Wolves’ boo-boys – a monster of the club’s own making

26 10 2011

by Adam Bate

It’s been a tough week to be a Wolves fan.

The revulsion towards the behaviour of a significant section of Wolves supporters has been widespread – and the criticism has been coming from all angles.

The Guardian’s Barry Glendenning tweeted that the fans were “clowns”, ESPN’s Daniel Pountney suggested they “grow up” and the WSC message boards were alive with the hot topic: “Are Wolves fans fickle?”

But this was nothing compared to the assessment of those within the club itself. Mick McCarthy labelled his detractors “mindless idiots” while captain Roger Johnson had already called the fans “a disgrace”.

Everything points to the conclusion that Wolves fans are ungrateful characters who believe they have a divine right to success.

But there are two sides to this particular story. And although those within the club will now allow people to run with the idea of a small club and its over-demanding fans, for those living in this one-club city a very different picture emerges.

After all, there are many who remember the words of Jez Moxey, the club’s chief executive, back in March of this year when he told supporters:

“The aim is to get us back where everyone thinks we belong. We are kidding ourselves if we think we can usurp Manchester United, but we think we can get to just below that level – in the top three, four or five clubs where we can be competing in Europe.”

It was a remarkable claim as it far outweighed even the long-term ambitions of many a hardcore supporter. And while McCarthy was slightly more pragmatic, his comments in May appeared to buy into the idea of speedy progress:

“Every year I’ve been here we’ve improved. If we survive then I won’t be looking for that experience again – I’ll be looking for the experience of trying to finish in the top ten rather than out of the bottom three.”

When survival did come that month – with just three minutes to spare – the club was quick to announce a breathtaking redevelopment of Molineux that would see three of the four stands rebuilt.

To the surprise of many, it was reported that plans had been drafted that could see the capacity increased to an astonishing 50,000 seats.

The message was clear – this is a club going places – and supporters in a city badly hit by the financial crisis were encouraged to snap up the limited number of season tickets that would be available while Molineux’s capacity would be reduced due to the redevelopment.

Given these grand plans, there was some disappointment when only three players were signed in the summer.

Dorus de Vries joined on a free transfer as a reserve keeper, Roger Johnson arrived to much fanfare and Jamie O’Hara – a key member of the team that had survived on the last day – saw his loan deal made permanent.

But again the word from the club was emphatic. Chairman Steve Morgan told fans in an interview on BBC Radio WM earlier this month that Wolves were the fifth biggest net spenders in the Premier League over the past three seasons having spent more than £40million on new players.

It was a case of horrible timing. On the field, Wolves were embarking on their worst run of defeats in more than a quarter of a century.

Five matches were lost, with the team two goals down by half-time at home to QPR and Newcastle as well as losing the Black Country derby to West Bromwich Albion by two goals to nil.

When this scoreline looked set to be repeated against newly-promoted Swansea, things reached tipping point.

Nothing anybody says will convince people there was anything constructive about the chants heard at Molineux on Saturday.

But those season ticket holders did not pluck their grand ideas from thin air.

For the so-called 3Ms – Moxey, McCarthy and Morgan – this is a monster of their own making.

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12 responses

26 10 2011
Paul

And that’s the problem, after these comments and an excellent first three results, Wolves fans started to believe we would progress. Now after 5 losses and a draw, we are making the same mistakes and hearing the same excuses as last year. No one wants to go through that again and we need to pick up points against the “lesser” teams to survive as we can not rely on beating the big boys once again.

The signings were supposed to address this problem, O’Hara hasn’t looked as good as last season and Rodger Johnson needs to shut up, stop talking in the press and put some performances in.

26 10 2011
johnwolf

What a load of cobblers, so according to your sentiments Jez,Steve and Mick should have been saying – “our aim is to finish fourth from bottom” over the next three or four seasons, then we will have a look at it and see if we can go higher.
This would really have pleased the fans,I am a season ticket holder and have been for nearly 40 years all though I have been going for 58 years, and every season I hope that we are going to finish has high as possible, if we survive this season, then next season I will be hoping for a top ten finish – will we get it? will it make me turn on the Manager,team etc, will it bloody hell, will it STOP me supporting the team/manager WILL IT BLOODY HELL!
There is NO excuse for the treatment that Mick recieved on Saturday, you are trying to make one for the moronic, cretinous, backstabbing excuses for fans – crap journalism or what!

26 10 2011
GhostGoal

Thanks for your lovely message.

The piece seeks to explain what’s going on at Molineux by giving some context to why so many fans are angry and frustrated with the manager.

The chanting was not constructive – as I say above.

But I’m not sure dismissing the concerns of thousands of paying fans by calling them “moronic, cretinous, backstabbing excuses for fans” really gets to the bottom of it either.

26 10 2011
Jakewolf

John, possibly the angriest man on the planet right now judging by this post and those left on other boards. I pity you and your 58 years of blind Wolves following, I really do. Where has it got you exactly? Has it improved your life? Have Wolves ever thanked you personally for sticking with them through thick and thin?

Sadly, Wolves don’t care about their fans; as long as they turn up, renew their season tickets and buy overpriced food they’re happy. They see you as cash flow and you happily buy their spin year after year even though nothing ever really improves.

It’s time for the club and fans to get real. Loyalty should begin with yourself and if you’re happy to keep throwing your money away, lining the pockets of players who don’t perform, a CEO who lies and a manager who is arrogant beyond reproach then good luck to you; you deserve each other. Don’t forget though John, other people are entitled to their opinions too and just because they don’t agree with you it doesn’t make them wrong.

26 10 2011
Jakewolf

It’s good to let the dust settle a little so you can get an objective view of things. The points you make – about both sides – are absolutely spot on. I fear the divide between McCarthy and the fans has grown too wide and unless he does something drastic like hold his hands up and admit he has got things wrong, make an apology and start employing better tactics then it’s only going to get worse.

26 10 2011
jon worcester

I agree I think most people are missing the point of what happened against Swansea at Molineux.
Mick McCarthy undeniably has done a great job for Wolves since he took over and no reasonable supporter would ever deny that.
The real point is that an established premiership team (now in their 3rd season) were given the `run around` for 80 mins by a newly promoted `championship grade` team (this is not a Swansea put down incidentally, but the fact is they are not premiership experienced players).
This also was not a `one off` but on the back of other similar recent performances.
I suggest that any established premier side playing at home, standing off and watching a newly promoted team giving them a footballing lesson for 80 mins, would receive a serious negative reaction from their fans and this would also be accentuated after a 5 game poor run of form.
The issue that is now dividing supporters is this `Has Mick McCarthy really got the coaching ability & managerial skills to develop a team capable of surviving comfortably in the premiership?” He seems to think he has, that Saturday & 2 seasons on would suggest not!
Also while captain Roger Johnson suggests Wolves supporters should have “patience with the team knocking the ball sideways… as that`s what they do at Chelsea & Man Utd”, I suggest even their supporters would soon get frustrated with such play if they were losing at home to Swansea and were also on the back of a 5 game losing streak. The reason their fans are prepared to put up with such luxuries is because they know they very rarely lose at home, if at all and are patient with such play because they are just waiting for that touch of class that will win them the game. Wolves do not regularly experience such luxuries!
So one minute Wolves supporters are told to be realists by Mick and just be thankful to him and privileged to be part of a relegation scrap the next to try and remember we retain possession in premiership and to treat the team like Man U, but surely Swansea showed more of that as a newly promoted championship team for 80 mins not Wolves, can you see why some fans might shout “you don`t know what your doing”? – You can`t have it both ways guys?
I know most Wolves supporters would just like to have a few seasons of calm mid table boredom without the fear of missing promotion to the premiership (18 years +) or facing relegation from it, their ambitions are not unrealistic, just respite enough to get the blood pressure down, the heart pumping at a sensible rate, regrow some fingernails and patch up some family relationships before they then start to moan about not being able to qualify for Europe or compete with the big four.
Then the media can rightly call the Wolves fans ungrateful and throw them in the bag with the other dozen premiership clubs who already reside there!
Most supporters also think Mick McCarthy would win himself a lot of friends back if he would re-examine his loyalties to some of the weaker links in the club. Surely a defensive coach is a must and has been a glaring problem to all onlookers not just supporters for years, many are getting the feeling that he is like the man living on the side of a mountain that is belching fire and sulphur who says `Volcano? What Volcano? I`ll take my chances, I survived yesterday & tomorrow I`ll take it on again` …there`s no fool like an old fool!

26 10 2011
Jakewolf

Perfect summary! not everyone who disagrees with MM is a boo-boy. I wish more people could see that.

26 10 2011
Numpy Martin (visiting Molineux since 1969)

For anyone from the Guardian …. who has probably never set foot in Molineux or possibly even been north of Watford …. to critisise Wolves fans is a joke. If Arsenal fans who have very little to boo about boo then thats OK I suppose.

Fact is that us Wolves fans are not expecting a push for Europe just yet regardless of the bull that Moxey spouts. We have had 10 seasons of listening to Moxey’s spin and few are stupid enough to believe much he says when he has his Season Ticket sales hat on. Nontheless I do think the club under Morgan (who has more football nous than Moxey) is capable of pushing up into the top 6 or 7 in the medium term. Top 5? Probably not given the money being splashed around at that level.

The current backlash is by passionate fans against the useless football that McCarthy and the team are serving up which I assure you is complete dross at the moment. We have been completely played off our own pitch by two of the promoted sides QPR and Swansea (for 84 minutes at least). We have gone 2-0 down for 6 premier league games in a row (is that a record?). That does not bode well for survival. Things have definitely gone downhill this season …. the work ethic in the team that kept us up over the last two seasons has evaporated. Swansea had 63% of the possession on Saturday and the reasons for this were abundantly clear to anyone who actually watched the game as to why this should be.

A few seasons ago we lost 6-0 at home to Southampton in the championship and we gave incredible support to the team that day. Why? Because the team were busting a gut, playing some decent stuff and were caught out by a freak result rather than turning out unacceptable performances in every home game.

McCarthy is living in his own little protective bubble IMO. Most fans, myself included thought it was stupid to take off both wingers for central midfielders and that the subs were made far too late. We were happy to see the new faces just the fact that BOTH wingers were withdrawn plus the subs were incredibly late considering our plight. Miraculously it paid off but fact is he/we got out of jail against Swansea more by luck than through judgement. McCarthy is now using this rather unlikely comeback to claim he always knew what he was doing.

A good many Wolves fans have come to the conclusion that McCarthy has done a great job for the club but has taken us as far as his ability allows. We may have spent £40m on net transfers over 3 seasons but we are now playing worse than at any time over those same 3 seasons. I firmly believe that we stand very little chance of survival this season if McCarthy stays in charge. Moxey is a money man with little idea about actual football but I do believe Morgan is more clued up and he will wake up and smell the coffee this season.

26 10 2011
John

Johnwolf – get a grip. This is a reasoned article backing up opinions with fact. Something you wouldn’t be able to achieve if your angry little life depended on it. Now bugger off back to teamtalk and stay there.

26 10 2011
Rupert

At least somebody gets it. Clowns like Steve Bates can appear on Sunday Suppliment and embarrass himself by asking “given the resources that Wolves have got and the money Mick spends in the transfer market, you wonder what some fans want, don’t you? I’d love to know what they think would be a realistic position.”

Well, Steve, after spending 40 million on players in three years I’d definitely expect not to lose 5 in a row, be absolutely battered at home by two newly promoted clubs and be favourites for relegation yet again.

And he is supposed to be a sports journalist? Absolutely clueless.

As for the 3 M’s, they have made their intentions clear and raised expectations. When it starts to look like they will not meet those expectations after I’ve been pursuaded to spend even more money on me and my son to attend they can expect discontent on the terraces. If they’ve got a problem with that, then I would advise them to **** off out of my city and find themselves another club.

26 10 2011
charley farley

we have been played off the park by new boys Swansea and QPR.
Enough said…Taxi for Mick…

27 10 2011
Darren

My only problem with the spouting off about spending 40M net is that SM made a pledge to invest 30M when he purchased Wolves for the well publicised tenner and also the amount of revenue generated by three years in the PL.

SM should spout off about the net spend after taking this into consideration because it would not look as good then would it?

No point investing in the ground if you don’t please the bums on seats with the main attraction, football, as it will soon be empty, just a bit more empty than before.

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