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Wolves’ fans have started to make murmurings. Ill winds are gathering, and the voices of discontent are growing. Many outside Wolverhampton had warned pre season that over confidence in attaining automatic promotion may come back to haunt them. Now those warning appear to be coming home to roost at Molineux.

Before a ball had been kicked in anger Wolves were installed as bookies favourites for a top 2 place this year. And after their last end of season showing many pundits agreed with them.

A strong looking squad, bolstered by the addition of Jackie McNamara and Gabor Gyepes was thought by most to be adequate for the rigours of their division. Goal scoring was certainly not thought to be a cause for concern.

Vio Ganea and George Ndah both returning form injury, Kenny Miller and Carl Cort both fit, and 20 year old Leon Clarke, Young Player of the Year standing in the wings looked enough to strike fear into defences. And if that were not enough firepower, there was always Seol to be considered.

It all seems like a lifetime away now. Injuries have denied Glenn Hoddle his first choice 11 for a vast majority of the season. The strike department once so abundant looking has at times seemed extremely threadbare, and the team’s goal haul is currently on a par with their next opponents, bottom of the table Crewe.

The initial goal of automatic promotion has long since gone. Runaway leaders Reading seem set to have secured top slot, and one of either Watford or Sheffield United should bag second. But nothing in the 4 slots below that is settled. A play off berth is still by no means impossible.

It didn’t seem that way on Saturday though. Unhappy watching their side get out fought by a team clawing at survival Wolves fans turned on the team, and its manager en masse. Frustration is understandable. The club’s stated ambition was to finish in a top two position, and they have fallen some way short. But when paying fans, who think themselves some of the best in the land turn on their own players, then I would venture its not only the punters feeling short changed.

Already this week Glenn Hoddle and Paul Ince, both sensing the change in mood have called for calm on the terraces. The likelihood of that happening seems very slim.

But Wolves could start to dispel panic and to put the wheels back on their promotion wagon with a convincing victory against Crewe on Saturday afternoon.

Already the victims of one 4-0 hiding, Wolves most convincing victory under Glenn Hoddle so far, Crewe are most people shoe-ins for relegation this year. But an encouraging display against league leaders Reading will see them go into the match buoyed by Leicester’s ability to out-fight Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Walkers Stadium. And if greeted by a tame Molineux crowd, almost eager to see their side fail in order to vent frustration, their job will be made easier by the minute.

The closer it gets to the wire, the more important Wolves fans vocal support is going to become. If thousands turn up against Crewe expecting to see their side stumble and fail, that is exactly what’s going to happen.

It’s never easy to cheer on a side that you feel is under-performing. To urge them on to another goal, when they’ve just missed a sitter from 6 yards. The Pompey fans who cheered their side throughout a convincing hammering at the hands of Arsenal and Thierry Henry will tell you that.

But ask Henry why he thinks Portsmouth fans are some of the finest he’s ever seen. Or how much the crushing blow dealt to the Portsmouth players confidence by that loss was cushioned by the reaction of the Fratton faithful.

Wolves need their fans now more than at any point this season so far. Just as they are about to be fractured from within by calls for sacrificial sackings.

The Molineux crowd can be like an extra man to the home crowd. It can also reduce them to ten in a matter of moments.

But if Wolves slim hopes of climbing out of the Championship division are to be given any chance at all, then they need every voice of support they can muster behind them, not on top of them, where in times of need they are frequently to be found..




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The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday February 7 2006

Time: 11:13AM

 

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