Date:Saturday September 9 2006
One of the main criticisms aimed at Glenn Hoddle from the Wolves fan base was his steadfast refusal to play 4-4-2 football.
Call it what you want, 4-3-3/4-5-1, it simply didn't work in the eyes of many fans.
No flying wingers, lack of midfield battlers, bereft of the traditional centreforward, in short, just not Wolves.
Throughout his managerial career Hoddle has implemented a wide variety of formations, often switching during a game.
It confused those watching from the stands, and often confused the playing staff, something confirmed by Jody Craddock this week,
"Absolutely no disrespect to Glenn Hoddle but he kept swapping things around a lot and it did make it difficult for the players at times." he told the E&S.
It wasn't just the formation. It was the players that were deployed within it that led to frustration and angst amongst the paying public.
Carl Cort playing out wide in a forward three. Kenny Miller given the same role.
At least with Miller it could be argued that previously, he had actually scored numerous goals cutting in from out wide. The same cannot be said of 6'4' Corty, a good target man. A lousy winger.
Even after the signing of Tomasz Frankowski, and the addition of Jeremie Aliadiere, Hoddle refused to play to their strengths and adopt the traditional English formation.
Five foot eight Franek being played in the middle, was often isolated, and left to battle it out for high balls (when Postma didn`t kick out of play).
Little wonder the Polish striker failed to score.
The arrival of Mick McCarthy changed all that. McCarthy famously experimented with the Ireland national side`s formation, moving away from 4-4-2 for one match with disastrous results. Ireland took a thumping and he vowed never to do so again.
4-4-2 was back with a bang
Wolves` current fifth place standing in the league is perhaps a testament to which formation the current Wolves players prefer, and most feel at ease with. As three clean sheets from 5 matches goes to show.
'I think we have looked solid so far this season and it really has helped playing that (4-4-2) formation. We all know what we have to do and it makes it much easier for players coming in if they know their responsibilities.' Jody commented ahead of Wolves match with Leeds United, Wolves sternest test this season so far.
Whether this seasons campaign ends in overachievement by reaching the play-offs, or better. Or proves to be a staging post for a revival in fortunes next year, Mick McCarthy's decision to stick with the tried and tested has so far been a resounding success.
If it helps Wolves win at Elland Road in the League for the first time in 25 years, even more so.
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