014 19:43:00
|RUFC - Evans 'Wes Has Big Part To Play'
» Rotherham : 24/04/2014 19:29:00
|Port Vale v Sheffield United - History
» Sheff Utd : 24/04/2014 19:00:00
|Port Vale v Sheffield United - Match Officials
» Sheff Utd : 24/04/2014 19:00:00
|Orient Extend Lundstram Loan
» Leyton Orient : 24/04/2014 16:53:00
|'Keeper Exits Brunton Park
» Carlisle : 24/04/2014 11:52:00