Sunshine Super Football


Writing the blog as the match starts is a weird thing. I know I’ll get tangled in wires at some point, the dogs will bite me, the lap top will end up with another dent and another crack in the screen. I’m a gloomy bastard sometimes. Usually after Wolves have been dicked by a no mark team like Sheffield United but normally it’s Burton, who we play today. I’ve never been so sick of football as when they beat us down here. I raged out of the Southbank all boppy and angry with my coat up my face like a Fooligan. Ranting, aggravated and heated. Around the corner from the Steve Bull came the Burton fans. Moms, Dads, kids, all happy with their victory, ecstatic in fact. I felt hollow and shit. I crept back into town to see what new colours of hair the bar staff in the Royal London had that week. This week has been punctuated by big dollops of rain dumped on us by various storms. Down the canal I lit my roll up with a lighter that disintegrated after a fart of flame I managed to catch. Then a big dollop of raindrop landed straight on the end of me roll up, extinguished it. Leon fucking Clarke I thought. It’s a long journey to Burton too, short in a temporal sense but long in that waiting for your dealer way. It goes on forever that road there. Leaves a hollow in your stomach like Leon Clarke.

We play ‘The Town Of The Damned’ again today. At their place. Burton is strange, I say that from personal experience as I’ve been there a few times on business and pleasure. I met a woman in a pub Sally Canwait. Her chat up line was ‘I’ve got loads of food in my fridge if you want to come back to mine’. Kind of sums up the vibe of the place where that glowing heaven of bite sized delights in the corner of the kitchen is a precursor to some hefty workman like lovemaking in a strange town. I hope our team feel some love today. Last week at Sheffield Utd was a dire affair of football apparently but one that has to come along at some point, perhaps a few points.

So, Sally Canwait had a zit on her neck, not a bad one, but it kind of held the attention. Leo Bonatini is that zit. I don’t mind it in a bad way he just holds my attention while he’s playing and I’ll explain why. Watching him move around the pitch he reminds me very much of Andy Mutch. Now I sent some big love to Andy Mutch the other week because I enjoyed his play, his link play really being that filter between Bully and whatever quality of ball came over the top or from the side via Dennison. That filter is a necessity to players like Jota and Brighty who require a pretty forensic ball to be played to them. That effortless perfectly weighted pass that dips right on the foot you want at the perfect pace. I’ve watched him do it, that ball gets dipped off with the skill of a Snooker player. His leg whether he’s in mid air or ready to receive a Warnockian ‘snackle’ is poised to deliver the right amount of pressure to the ball. His passes are rarely errant, often a work of pure art. He’s not a ‘snotter’ or a ‘head’ but an artiste of sorts and one I think is an integral part of the way he and the team get’s it’s groove on.

I’m tempted to believe that he’s probably the signing of the season once you look past the brilliance of Jota and the vibrancy of Neves. Jota I will have more words to say about another time but Neves? He’s had some stick hasn’t he? Gone off the boil a bit, not really catching fire as well as he did earlier. That gets Marvin Groin in a state straight away. Marvin would live in Burton, two bedroom house, Vauxhall car, tribal tattoos he would be married to Sally Canwait too. You see there’s nothing better than a Marvin having a rant. You can switch him on like a Duracell bunny, watch him wind up, go red in the face. All you have to mention is a certain player he doesn’t like or understand and he’s off. Neves is that player for Marvin. I suspect Neves is just having a bit of grief settling down. It’s tough moving from a beautiful Mediterranean groove to Wolvo. We love our Wolvo of course because we have the proper filters in place to appreciate it. Neves of course looks like a fella having problems deciding what filters to put in place. The cadence of your life away from the training ground has some effect on how you play our football and Neves is at the moment a little polarised, maybe a little detuned to the rest of the band so his parts of the great Nuno musical hit are discordant sometimes, a little too loud and often not loud enough. But like all band leaders Count Nuno will be tapping his baton relentlessly to get everybody on the same musical wavelength, I can see it happening in the future, Nuno is too good a coach to let Neves slip into some abstract existence.

Now today we are going to have a new face in the back three. I think Boly still has a bad leg or something and I also suspect we may see Hause in there somewhere. I don’t mind Hause, he has kind of lost his way again for some reason or another and maybe today will see him stake a place in the back. When I wrote ‘Mad Men’ the other day I was thinking about Hause a lot. Now I suspected Neves might be the mad man in the team this season, the maverick gunman, the wild bastard we need to kick start some mental football. But now I’ve though about it some more maybe the dynamics of the team could do with a Hause or two. He’s not backward in coming forward Mr Hause. I can see him settling some rhythm down at the back, getting stuck in and bullying a few people. I hope he plays today.

‘Hey! No fighting in here! Oi put those Bounties back now!’ Swansea away.

Ok forget about Hause, he’s not even a thing today, just saw the team announcement. Bennett, ok then, maybe he is a thing. Bonatini out too so everybody I’ve just bigged up in the previous words aren’t even in the team. Good job I’m not a Manager or a pro-blogger innit? Saiss in too next to Neves. I don’t mind Saiss, his shots into the Southbank wake me up a bit and he’s a bit gnarly too and my inner Sunday footballer enjoys this a lot. Mr Groin will be gnashing his teeth of course, he hasn’t got over Dave yet. I’m liking Cavaleiro at the front too, hat trick I hope, Jota and Costa on either shoulder like bad demon/good angel whispering naughty things in his ear. Wonder if Costa is aking the Bonatini roole? Its a statement of intent for sure, the art of Bonatini or the rage of Cav’ who knows?

So Cav put through Jota and he scores. The journey becomes a little brighter for our loyal and brave fans that made their way up the road to nowhere. I am grinning, I am happy, fuck Leon Clarke. Fuck Sheffield. Fuck Burton Albion with their cursed last name. Fuck Nigel Clough too. Fuck Brewery towns and I’m on the fence yelling at the pitch at some ground in the 80’s shouting so loud my voice just stops dead. A.L.B.I.O.N SHIT ON THEM SHIT ON THEM. For Gods sake save me, this joy erupts within me and is a fire, a fire that gives me Jota love in armfuls. Now Saiss!! We are moving the ball around too fast for the agricultural Burton, it was coming wasn’t it? We knew they would click at some point. Oh my days, I have to sit down, the dogs are barking and I’m feeling that hot football sun on my head even though the skies outside are grey and sad. Sunshine super football all day my friends. Joys. Madness. Holiday vibes. Laughing babies, little puppies, little kittens!

Has Nuno sat within his office and endlessly clicked the Rubik cube of possible dynamic tactics and squad position? Has he rolled the bones at his feet and asked the Gods for aid? Who knows? But this front three are moving like a snake at the moment. I’m listening on the radio, refreshing the Twatter, texting friends in the ground. Madness, insanity. Burton fucking Albion for Gods sake. But it’s working obviously. Helda is a thing, is he the missing link, the bridge between the old and the new having been part of both. Is he the piece of the puzzle we had dropped down the back of the settee and now he has been found we are complete? Questions!

Burton of course wont let Wolves have it all their own way. There always has to be a drunk at the kids party falling over onto the cake, getting all emotional over something and then anger, ranting in the middle of the garden while the kids are crying and everybody should be off really it’s late. Burton ball, fuck ’em off Wolves, don’t take any shit.

‘Cavaleiro throws himself on the floor and wins a free kick’

Burton you horrible bitter twisted non entitys, how dare you after the histrionics you showed at our ground in numerous games. You disgust me. Town of the damned you are, the Vauxhall cavalier of towns, a haven of blandness, a Nans browser history of a town.

Burton are pushing up, being pressure dynamic, moving these big crosses into our box apparently. I’m hopeful it will leave a gap as big as the ones in Sally Canwaits teeth just big enough for the ‘TRIDENT OF POWER’ Jota/Cavaleiro and Costa to slide in like a sesame seed. Like a sausage in a roll. Like a pound coin in a crackheads pocket. And as I type Salt’N Vinagre with a belter. I’m emotional I’ll be honest. I told you they would click, I knew it. Unstoppable, European cup glory in two years, I see it. I’m over emotional, the dogs are barking and the tea is burning and I know I should be there but I’m not I’m here but that inner sun is still shining bright in my heart. 0-3. Nuno you Magi, you absolute Magician.

Half time and my phone starts buzzing with messages ‘awesome’ and ‘brilliant ay’ and ‘have you got that money you owe me’ ok forget that last one. But the vibe is clear now, we must have absolutely decimated those crab hand Burton bastards. I bet they are sitting in the dressing room now rubbing lotion on the burns they got from our front three running around like little burning suns. I bet the ground is heaving with the passion from our away support. I’m sad and happy. Sad I’m not there but happy we’re winning. Who needs a striker anyway ay? What would those weird named non entities from Europe have given us that the Molineux Trinity of Costa-Jota-Cavaleiro haven’t? Such slickness.

‘AAAAAAAAA BonafuckingTini you beauty!!!!!!’

I stand here happy now, four fucking nil my friends. It’s a destruction of Burton. A decimation of their intent and a reinforcement of ours. Bonatini you absolute beauty. Yes you are a part of it, get your nose in their son. Here’s a paper plate, we have onion bhajjis, sausage rolls, quiche, pork pie, a bit of black forest gateaux. Eat your fill my friend, eat in the cosmic glow of the community center disco that is the cultural apex of this godforsaken place, remember this is a story you will tell your children and you will point to the East and say yes, there I slayed the one eyed blandness of that place and yes! I left them weeping into their Marmite smelling shirts.

Well there we go. Another weird day being a Wolves fan. The ignominy of Sheffield a few days ago and now the treasure of bringing back the spoils from that depressing weird place Burton. We have to have these days don’t we, at least a few times in the season when everything clicks into place. The Kwan has indeed flowed today and yes it could be construed as metaphysical. It didn’t flow in the week for sure but under all the chaos of the Leon Clarke retro revival there was still a belief, still a thought that there was a kind of unstoppable force to the season at Wolves. There’s something moving in the sand stone geology underneath Molineux that hasn’t moved for many years. I suspect it’s a Dragon, a huge fiery thing that went to sleep at the end of the sixties and the success we have had since is the Dragon dreaming and moving but now I suspect the magic of Nunoism is gently prodding it slowly awake and I await with a strong heart that one day it will poke it’s nostrils above the beautiful pitch and it’s nostrils will quiver. It wants to see what Nuno is cooking.

Mad Men-Why England are Shit


A few notes on the Southgate England Team

Well I had another conversation about the England football team. I hate getting into these conversations because I don’t know what to say about it. Or not that I don’t know, I just can’t be arsed to circle around the most popular England Moan Memes. Why are we so shit? Five little words that are whispered and rattled about in every Pub in the country, at home in front of the massive TV you’ve got and at home sitting there fondling your balls while you watch another insipid knock around at Wembley. The dog farts. The can of beer at your elbow is horrible. Your Missus is on Ebay looking at garden furniture again. The kids have their faces stuck in their phones and you have 42″ of massive telly to watch and there are coloured blobs running around on there because your eyes are half closed bored, insipid TV non entertaining football wankery. Southgate comes on and his head is massive and scary. It’s our national game apparently and we are supposed to be good at it. The European Championships in 2016 was a circle jerk of a campaign where we lost to a load of part time strippers from Iceland who’s national sport is lifting weights and drying fish. Iceland for fucks sake.

Fucking hell. On paper of course the team we have and the levels they play at are fabulous. It’s multicultural, athletic, beards, sleeve tattoos, great cars, great Insta accounts. Expensive haircuts. They hop off the coach like men on Death Row, faces hanging like drool off a crackheads lips, eyes averted in shame at their absolute fucking boredom at being there. The England team aren’t funny….

But hang on, they aren’t funny? Well they aren’t. Gascoigne was hilarious. He pulled the working class humour along with him into the hallowed halls of the FA, the gilded stadiums of Europe and the world. He had blokes, team mates that idolised him because his humour pulled along a team of what amounted to dysfunctional children for the most part. If we got to a major final we would always have a character in there who was a little off kilter, turned up in the papers a bit, usually naked in a ‘HOT TUB ENGLAND SHAME’ or some other bollocks.

But what now? Looking at the latest England team Gareth Southgate has picked I wonder to myself. OK Southgate isn’t the most charismatic of people, he’s like listening to your Mom talk about her day, or reading a magazine in the dentists waiting room about bread making. He’s fucking dull. The team reflect his personality and you look at their poor little faces and all you see is pretty haircuts, pretty clothes, big headphones, dour miserable faces. Teenagers basically. These doughnuts haven’t a fucking clue about life. You can see it in their eyes and I call it the ‘two foot stare’ it’s that vacant narcissistic gormless blank look people have while they look at their phones. Even when they try to make themselves look a bit dynamic it’s still the girls taking selfies in the mirror of the womens bogs. Pouting, slick as they can get it but ultimately generic and empty.

The only time Southgate will get a Hot tub shame headline is if someone finds an errant pubic hair in his filter system. I mean does he even have a Hot Tub? He’d look miserable like he was being boiled alive in it. See what I’m saying? We have a team of boring football players doing boring football, they’re bored, your’re bored, everybody is bored. It’s Aldi football, it’s not Cocaine football it’s Lemsip football. I mean you can’t blame them for being shit. All they’ve known is being dragged around various pitches and parks during childhood through the rain and the snow so they can maybe get somewhere in the game, get a contract and play. Now they find themselves at the top of the game, big contracts, all the perks, all the groovy photo shoots. But ultimately every single one of the England team picked by Daz Southgate are the dullest bunch of lollipops I’ve ever witnessed. Imagine going on a night out with them!

Now I would love to get my red flag out and start to rant about the mismanagement of the national game both at FA level and grass roots but that’s not going to cut the mustard is it? Directors, owners, globalism, finances all this shit I could trowel out for five thousand words but it still wouldn’t make any difference at all. TV money might have to be wheeled out as a culprit but then again it’s an argument that just goes on and on like a circle jerk at the impotent mens self help group. ‘Self help’ hahahahaaaha.

I’ll tell you what the problem is. We haven’t got any nutters any more. We lack ‘Mad Men’. People who have a screw loose like Gascoigne and Tony Adams, Pierce et al. This nutter dynamic is lacking at international levels. The best Players were always lunatics, always on the edge. They had normal day to day jobs in the past most the time. Plumbers, working on building sites, factories. Then given a free reign to unleash their madness on a football field they excelled. They were dynamic and fresh, novel maybe, igniting the field of play with madness and tricks, taking the piss. The same goes on in International teams from around the world. There are always a few nutters dotted around the squad. You know they will have a six foot tall model on their arm at some point but there will also be a cocaine story, a crashed car or two. A few dodgy gangster friends in photos. The occasional fire, the random shooting incident or accusations of cannibalism. Of course you will have the Steve Armpitts and Deloney Sharelles in the team who can manage a pass or two and chip in with a goal or three until they catch themselves on the big tellys in the corners of the ground. But to ignite a game you need a lunatic, you need an artist who has looked at the abyss of a muddy building site at 6am slipping in the ice filled ruts with an armful of breeze blocks. We need Maradona, Cruyff, Buffon, Balotelli type lunatics whose insanity is reflected in their football. Out of the chaos of their minds comes a football that is a beautiful as a still mountain pool. Ignore the occasional hotel fire and bloody street brawls these are sportsmen and women. Gladiators of our time and they need space to breathe.

The England team lacks these dynamic characters. So you can keep the excuses that are always trotted out and you need to change the narrative at the national level. You need to mute the importance of the printed press too. How many England careers have been destroyed by a dodgy backhander story or topless hot tub fun? So a player likes to get arseholed occasionally with his mates, it’s great fun being drunk or stoned, it filters out the bullshit that these players operate under. The poor bastards look like kids at a Borstal, scared to step out of line in case a Screw gives them a whack. They are probably suffering some sort of post traumatic stress from being picked from obscurity to play for England. Wondering when some woman will sell her story to the Sun about how he likes to sniff amyl nitrate as she beats him with a riding crop.

England I suspect will never be successful at International level unless the FA pull their fingers out and stop treating sportsmen like children. We don’t need saints like that goal hanging git Lineker, we don’t need miserable gits like Shearer either, we need blokes that have looked into the abyss and seen the glaring lights of the International game as an opportunity to take the piss out of the opposition on the pitch. To breathe deep the infected wastes of political football and decided ‘fuck it’ lets go mental. We need to be entertained by these people but looking at that team I’m feeling a distinct lack of excitement, it’s a workmate barbecue, it’s flicking through Netflix football, it’s fresh fades, and exotic Nikes, Beats headphones when it should be about bollocks, and laughs, and madness.

So ultimately it’s all our faults. The FA, the players, TV money, Global business and us. We have to turn a blind eye to the errant and the weird, the crazy and the destructive and just love the madness of football again, bring those lunatics closer to us by supporting them through their madness and not getting involved in their lives. Let them do their art on the pitch and let them lead their lives off it. Embrace the mad and we will start to win games and trophies.

Ten Men Went To War


Here we are again then, sat down, roll of choccy biccies, cup of strong tea. Phone to hand for Twitter updates and lap top warmed up ready for the nights madness. A little bit of blog as you go really. No way I’m going to get disturbed by canal side characters unless Gaz Mastic knocks the door. I’m not going to answer it. Dogs barking, I have to untangle myself from wires, get up to listen to him moan. But while I’m waiting let’s have a natter.

Last match was crazy wasn’t it? Douglas is a thing and Vinagre too. Much chat about who’s on the bench and who will be sitting with a big glum miserable face behind them as they aren’t playing. I suspect a few things about tonight and I have had a few chats with folk about it. Douglas looked OK last match, now I know I said he looked like a lost sock for some of the game. I think I was a bit harsh and wasn’t paying attention, I was probably looking at the mould on the Southbank roof again. Sorry about that. The zeitgeist says he did alright, offered some solidity. He certainly tracked back fast enough and was very hand signally but not vocal. But what I want to talk about is not who is on the bench but what time in the match they come on. Now I don’t want to get all back in the day but Kenny Charisma did my head in with subs. The game would be crying out for something and he would be standing there, arms crossed, chewing the inside of his mouth not giving a shit. I’m not a coach, I don’t know the variables but I felt like having him arrested for his crap street theater statue act. The only coins I wanted to give him were a few I chucked. These biscuits are stale. Fucking Poundland again.

More goals are scored in the second half than the first. The first half is pure foreplay most the time. A touch here and there of the hand or leg. Getting to know each other. Buy her a drink. The half a lager with an umbrella in it. The crunching tackle. She laughs at your crap jokes, you listen to her story about how her Rabbits escaped once and hahahaha her Dad had to chase…..and you laugh of course. That’s the first half. Tentative often weird too. The second half of course is the coffee at her place, now you know somebody is going to score (hopefully) unless it’s a nil-nil thing. That’s the equivalent of being thrown out of the house with your gimp suit and holding a a three foot long sparkly dildo, she’s screaming, the neighbours are all coming out, the Police are on the way and you don’t know where you are. You just stand on the lawn and go ‘What?’ Does anybody else feel that embarrassment or just me? We know we are going to score in the second half and that’s where the fun happens.

The longer the second half goes on the more we expect a goal. I call this ‘The Barry White Period’ it’s when the lights go down and the CD player gets booted up with Barrys 24 great hits of Luuurve. Brilliant, we get excited. Move the coffee cups, have a quick squint at your phone see if there’s any Wolves news. She’s gone for a whazz, you check for bogies or cheese cob in your teeth. The second half. The longer it goes on the more mad it gets. Here’s where the substitution makes a difference. This is where Nuno becomes Artist.

Now our Sub, be it Cavaleiro or Bright or whoever has a task straight away. The player he replaces has played maybe 60-70 minutes of high tempo bongoball. It’s bongoball because nobody wants to go a goal down and it’s still that ‘getting to know you period’ and it means you have to work hard. You see you don’t score in the pub or the restaurant, you score later on when the lights are getting dim and Barrys warbles are subsonically loosening blouses and buttons. But our substituted player is knackered by now, He knows her fucking family history back to front and her pets names. He’s shagged and not in a good way. He’s in fact mentally deranged by this point. Frothing at the neck so to speak.

Our sub on the other hand is like a dog with three dicks. Most of the digging  and sniffing has been done. Now is the point where you want a forward on. The replacement of a midfielder or a wing back will be greeted with boos and groans. You see we know that the player that is going to splurge the money shot by sticking the ball in the net is going (more often than not) to be a forward.

Now you can see why Kenny Charisma and Lamberto the Clown got lambasted by the crowd when we saw Saville or Wallace trot onto the pitch. It was a great WTF moment. Fatigue is a keyword here. The legs of the opposition defense have tired by now, midfield too. Saw that with Barnsley last week. Their number 4 and 11 were shagged by the second half. They had left the target of their possible shag by herself at the table and they were thinking about squeezing through the bog windows to escape. Both of our goals had targeted and were made through the lethargy of the 11 and 4 at that point in the game. The drop off of performance was glaring and of course Nuno made full use of it by pressing the play around both players. Douglas on, and their 4 had a mare of a second half and their 11 ineffective due to Jota and Neves twisting him up like a bad pill.

What are the stats for a fresh player scoring in the second half or the dying minutes? Probably significant to be honest. Nuno isn’t a slouch when it comes to subs. He knows the effectiveness of a player will degrade as the minutes tick. Wise man that he is I suspect he watches the opposition very closely during the latter part of the second half and utilises his subs with ruthless effect as seen with N’Diaye at the Barnsley match.

But back to the main menu. Sheffield United. What a godforsaken place Yorkshire is. I know that some folks will be irked by this but I’m past caring, I’ve had horrible times up there to be honest. The Police are like putting your fingers in electrical sockets or banging your head on a low ceiling. It’s a shock. People are generally friendly but the rain I suspect makes them dull and angry, prone to outbreaks of melancholy or directionless windmilling punches. I remember playing them many times in the Stevie Bull days when they had Tony Agana or something. The Play off final in 2003. But I woke from my afternoon nap earlier and had a dream I was fishing with Nuno and he was charming the fish by singing to them. All this Nunoism is starting to freak me out. I love him already. My dreams about Lambert were dotted with beheading scenes, nightmares, George Savillisms. No team news yet but i’m flicking my thumb across my phone screen like crazy getting past the porn accounts that dot my feed for some reason (cough).

OK the match has started and I’ve missed the team news and have to go to Tim Spiers account to see if he has posted anything. I don’t mind Tim, he puts up with some horrendous cack and he’s still young really and his forehead is growing exponentially with Wolves success. By May he will have a big shiny dome filled with knowledge I daresay.

So Conor Coady has gone home early already. Is Sheffield that bad mate? But it was a Heartbreak Ridge sacrifice. 0-0 Helda gets a few minutes flying around the pitch at least while old Leon has his bristles up. It had to be though didn’t it? It always does. Instead of doing the business for us, getting sold. They always come back to haunt us but it says less about the ability of the Clarkes et al than justifies the absolute disgusting people they are when they do score. Because they never did for us. What revenge have they on their minds when they do it? Do they get some sort of hard on? Fuck Leon Clarke.

But then again, it’s easy to fall into that trap of being a bastard to ex players and I shouldn’t get aggravated by it. Trust in Nuno I suppose. I read back what I wrote about putting subs on. Trust in Nuno to get something out of it. Anything. We are still young, fresh. I feel like I’ve been dragged out of the house by the cops in my gimp suit waving my dildo but instead of fun and jollity they gassed me and tasered me and are beating me in the balls with my dildo. Fucking Sheffield, a darkness there but what light? Half time now they have to find the elusive Kwan, time for Nuno to grab it by the balls and I think he will, trust, that keyword again. I suspect he will have been through similar moments. We know that Yorkshire darkness, that itching behind the eyes as we enter a ground. This time we have to grasp the game, demolish have heart and fortitude. I’m eating biscuits and there through the sounds of my angst I can hear Barry White and it doesn’t feel like he’s sitting on my chest any more.

Is any of this making sense? Penalty, oh Jesus Christ. What do you do to me Wolves. What heights what crazy fucking lows. I’m being pulled from pillar to post. I’ve eaten too many biscuits I feel sick. Neves to take. Hit’s the post. The darkness falls over the pitch right now. But the light for fucks sake, the light! Where is it Nuno. Bright is on for Bonatini. My Nubian Prince what will thou doest for us tonight. Do not fall over, channel your goal firework please. This is a night of work and of graft, it is a night that defines Championship football. What character will you show against these morose and violent people of Yorkshire?

I wonder in my madness if these words can reprogramme the result. I wonder if this little blog can swing the decisions of the Gods in our favour. I’m being overly dramatic aren’t I? I’m chewing my own angst in big bites but it’s still just a game, still just a football match and we have loads to play…..but the character, the Kwan has to show through, it has to spark and ignite our madness tonight. We have the character…

Tim Spiers hasn’t tweeted for a few minutes and I’m getting that feeling again. Fucking hell. Sweating like last week when I wore my big snow coat and nearly died in the heat of the Barnsley game. Sweating, I can feel it even though the room is cold. Leon fucking Clarke. Another set piece goal. Leon Clarke you thing, may fleas infest your hair, may the demon of wanting a piss visit you in the night.

Is it too much to think of a draw? Is it too much to hope? It’s a toughie but I’m thinking of all our supporters who have travelled and trudged through the rain half pissed to that wasteland of a Yorkshire stadium. Sheffield is full of hills, it’s as if the land is trying to shake off the City above. Our fans will be walking those very streets later. They are warriors. But it sounds like we are unraveling a little. What witchcraft is this? After that superb display last Saturday? Cavaleiro for Neves, the Terminator returns, this is the tactical masterstroke surely? A forward and we are down a man, this is a brave moment where Nuno surely stakes out his territory and his philosophy, beautiful substitution but to what end?

Spiers says it’s a 4-2-3 system. I don’t even know how that would work, I’m such a tactical imbecile. I want a cup of tea but I have a dog by me now and he’s on my left arm. I feel trapped by the football, by the dogs, by the rain. Free me Nuno please. I can visualise Cav running into the box, connecting, ball smashes the back of the net, he grabs the ball and runs back to the center circle. Somebody tell me this is happening please. If we build it they will come, random thought….but I’m thinking of all these great speeches by men of old who rallied their troops to a flag and victory over insurmountable odds, I’m being emotional again. It’s still an early game. the season has only just started and I’m over emotional.

Well fuck that game, fuck it right up it’s arse. Often these games pop up during the season. We should of course have put them to bed. Leon fucking Clarke, typical again. Can’t be arsed to score here but love scoring against us. What have we done to you Leon? How did you coax that performance out? With hate? Dislike? Did we treat you so bad?

Nuno will know what to do, he will have all the facts in front of him within hours. The backroom team will be analysing and forming some sort of hypothesis as to how it all went wrong. You don’t get to coach at these levels without a steely determination to get things right. By tomorrow morning Nuno will be sitting down relaxed but angry. He will have the culprits names in front of him with figures, quantitative analysis of the whole dog shit of a match. Conor Coady must not be blamed, I would have done the same thing. He will of course be concentrating not on the foul and the sending off, he will be analysing how the dude nearly got past in the first place. He will learn from it. It’s endemic in this squad that we learn and we develop and along that learning curve will be a dip here and there, an errant game where it all goes to shit. Trust in Nuno and trust in the team and we can look to the North tonight and curse the sky over it, shout out insults and abuse but more importantly plot revenge.





The Ballad of Steve Plant


Steve Plant with two other blokes

It was funny at the Barnsley game talking to a few really horrible people, listening to their tales of what they had been up to over the past few months. I say horrible because they are nice enough to chat to but you wouldn’t want to go out on a date with them. I get a bit emotional sometimes and my hands start to twitch over that strange dichotomy of the most evil of people you know and the most good.

Steve Plant is like that. The ‘good un’s’ so to speak. At Wolves over the past few years we have all waxed lyrical over the beauty of those people we have lost, with prepare simple eulogies for them on Social Media and print but we never seem to give those who are alive our love….not in the amounts our Steve should have.

As soon as the Carl Ikeme news was announced I like many other people fell into a kind of stand by mode. We expressed our horror and our pain at the news because we loved Carl. He was our bloke, our number 1. To get that news was a low blow especially since the season was about to start and we had all these new people rushing into the club. We needed some sort of familiar face in the side to feel ‘comfortable’ I suppose. At least from my perspective. As brave as I was, I kind of fell into a powerless kind of funk where I didn’t quite know what to do. I wrote a blog post to Carl but I was still lacking any kind of creative force to make the news digestible if you like. With the positivity that was swirling around the club it was a difficult dichotomy to try and get your head around.

But look! On the horizon! There’s a bald yedded bloke on Twitter sorting shit out. There he is again on Facebook, step forward Mr Steve Plant. There are dudes in our lives that sometimes clarify and focus the pain you feel and channel it into all sorts of weird and wonderful but positive ways. Steve grabbed the bull by the horns and instantly started to get the mass of often highly dysfunctional Wolverhampton Wanderers fan base into some sort of cohesive dynamic narrative. In other words yeah you feel the Ikeme pain, right there in your gut. The fear of illness, the illness of somebody you have the utmost respect for, somebody who always knew the Southbank had his back when he trotted up to goal. And there we all were sitting moping around changing our profile photos to one of Carl. But it was all shadows and emotion, dark clouds. Steve has gathered the fortitude and intent to change all that. He has given us a focus. That pain we feel was taken away by watching people get ‘waxed’ on ten second Twitter videos. It was taken away by watching big fat bastards taking penalties. It was done by Steve and he did it for us as well as raising money for Leukemia charities.

This shit takes hard work, phone calls, chats at the match when you should be enjoying yourself and there was Steve running around, making sure everything is in place, everybody is singing off the same hymn sheet. Working out the details of a head shave, sussing out who needs a chest wax. Haranguing people, getting in their faces to give money not because the money was important (which it is) but knowing full well we needed a positive focus, fulfilling a need for us to give something, to be seen as ‘doing’ rather than being a passive spectator. As well as that he interacted with the club too, pulling that great corporate monstrosity of a global concern into the daily lives of a supporter or a fan. Vitally important at this juncture, in fact massively important.

I love people who do stuff. There’s a meme flying around that when you watch the scenes of a great tragedy instead of focusing on the horror and  grief look for the helpers and the people working hard to alleviate suffering. Steve is that kind of bloke. The one in the background running around making sure the subs are collected. Collecting the balls that have been booted around the pitch side, folding the nets up and trudging back through the mud holding two bags of balls and a couple of nets while everybody else is sitting in their cars moaning or having a hot shower. I wish I had his energy but all I do is type away my thoughts about how I get to the match and what coat to wear. It’s easy for me but a lot harder for him.

I was thinking how funny it would be to have a kind of Southbank Resistance awards post where I make fun of what happened during the season but I think now it might make more sense to have one now seeing as I have a very clear result right now. So I would like to announce that Steve Plant is the Southbank Resistance Wolves supporter of the Year 2017-2018. Well done Steve, and no you don’t get a prize, not even a beer, but you can buy me one. But Steve from all of us thank you, you are doing us proud and even though I’m broke I’m sure I will find a crinkly well worn last five quid to bung in the pot.


Alan Araldite and the Shit Shoe Shuffle


Have I said enough about Conor Coady yet? I was into ten thousand words about his playing and all of a sudden I’m in love with the player I described as ‘he runs like he’s afraid of the grass’ and now I’m castigating myself for my lack of understanding. I save the 10k words into a document. It will do for another time.

Jota I don’t have to hunt around for words for, I don’t have to sit and fiddle with the thesaurus to gleam some veins of Gold in this lad. Tenacious maybe? Watching him get gnarly tackles that would stack a Sunday football meathead, watching him slide his steez all over the place. Steeze? Style with ease. Us extreme sportsmen have a word for it and it describes him perfectly. ‘GnarBar’ and to find out what it means watch any doughnut smash his face into the concrete on a skateboard and get up to do it again. Jota is totally GnarBar. Forget about his football for a minute and look into his eyes, there is a thousand yards of stare there, he’s on the edge of the abyss and he knows it. Staring down at the limitless depths. He knows he has the skills and the silky moves and he backs up those moves with words, the words are the crunch and the smash of the errant opposition leg. And statistics are a thing.

You see I’ve just been talking to Alan Araldite. Now Alan is not somebody I know very well. He used to glue windows together in a dark factory in Willenhall and he was part of a group I used to go to away matches with. I avoided him pretty much, he was a fan of listening to the match commentary on the radio at matches with one single earphone stuck into his grisly hairy ear, and now you can see him in the Southbank concourse watching the match on the TVs drinking a fucking Bovril which he holds close to his face blowing it even though it has the fucking lid on it.. He takes slurping sips while he’s talking to you, but he’s not looking at you, he’s watching the fucking telly on the wall. I feel aggravated and it annoys the shit out of me. His Missus spends most of her day buying stuff on ebay. But Alan is  a footballing expert. He stores away that much crap about football it’s mental. There he is on the towpath by himself or he’s haunting the concourse at halftime stopping people going for a roll up. He looks like a rapist or a dog botherer. His Anorak is his second skin, the zip is broke and he’s repaired it with a massive safety pin. Two stripe dude, Puma for posh events, trainer shoes for weddings and funerals which he goes to a lot of as his job kills men off eventually, stonewashed boot cut jeans, funny Tshirt from Primark. Argos clipper haircut. He fidgits as he talks, and I watch his shit shoes as he moves, I don’t like looking at his face. I nod to him every match and avoid him but he thinks I’m his friend.

Barnsley I don’t like. This has to do with me confusing where my Dad was from. Bolton/Barnsley, all begin with B and they are all North. Today is the Barnsley match and I’m aggravated by it all. My Kwan isn’t flowing yet. Alan is talking about Coady and I’m listening but not. I’m a polite bloke, I should have kicked him in the canal for ‘Coadys pass ratio has a lot to be desired and…’ while I’m looking at fish in the cut. A big Pike sunning itself in the margins. I remember Blackpool, I remember a Barnsley fan going through a window of a pub and landing on the pavement in front of me while I was having an overpriced Ice cream. I don’t know whether I laughed at the time and I remember my mate chatting up a couple of girls from a blind school on a jolly.

‘Your blogs OK but you swear too much, I don’t like swearing, there’s no need’

My football knowledge isn’t brilliant. I understand tactics etc but seasons that have passed I only remember the stories. The time me and Fish jumped on the bus to Blackpool after the Burnley game. The Wolves fan getting carried out of a pub with just his pants and a big foam cowboy hat. So I don’t see a point to Barnsley at all, in a footballing sense, but Alan is going through their squad like Columbo on a murder case. I’ve seen his Missus at ‘The Range’ buying eight multipacks of cheap pop, loading it into their Renault ‘Horrible’ people carrier like a survivalist after an earthquake or a riot. The sugar is affecting him badly obviously, I feel protective of Coady now. Especially after sitting in the Northbank in the week. I could watch him from there, loved it. So quiet as well, I could hear everything Coady said, which was a lot. It was so quiet his voice echoed around the silence of the stand. ‘Its like the Walking Dead in here’ nah it’s ‘The Sitting Dead’. This is where I spent writing ten thousand words about him, that’s for another day.

Alan Araldite whispers things. His voice is quiet and I’m a bit deaf so I’m hoping I’m nodding and smiling at the right parts. I listen to the cadence and pitch of his voice and mimicking his facial features which is hard, as his head reminds me of a football with a face drawn on it. It’s expressionless and flat, looks like the kids over the park have been booting it around. This is the rub with running a football blog, how often can you say so and so passed to so and so but whatshisface looked jaded and his pass…..fucking hell.

But Alan has a bogie in his nostril and as he talks it’s blowing in and out like a rat in a pipe. In and out, Enkobahare this, in and out, well Nuno of course, in and out, then for a minute it doesn’t come out and i’m shocked for a minute. He continues about FFP and fuck, emotion, an intake of air then that fucker comes out again and it’s attached to a hair!!! It’s like Bungy jumping for snot and I want to laugh but I don’t want to upset him! Jesus Fucking Christ. Why can’t one of these fit women joggers stop to talk in their tight sporty legs? They just run a bit faster when they see me, I don’t blame them. But I’m wondering what Alan is doing down here by himself…I wonder what Jota is doing now. Right now as I stare at Alans shit shoes.

Kwan is flowing and that’s the truth, you could see it in the attendance today. People were busy bees. there were people there that had unfamiliar faces full of expectation and joy. Usually its faces like a Captain of a ship looking at the horizon to see if those dark clouds are coming this way, wondering whether to splice the main brace or some other sailing shit. They are expectant and that’s scary as I don’t personally expect anything at all except madness. Whether thats the madness of a win or some scruffy git on ‘their’ team grabbing a last minute winner from a (whisper it) opposition set piece. Then they will run up to the Southbank gurning. Somebody will throw a bottle at them or a coin and I’ll look at the mould and algae on the roof of the stand taking a deep breath. I know my mate Stefan will look after me, stop it all becoming too much, too emotional although he’s as passionate as me he has a hard nosed outlook. He is the most normal person I know. In an abnormal sense.

Are we at some sort of critical mass with our side now? There are moments for sure that we have a tendency to lose grip, especially when under attack. Opposition teams tend to inflate their chests and get an extra 10% out of their facile sickly play to cause upset, we’ve seen it before how they do it too. Their Manager is Paul Heckingbottom who I have never heard of in my life but Alan tells me his fucking career and how he’s doing at Barnsley. In the canal there are a shoal of Roach that glide past like a bunch of Japanese school kids all behaved and the Pike is watching from the reeds. When I get home I google Heckingbottom out of boredom and there he is, he doesn’t look very happy. He has that Warnock vibe. Darkness, and hairless, angry mole man, obvious he would be a self employed Electrician oiling the wood on his £1000 hardwood patio set in Spring and Autumn. He is a man who religiously deletes his browser history and rarely gives out his email address because he takes Spam mail as a personal insult.

We know what our side were like today. Beautiful like a supermodel or a gorgeous pop singer, hair in the right place, bits sticking out here and there but not averse to picking their arse or dropping the odd room clearer. I thought Bright played well again, his goal against Rovers must have been a nut splosher in a metaphysical sense. Offloading some pent up rage. Yes, that’s a goal Brighty, that posty thingy with the net at the back. I’m surprised he didn’t dribble the ball around a bit against Rovers for that goal, then fall over. Has he lit the touch paper to his goal firework? Who knows? But maybe after that effort his goal firework has been lit.

Jota again doing ‘the Jota’ which is a dance only he knows and involves making the opposition behave like nippy dogs. Which is strange as Barnsley are called the Tykes for some reason. But we all know it’s an old persons dog that probably shivers when it shits. As did the Barnsley team when Jota did ‘The Jota’ again and again. Their number 11 and 4 looked fucking knackered 20 minutes into the game, he ran them ragged, they looked like Sheep with their heads stuck in a fence. Forlorn, a bit sad.

Coady and Batth I can’t fault, I see a team here and those variables interlock like parts of a complicated clock Nuno has made. But one errant movement, one slip of a foot and those variables amplify as Barnsley get closer to our goal, and everything is springs, cogs, screws everywhere and Coady is the one that has to make sense of it all again until the clock maker demands from the sidelines, demands and orders everything back into position. It’s the typical ‘Well who was the last one to use it?’ and it’s always Danny Batth or Coady or Miranda.

I enjoyed the Doherty too and Alan in his infinite wisdom calls him ‘Docherty’ which annoys me, and I’m just being bothered by this dude in his forensic stat laden madness he can’t even call him by his proper name. But that Pike in the margins is as still as fuck, watching the little fishes. He’ll make a darting run into that shoal of Roach, scattering them like Doherty does, route one machinations, the unstoppable force of the intent and passion this man has for getting shit done. The back three thing suits him, he’s a bit late getting back sometimes but that’s a thing he will work on through the season. Nuno will whisper magic words to him about that. Set out the groundwork for the days and matches to come. Today again he was resolute and proud. Those runs splitting apart the Barnsley midfield like shit through a Goose. Douglas had a few moments where he forgot who he was and decided to wander the field a little, but early days for him, he’ll get better with age, er time playing. But saying that he did a better job than Neves who decided that he was having a day off.

So 2-1 to us, it seems like a bit of an uninspiring scoreline which absolutely belies it’s madness really. How mad? I was cooking in a Parka made for Arctic exploration. Bad coat choice Mikey. The last seconds were a mix of elation and dehydration, I was sweating as much as the team. My mate went to grab me to celebrate N’Diaye’s goal and I slipped out of his arms like an errant trout I was that sweaty. The mad thing here? We won with passion and that last few seconds effort that plucked the game from the armpit of a Turkish bouncer to the cleavage of Kelly Brook. The difference? Last season that would have been a draw, now we have people who pull themselves from the clutches of the depraved draw to the madness of the walk back into town. Watching the Northbank empty itself with ten minutes to go was both sad and hilarious in many ways. The walk back out of the still full Southbank was a joy. We really are the fucking heart and soul of the Molineux.

I left Alan ruminating on something in the concourse during half time. He wasn’t happy but I think he lacks understanding. The result and game will always be one to maybe forget in terms of football and desire but these are the gritty pants up your arse crack games. You can either grin and bear it while they chafe your ringhole or you can throw caution and civility to the wind and get your hand in there to dig them out. Alan Araldite will never understand the result only the quantitative aspects of it. It was definitely a ‘dug out’ result or a last dance with Melissa Multipack and I daresay we will see a few more, but crikey, how would that have ended up with Lamberto there? Onwards!

The Woo Kwan Clan


Wolves V Bristol Rovers 19-9-2017

The week previous. Where do I begin? Walking past the Grand Theater I fancy going in the Moon Under the Water but I stop for a moment to gather my post bus trip thoughts and roll a cigarette. Inside the theater people are waiting to watch whatever delights the world of thespianism has to give them. Me I’m ready to watch what the world of Nunoism has to give us. Delights? Drama? Madness. What am I even doing walking through town when I should be sitting at home talking to the dogs and staring at my reflection in the kitchen window? Nunoism. I’m going to watch the Woo Kwan Clan, Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Wolves. I’m going up the Mol’ to watch them play in the Carabi…Caraboon…Crababoo…..League cup. Bristol Rovers the opponents. They have brought many bodies with them tonight and that West Country accent thing is a thing.

Last year you couldn’t have dragged me to the Molineux to watch a cup match this early on, especially against a team like Bristol Rovers. Last week we played the council haircut version of Bristolian football. This week it’s Rovers, Bristol is a polarised football town. This half is the real ale hipster version, beard oil, vinyl records, they have a BMX bike or a Fixie despite being 40 something, their wives or partners have good office jobs with the local council, thinning quiffs, jackets too tight….fucking hell. They walk past me quite fast chatting, laughing, they have spoiled little kids who’s names always end in ‘O’ and the familiar localism chunders away so I look in the foyer of the Grand to collect myself and watch the doughnuts in there wander around while I roll my fag. I look at a poster to see what’s on and it’s some gormless perma tanned dude with loads of bright white teeth then I see me in the glass and I smile but half my teeth are missing, my coat is from Primark and don’t get me started on the Gazelles again which are leaking slightly and my sock is damp. When I get home my big toe will look like a shrivelled dick. I think about a Just Giving page for new trainers and laugh. I’d rather walk barefoot. Three old women are staring back at me from the warmth of the carpeted loveliness of the theater. I must look like a crackhead. A smart one with a wet sock.

I had watched the Wolves video of Coady from the Gump game. I had watched it  few times as I do. Trying to work out the feelings. You can’t tell with Coady as he has his vocabulary clipped and ready. His frontal lobes buzz as he receives the question, processes the variables and boom! He’s off. None of it waffle. And as he talks he’s processing that information rapidly, changing and adjusting his answer mid speech. His facial movements are sincere, honest, self humorous, he’s always on the edge of laughing or taking the piss but when he has to be serious his jaw clenches and the muscles up the side of his head clamp that brain down tight. I don’t know why Coadys head is important enough to dedicate a few paragraphs to but it’s my blog and if I want to talk about his head I will. He probably wont even play tonight, but I hope he does because he epitomises the flow and the rhythm of the team. Cadence is so important in speech and the same applies to football. The cadence of our team can be relentless, a Buddy Rich percussive delight, a trill of a tight snare, pass, bang, pass, whack, pass, move, pass, subtle touch and boom. Diogo ‘Thats an ‘O’ not an ‘E” Jota. In the Coady interview he is asked about Jota in the Gump game. Coady nearly says Jota is privileged and excited to play for Wolves but then he says we are lucky to have a player like him. Yes, I suppose so, but he should be happy he’s here nonetheless.

This is the Woo Kwan Clan a machine at periods in the Forest game, at least in the second half. A supergroup of sorts, a group of talented artists learning to slip and slide their own particular skills, bars and beats into a whole creation, a team effort of curvaceous lovely tracks that wind their way in and out of the opposition. But Coady I think is the stand out player for me. Yes Jota and Neves have excelled themselves in their roles so far this season, but I suspect they would have excelled anywhere under a good coach. Coady has suffered the ignominy of Lambertball and the undynamic nit picking of Jackett. Coady has improved there’s no doubt about that. Being the forensic nork that I am, I hunted the YouTubez for Coady interviews. There he was reticent and quiet, maybe he was younger and more inclined to stay quiet and now his ability is shining. Maybe that Liverpool game last season gave him the belief he needed to act as anchor and foundation that he does (for me) now.

Dodging the Baghdad Taxi drivers walking across to the Royal London I let this Coady thing linger around my left side of the brain for a while as a Vauxhall Insignia nearly takes my leg off. I want to aggravate the driver but I’m chilled out, laid back. A Bristol fan laughs and says something I don’t catch.

‘Fogoff Grumbleweed’ It’s the first thing that comes to mind so don’t aggravate me. But he skitters off fast past the Hogs Head and down to the ground with his weird head mates. Night football. Why do I keep tripping up and nearly getting run over? Why are there so many of these Cider quiffs?

Tonight of course the ‘concert’ will be something different. I’m not expecting the front men, the new faces. Tonight will be about connecting with previous seasons. So I expect Jack Price maybe fresh from the Shropshire hedgerows. He’s doing something right our Jack. He’s made the bench, while others have been shipped out to other clubs, discordant noisy clubs with football that matches those players drunk Uncle moves at a family wedding disco with DJ Frankie Scabies from the Lunt (originally now Wombourne). I think about Lee Evans and I can’t even remember his face. But we are sat in the Northbank tonight and things are a little dead, a little grey, and strange. The view is excellent but the zeitgeist in here is reserved and critical. It’s a moaning thing, you can hear the murmurs of the Northbank crowd barely audible like a hive of moany bees. It’s five minutes in and I’ve shouted abuse at the Rovers the Ref and the Rovers crowd but I don’t think you do that in here and instead I punch myself in the balls every time I want to stand up and be emotional.

‘Radar Love’ football Bristol Rovers play. Great in short bursts but the whole song? 90 Minutes of it? I think Jack Price is absorbing the metaphysical current swirling around the club. He’s seen Batth, Coady, Enkobahare and Doherty developing and making dynamic moves into the new set up. Jack wants to move too and I bet he’s learning fast, waiting. Maybe tonight he can do his little cameo. But I’m walking behind a fella to the ground and for some reason he stops for no reason and I crash into the back of him. ‘Sorry ahk’ he says. ‘No, my fault ahk’ I reply, but it wasn’t, and we bumble down past the University Library. Jack Price eh? Lucky he wasn’t shunted off to Shrewsbury but I’m watching my feet now, shuffling, watching for traffic. We try to get in the Southbank but there’s a mix up, we’ve bought Northbank tickets instead so we rush around the ground to the barren emotional wastes of the ‘other’ stand

There are a few more here tonight, it’s a bit elbowy but the feelings and emotions are generally happy. Hi-Ho and off. Deslandes has started, that’s nice, he slices a ball early off his left foot and it’s a thing already and it’s cider press for five minutes as everybody tries to remember why they are there. Price harries things like a smackhead eating an apple pie. Bits falling off. Boom and again it’s a sliced ball and opposition pressure. I say pressure, it’s that bloke behind you at the bar who keeps gently pushing you in the back and you look at him in the bar mirror, he’s a bald evil looking little gimp. A bit like Rovers Number eight who reminds me of boiled Monkfish. The difference between our imported skill set and our partially skilled old schoolers is obvious. Price darts a ball between the cider monkeys and Bright isn’t there, he raises his hands to say ‘what the fuck’ but Zyro is off on another run, aggravating the Rovers midfield while N’Diaye strolls back to his zone. I’m not really happy with that. He’s let us down a bit. You know, us, up here watching.

My toes are cold and I want a piss again. It’s the cold you know, gets in your bladder but last week somebody pissed on my foot and I’m still a bit miffed by that 18 stone of monster being unable to control his dong. Yeah, that was ten minutes as the ball pinged around a little and I went on stand by. Shake head concentrate and narrow the eyes. How do we look? I’m not sure. There’s certainly a bit of effort but there’s a woman eating a burger four rows in front and I watch her demolish it in builders bites, three or four bites and it’s gone. How much is a burger now? Four quid? Jeff it’s too fucking expensive. Sort it out. I’d love a beer at half time if it was a couple of quid. The crowd goes ‘Oooooh’ and I do to but she’s fished another fucking burger from somewhere and she’s eating that too! Fucking hell, that’s eight quid of meat bab. I’m not sure what happened on the pitch sorry. I’ve got a thing for girls who like to eat. Yes, fantasising over burger noshing women instead of watching the game, which is still going on apparently.

At half time I go for my roll up and she pushes past me and smiles and she has burger in her teeth. You little minx. I chat with the usual suspects and a few others who want to talk blog. People generally like it and that’s good. I only write for us but i’m waiting for that big paying writing gig that never comes. I see a few faces from the past who say hello too. This game has brought out the faces for sure. Burger girl comes past and smiles again and the burger in her teeth is gone but I’m thinking of my wet sock.

Well there’s a few days talked about. Coady looked comfortable as did most of the team. But there were those ‘Mom catching you having a wank’ moments where you wanted to pull the duvet over your head. Young Oskar I’m looking at you. He must have had some highly infectious disease. Nobody wanted to pass to him. Off and upwards into the draw. The Bristolian hipsters didn’t look too happy and they are bouncing around outside being rowdy but it’s not about that tonight. Kwan is a delicious fresh burger and tonight the kwan although prevalent and raw was a Southbank concession burger. A bit dry, kind of chewy and flavourless but filling in some strange abdominal way, it might be a bit of wind. It might be stuck in our teeth a little as we probe a tongue into the gaps to get that bit of gristle out. Gristleball it was. Certain flavours shone through, Spicy Enkobahare flavours mostly. His goal a something of a thing, giving us something to cheer about.Like Thousand Island dressing in a team of grey gristle.

At times the ghosts of Lambert wafted across the pitch moaning and clanking their reserve team chains or trailing treatment room bandages like a mummy. Norris was an eye opener, how confident is he? I was quite content to see him in goal, he was vocal and not afraid to mix it up in the box. Changes a plenty really, were there eight changes in all? None of them made much of an effort apart from Norris, sandwich triangles going a bit curly at the edges. Half eaten burgers, plastic bottles underfoot.

Mid week cup games are strange affairs. They tend to be like wife swapping parties on a posh estate in Staffordshire. Nobody really knows each other and it’s a little fumbly and a little embarrassing sometimes as these strangers disrobe and do their thing while you’re thinking about football and why the fuck you are there in the first place. N’Diaye was certainly among those in the kitchen talking about cars and jobs with the early blowers. Zyro was interested in the buffet they had put on. Little sausage passes here and there. A few dips at goal. But I was happy to see him, bit of match time and he’ll be an addition to the squad. But it was all a little Cheese cube and pineapple on a cocktail stick football. Douglas had a woman sat on his face for most of the evening. The slinky Cavaleiro had most of the attention for sure and he battled through the stockings and suspenders that were a little bit too tight with aplomb. Busy and workmanlike but it wasn’t a night with the supermodels of Instagram. It was that kind of night.

I’m waiting for a lift and I’m thoughtful. Bus stop post match/mortems are a thing. I listen to the chat of the people waling past us and realise it’s still upbeat. still positive. But I’ve noticed too that the bus to Wednesfield is a lot more positive than the bus to Bushbury. The old farts were moaning a bit, the young lads nodding and looking at their bets on their phones, an African woman in a high Vis just staring into the road. Yes, midweek cup matches in the cold mists. Shuffling along wet pavements. Wrapping up against the damp, feeling your back ache with the damp. Clutching your bus fare and checking it every few minutes. Wiping the bus window to see where the fuck you are and not recognising any of it in the dim street lights. Getting home into the warm kicking your shoes off and fussing the dogs.

‘How was the match?’ they ask. ‘Orite’ you answer. Thinking about wife swapping parties and bits of burger stuck in a fat girls teeth. ‘Deslandes had a good game’ you say, but the TV burbles and nobody is listening. Fourth round tho’.


Lola Football and The Crucible Of Ideas


‘Make your ideas stronger than theirs’ Nuno on Wolves TV

I don’t know whether it’s time to have some sort of round up. Is it too early? Six or Seven games in. Are we doing ok? It’s promotion level point attainment so I’ve been told. But that’s empirical, I want to know how the Kwan is flowing in Camp Compton. Danny Batth was cracking the smiles and laughs in his chat with Mikey Burrows. Of course I had to rewind the fucking thing again and again trying to work out if he didn’t give a shit or he was that chilled out there everything was groovy man. He’s a Vegan apparently our Danny and I applaud that, and I tell Gary Mastic this morning as he walks past with his Staffie. ‘A Vegan? He’s an alien then?’ No Gary. But Nuno did an interview and I watched that too. Good God he’s one scary powerful dude. I think if he told me to jump off a cliff I’d be scared to ask for a small cliff with ledges and shrubs to catch. But we could lose the next ten games and I would still be standing with him. Sometimes ideas take a while to catch on.

I have to contrast the zen like Kwan of THE NUNO, with the infamous Temple Street mob member ‘Chelsea Tina’. I met Tina at the Rollerdrome in Temple Street. I say met, I watched her beat the shit out of two blokes at the bar. Every area of Wolverhampton had it’s mobs but nobody had somebody like Tina. She had big seventies platforms on and a little sheepskin jacket. Swinging these big punches and kicks at these dudes who were cowering while I stood balancing and watching on my skates. Juxtaposition again? Nuno sitting there explaining things to us very slowly, not I suspect because of his grasp of English, that is excellent. Explaining slowly because each word and sentence has weight and he wants those words and sentences to settle on our brains gently, without alarming us too much. Osmosis again, positive potential to negative potential through a semi permeable membrane, the media. Molecule by molecule he is changing the way we perceive his communications so that we too may share in his vision. I suspect his vision is loftier than we realise and Fosun in Nuno has found somebody with the same vision they have.

But it’s still early days isn’t it? We haven’t won a game for a while and things are itchy a little. A bit like that film with Keanu Reeves ‘The Matrix’ I feel plugged in like somebody is about to end this delicious fantasy with some home truths and the ‘home truths’ are the win ratio. The whispered conversations in the subway going back into town ‘We’re too fucking nice, too pretty, we have to get nasty’ and I don’t know. Do you stick to the path set out at game 1 or adjust your style and philosophy seven games in? It’s not panic of course it’s just Wolvo-genetic. It’s gone to pot so many times in the past we half expect it and dare I say we are prepared for it. When you look at the subs bench and think something should change, somebody has to come on and galvanise the whole groove. When your hands are starting to sweat. The slapping of trainers on the road behind you as people start to run…

Of course the Rollerdrome was always getting heated. Rasta men, skinheads, Teds always kicking off. But it was always kicking off somewhere in those days. I couldn’t walk to school without running the gauntlet of every other tit from another school chasing me down the road to give me a kicking. Or me give them one. Then at school you had the psychopathic Teacher who wasn’t averse to half knocking you out with a good punch. From the small scale battles on a personal level you had certain families too, schools, then streets, then areas, then towns. It seemed like everybody hated each other but it was also a dynamic time. A time when shit happened and it was interesting shit. And Tina finishing these two fellas off throws her head back and gets her hair out of her eyes and looks around see who else fancies it.

So in retrospect these times are also interesting but from a different viewpoint. Fair enough in 1976 we were treading water in a football sense. The whole game was on the cusp  of change. Socially we were starting to see factories and places of work close down. There was nothing to do. Seriously, nothing to do. Old orders were tumbling down. Youth movements polarising. Chelsea Tina had a pair of brown flares on and they flapped as I stood open mouthed, dumbstruck. And now I’m in the garden having a roll up thinking about Miranda and Batth. Wondering if I would put Saiss in there and the squad permutations are clicking away in a confused mess of faces and abilities. Competition for places. I’m wondering if the training they are doing is as hardcore as picking a team today?

Nottingham Forest eh? Tough away day traditionally. I tend to think of the Gumps as a thing. Warburton has a face like he’s trying to chew his way out of it. He’s a collapsed tent of a Manager. Like a day out in Borth. He has that passing game thing going on. Taking his kebab munching players to Nunos restaurant. Of course they will attempt to behave and eat like everybody else but I ‘m convinced that food will be chewed with mouths open and they wont know what to do against the delicious and provocative football Nuno wants to play. Will it be Cardiffian childishness again? Will it be Bristolian ciderball? Who knows. We do know they play out from the back, like us. Its pure Lolaball, hang on. Lola ball? You must have heard the old Kinks song ‘Lola’ same thing here. In principle of course she’s beautiful and standing at the bar all delicious and sexy, and you want to buy her a drink, chat some bars, wax lyrical. A few minutes in you have a weird feeling in your belly that something isn’t right. Her hands are rough and big. She has a deep voice. You gently kiss her neck right next to……hang on…..a ‘Nottingham Skins’ tattoo???? Lola Gump you cheeky sod. Standing there looking all pretty and sexy but really you are a mirage. A fake Gump. You hear The Who song ‘Won’t get fooled again’ and you wonder if you have been fooled by it all. But it’s all pregame nerves and you watch Nuno again. Thank fuck for Nuno. Better than watching Lamberto trying to pull his ear off again, Kenny Charisma mumbling to himself or Saunders wondering where he is and what his own name is.

I suspect that maybe 25 minutes into the game we will see that rough big hand tugging a few shirts and maybe tickling a few shins too. I don’t think (I’ve watched two Gump games) that they are (cough) very pretty at the back. The Gump defence can get a little confused and tangled especially put under pressure….but here we go again. Tina you sit there at the front of my memories and Lola you sit there at the back, let’s see what happens.

Post Match

Well there we have it. The ideas were there and placed upon the pitch at Nottingham with intent and passion. Are we not entertained? My word watching the highlights was an absolute joy. Can one single out a player that can be lauded and worshiped in the emotional minefield of a Sunday morning? I’m not sure I personally can. Watching the few segments of videos and reports I am dumbstruck by the quality and passion of our play but more importantly as I quoted Nuno at the top of the page, we made our ‘ideas’ stronger than theirs. We set our footballing ideas in the crucible of Nottingham Forest and the alchemy did fizz and operate, it did flourish in the fire and tears of Championship football. Am I not entertained? No it’s not entertainment. Watching Wolves is far more than that. It was always a metaphysical experience with the ground and the team so entwined and tangled within our own lives, work, relationships that nearly everything that happens within and without the club has some bearing on our own lives. The ideas have flourished in the rich soil Fosun has given us to replace the deadwood tactical mess we have dealt with in the past seasons and now under the patient hand of Nuno we see it flourish and grow.

Our support is endemic of Wolverhampton as a City. We are happy to welcome and appreciate anything that makes us proud but Fosun and Nuno have only felt a small part of that love for where we live and our team. We are reticent to trust, we have seen the same things before, we have been hurt many times in the past. What Fosun and Nuno will see in the coming months is a steady building up of support, it’s that time when we start to cast away that typical shroud of Wulfrunian mistrust and say yeah, maybe and yeah, ok. We can finally open our hearts fully to the work that Nuno, the team and Fosun are doing and that deluge once it is unleashed will drown the city in a hysteria the likes of which we have rarely seen in the past. All the financial figures and all the dullness of conversations about football in our city will be forgotten and maybe we will be following a bus through the City center waving flags and scarves come May, who knows. But the result today is a major one even if it is still early in the season. One may pick apart the tactical microcosm of the day all they wish, there is a place for that and a need. We may enjoy the madness of Jota, Neves, Vinagre etc but the most important part of yesterday was the ‘Idea’, the philosophy. You can’t take a body of men to war without an underpinning, an essential philosophy as to why they are entering battle. That’s why Redknapp has failed at Birmingham, that’s why you will see a steady outflux of managers from jobs this season. They lack the philosophy to extrapolate the ‘Idea’ into cohesive successful football and without the philosophy you merely have a body of men, a collection of attitudes and skills. The war itself will be a long one as we know but the Nuno idea will start a deluge of passion and heartfelt support that Nuno and Fosun will feel shaking the desks they sit at. Ideas man, it’s everything.

Shaky Jake and The Rainbow



All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.


Monday. I’m at the top of the Cannock Road, at the lights, Molineux in front of me, you can just see the arse end of the Northbank. It was very serene, little traffic, these big showers snake through the day, fine mists of it. Then the Sun would burst through the clouds like Doherty on a mission again. But Shaky Jake and Crackhead Dave are in the back of my van, we are going to a little job. We are the Joeys, the bodies that lift heavy things. £20 though. While I’m waiting, and they are hacking I notice a massive rainbow stretching from Saint Peters arching right smack bang in the middle of the Molineux. I’m stunned. For a moment I forget where I am and I’m a bit fucking emotional. Against a black cloudy backdrop this beautiful arch of vibrant colour. I couldn’t take it in. Shaky Jake needs his daily fix but he’s singing ‘Once upon a time there was a Tavern…’ in that sad addicted, shattered voice, and Crackhead Dave wants to talk about conspiracy theories…I’m thinking about the Jota strike against Millwall and my glasses tumbling over and over in the air…

We are starting, I think to slowly come to terms with the horrors of the past few years. It’s Post Traumatic Wolves Syndrome. Watching those stripey bastards up the road play their funeral march like football against cool top teams. Watching our fractured former squads grind out the endless litany of (often) cack football. Roger Johnson. O’Hara. Afobe gone. Sakho. How we fucking suffered. But now these horrors are starting to be discussed in constructive ways instead of anger, I think we are starting to come to terms with the ‘back in the day’ shit. Starting to realise that ‘hope’ is a tangible concept.

‘Hi my name is Mikey and I’ve been a Wolves fan for 45 years’ and everybody murmurs hello back as they twist their fingers unsure, staring at the church hall floor.

It’s the calm after the storm, the flirtations with relegation, the actual relegations and dare I say it some of us still haven’t got over the Bhattis yet alone even started to process the madness of the Morgan & Moxey years. I can’t sensibly compare it to the horror of trench warfare but once upon a time three of us were run ragged around Leeds town center eventually finding a quiet pub where we just looked at each other, exhausted. It’s like that. Relief. Maybe. Tired, angry, violent, scared, wanting to talk about it. But that sunlight through the clouds is bright and a little uncomfortable through the windscreen. And when the old stands were demolished we would stand there, me, a few others watching the diggers ply their trade ripping down the asbestos roof, the iron and steel, nobody saying anything but just wondering quietly to ourselves as the dark corners of Molineux were exposed to sunlight. Out of Darkness cometh light, but that light can be too bright after the darkness. I’m tapping the van steering wheel, the light is still red. I remember Robert Plant asking ‘Does anybody remember laughter?’ and I wished I had a stereo in the van.

Bristol City. A weird place. Quite liberal and chilled out on the one side and on the other the Dock workers, the dudes who built boats. Council haircuts. I don’t even know who plays for them or who manages them. I have to be honest, I don’t care. I’m watching Jota warm up. He’s not even looking at the ball as he effortlessly moves it around as he’s talking to Neves and Vinagre. Ruddy is catching balls, but not catching them, he’s grabbing the thing like he’s ripping somebodies head off, stalking up and down his line like an animal. I like Ruddy, I like the way he saved that late  Millwall shot. No way was he letting that fucker in. N’Diaye is a colossus, he’s standing with his legs spread shoulder width hands on hips and his chin is out. He looks like an old photo of Mussolini. The vibe is relaxed pre match then things are getting a bit noisy and the Motorhead Volume PA is blurting out loud shit about things that aren’t very interesting. Saiss is talking to Danny Batth. There are not many Bristolians made the trip here. This place scares them maybe. They haven’t won here in since Moses was crucified, or something. Their warming up looks structured and energetic but not dynamic, no not easy, not slick. I hate them already, they are typical and generic.

Kick off through the expectant haze of the evening. I shout out something, words of encouragement ‘fuck ’em off Wolves’ and shuffle my feet, I want a piss. N’Diaye Is ascendant in midfield, already harrowing the furrow of the pitch like a plough. Fighter jet football, twisting and turning. Dog fighting and here we are. The first errant tackle by Bristol. Again late. Thrown together Championship Mixed Football Arts. Although it’s not artistic there is grappling and chasing ghosts. Jota is nonplussed. The Bristol midfield might as well join their hands together and have a seance to find out what Neves and Cavaleiro are doing.

‘Neves? Are you there? Knock the table twice for yes and once for no’ they whisper to the vague forms of our players, here, there, every fucking where. Cavaleiro shifts his weight from foot to foot, twists and is gone, Jotas feet seem to glide across the pitch without touching it. N’Diaye is the Wolves paywall. You have to pay him to see what final third delights Wolves back three have to offer and Bristol although determined are dragging their feet holding tight to their wallets. Shakey Jake my friend. What horrors your addiction has given you. The endless phone calls to your dealers, the networking, the shivers, the cramps. Yet through all that as he shook in the back of the van, a few days before he was almost upbeat. His team were doing well, he wanted to talk about it, wanted to discuss things and in his madness of addiction his mood was positive and hopeful. I remembered Gary Mastic last week, sad, depressed, angry. But I had missed some play and a whistle was blown. But the juxtaposition of attitudes were glaring as the Ref pontificated about some order of rule and play while the players took a few seconds to regain composure and shape. Wolves animated and pointing out various parts of the pitch, Bristol content (for the most part) to look at the grass. The Southbank are angry at the incident I missed but I abuse the distant figure of the Ref just as much as them. Solidarity ay it.

But here we go again. Bristol City have a few digs, a few late tackles, some elbows, some moaning. It’s Championship football time again folks. The Referee is a slow and dull lad, he’s scared, you can see it. He can’t rapidly process the information that he’s seeing, the football we are trying to play. The result? Elbows on Wolves players get dismissed, tackles from behind waved on, Danny Batth taken out by a flying headbutt to the back of his neck, decisions start to pile up against us. I’ve seen this episode before. Cardiff. The Referee has bolstered the confidence of Bristol who see in ineffectiveness of the Ref a glimmer of light. I lose my voice 20 minutes in as my anger is directed at the Official. My language is foul and violent and I’m fucking twitching again

Neves and Cavaleiro are a marvel to me and their forensic passes of love and runs across the pitch are a joy, it’s like they are stroking my hair with every kick and I feel loved with each one. Proud also, and I want to be with the Bristol City fans pointing at my team saying ‘Look! This is it, look at us! Watch this beauty! This is my team!’ and I’m proud yes, a word I may ponder later. But I also want to say ‘Look at your team, look at the bastard in the black, he’ll be your key player tonight’. And that’s the reason I don’t get invited into the inner sanctum of the great and good. If I bumped into the Ref I would nut him, right on the bridge of his nose as he walked past me.

At half time I roll my cigarette and hasten off to the end of the stand to shuffle and discuss the passing and the movement with whoever is there, the ex Para, the psychopath, the mate from years back, the mate I just met, the mate with the £600 coat, the mate that hasn’t got a coat. Is the football pornographic? May we use abstract descriptions like ‘filthy’ and ‘filth’? I don’t think we can, the football here deserves far more respect I think. So lets try ‘Unappreciated by officials and opposition teams’. My mouth is dry now and tastes of roll ups and I watch the half time fag smoke billow into the rain under the glow of the security lights.

But the cats cradle of passing movement is a joy. Doherty shifts again, slices of movement that are incisive and splitting. The rain is making things glisten and slip, the ball skips over the grass and our team have a low center of gravity, there are corrections to the play now, and they have everything in hand. Jota  to Bonatini and back again, Bright with a subtle run into box. There are units ahead of him, keep an eye on the ball and a hairy eyeball on the 14 stone of occupied space bearing down, they grab and they grapple, twist and flap. Bright is gone and they grab empty Molineux air but don’t worry there’s a pull back and a stray late foot, Bright goes down, Ref waves play on.. It’s called traditionally the second half but really it’s a coda of sorts, a finale. Bristol had run out of ideas early and our positioning was unbudged, the tactical fluency of shape under Lambert replaced with the monad of rigidity of form and positions under Nuno. No matter how Bristol pried and tried to find purchase in the gaps between our players their fingers slipped and failed. The space allowed them was temporary and fleeting. The keyword was temporal. No time allowed to shake off the attentions of N’Diaye and Neves who arrived shortly after the ball was collected by a Bristol shirt. But and it’s a but I keep having to insert again and again. The late tackles, the shirt pulling, the grabbing, the pushing. We aren’t being allowed to play football. The difference between Bristol City and Wolves was glaring. We were beautiful again and they were ugly. We were the artists and Bristol the epitome of the English game. Snarky, pully, arsey all the negative adjectives I can think of. Was a draw a thing? We were robbed it’s simple and the result was unfair. One day we will get a Referee that understands football ‘in principle’ and can see the rules are there for a reason, and that reason is playing beautiful football not a Sunday Rugby match on a council pitch in Barry Island. Nuno gets spoken to by the Ref. Nuno is a Warrior artist not a ‘Coach’ and we are a few games into the season and he see’s his creations marred again and again by some cuckold dick brained fucking idiot of a Referee and his two fucking wine gum mates running the line.

It’s a harsh school Championship football, but one that this team are learning fast within. They are strangers to each other at the moment and yet the football we are playing is years ahead of last season and yet the team still galvanise, still execute and still make your stomach do a little flip. What’s going to happen as they coalesce as a real familiar unit? When we get a game where the Referee understands football?

At the traffic lights I’ve noticed they have turned green but there are no cars behind me so I just wait for a moment with my arms on the wheel. Supporting Wolves isn’t an addiction like Shaky Jakes and all the allegories and metaphors in the world wont make that so but we do share one thing and that’s the love of the thing we are addicted to. I asked him months ago why he continued to score and use and he said ‘because I love it, it’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing at night’ and I know his pain a little, a fraction. We love it because we fucking love it and we hate it because we love it. That’s why the small concrete area right by our seats is polished to a high sheen. We shake like Shaky Jake, shuffle and move, every kick of the ball marked by a twitch of the leg, a subtle jump to head a cleared ball, a corner marked by grabbing onto whoever is next to you. The great pantomime on the pitch is mirrored exactly by us, the audience. Sometimes it’s a shit ending, sometimes a cliffhanger, suspense and a twist of the storyline but always a story we are part of despite the glitzy screens and the overpriced beer. ‘All that is Gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost’ Tolkien said in Lord Of The Rings. Maybe in our stand there are those who don’t glitter, the ones with the crap shoes and the uncombed hair and missing teeth. But they aren’t lost, we aren’t lost, and we never have been. We carry our club like Shaky Jake carries the monkey on his back. Deep within us.

The lights have gone green again and my two muckers didn’t even notice I had sat through the green light lost in thought. As I pulled away the sun broke through again and illuminated the stands and they did shine like Gold and that rainbow did end right there on the pitch and maybe it’s only really full of Gold when we are inside and our songs are loud and our entertainment something else entirely and I’m laughing to myself. Why? Nobody would ever fucking believe in me staring at rainbows and golden stadiums but some would understand. Shaky Jake would and he would believe this too if he could read..

From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be the blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.


I Want To Be Portuguese Too


Millwall. Stuck in a pub surrounded by them. Millwall this and Millwall that. ‘They’ are Millwall, ‘This’ is Millwall. Soon enough you stop hearing the word itself and start hearing ‘Meewuh’ and everything is getting hazy and confused and you are stuck within that vortex of Londonish vowel stretching and confused random elbows as they like to dance as they talk. You wonder why you picked this pub and you remember it’s because you’re a lunatic, this is what you do. Know thine enemy, but you look around and they are dressed like you, same worries, hopes, dreams. It’s all very well but…nothing like Wolves social media over the last few weeks. Edgy and tense, friendships destroyed, families ripped apart over a striker, the lack of one, the wrong one, the lost one, the never had one in the first place. And the pub becomes a little distant and the noise dies down and I daydream about Steve Bull again. Even now I can’t help breaking into a sweat when I see him pressing the flesh out and about. Where is the footballer that can galvanise a game like he did? Where among the smooth faced academy strikers is a diamond in the rough like Bully? But’s September 2017 not 1988 and I think people don’t want to be heroes any more. Am I talking about the Striker situation too much? I don’t know. Probably.

They say ‘I’m trying to be cool’ but I’m not. I’m a number that’s all, a supporter number with access to the internet. My hands shake as I walk down the subway most matches. I need those two pints to make some sense of it all, to dull the aches and the worries. All I’m doing is talking about it. Sharing the groove. Cool? The sweat is trickling down my back. Simon says ‘YamYamism’ and he’s right and that statement bleeds the moisture out of the subway walls. Distilled hope. Holy water in fact, but it’s slippy again. Fuck Adidas Gazelles.

I remember September. It’s that time you spend looking out of the window on a Saturday morning looking at the weather. It’s a bit dull in the sky and we expect Winter right now and we have the quasi Winter jacket out. The Autumnal jacket too thin for Winter but is it too much? Are we going to sweat in the pub? We don’t want to be cold, we don’t want to be hot. So we put the jacket on and stand in the garden for twenty minutes to see what it feels like. The Pigeon on the shed roof is looking at you funny and you say ‘You What Mate?!’ and he thinks ‘you’re gonna be too hot in that mate’.

Millwall. But Nuno has never played a back three before but again, attack is the best form of defense and I’m thinking of those team graphic tactical apps I keep seeing. Little shirts dotted here and there on your phone screen. Wingbacks, high pressing, false 9’s the Chellini gap. But the variables? Neves woke up in the night, Jota feels his calf a little tight, Bonatini wired up, stoked, feeling the gnarly need to score, Marshall wanting to get forward but told to hang back for twenty minutes. Insane variables which interlock together at 3 pm and mesh with the whiteboard madness of the Millwall team talk. More variables, more tactics and it’s a Mandlebrot set of chaos with the mathematical foundation of pure sweat. Boly is out that means Bennett? Batth? I can see Danny doing something good. ‘Hilda’ trained too, I can see him coming on but alas no.

Saville and Jed Wallace. Saville still runs like he’s treading on puppies. Wallace, well what can I say about him? Coming to Wolves he had a resume like his Mom wrote it. He came without colour, without the jazz. Another stoic footballer from last season when you would read his match rating in the Express and Star and you didn’t realise he had played.  Nearly men. Of course they will be burned by their moves to wherever Millwall is in London. Thus they will probably score one each. This is as predictable as the fat away supporter in the Steve Bull flashing his disgusting gut or the 15 year old lad in the expensive clothes miming beating somebody in the Southbank up. Get your tits out for the lads? Please don’t.

The weeks previous were punctuated by the loss of Nouha and Dave to rivals too. Dave I wasn’t that fussed about. Rubik Cube type player. Twisting, turning constantly trying to get the combo right and more often than not chucking it at the wall or putting it away in a drawer. Sometimes you’d get one side right and then it would all go to shit again. I often think what would a footballer do as a job if they didn’t make it as a footy player. It gives me something to do. Dave would have been something to do with Housing administration. All the tenants love him….but they don’t actually know what he does. A Lava lamp of a player, great to stare at but it doesn’t really illuminate your life…sorry Dave I’ve called you a Lava Lamp and a Rubik Cube but nobody ever sang the Dave song as loud as me. Sorry we sent you to Reading. God Bless man. Saint Dave.

Nouha I was more aggravated about but again it was always the cusp of things, the potential not quite realised. Nouha was a firework called ‘Raging Inferno’ STAND BACK 5 METERS’ fucking hell, you’ve got visions of the shed on fire, the kids, the dog, next doors new fence and the missus on aflame, everything aflame!…and we watch as it fizzles and farts a few golden sparks into the dog shit at the top of the garden. Nouha my little puddin’ what went wrong? What happened to the fuse man? We stood in the cold as you fizzled away and finally a climactic splurt of flame like a wet dog fart and you fell over into the dog egg infested wastes of Hull. Fair thee well Brother may your visits to the Molineux always be wet dog farts of a match for you…a bit like the 5-0 drubbing your new team got last night

Fuck what the Pigeon thinks. The Autumnal jacket is a thing. The Southbank will be warm as I’m sure we’ve sold out. But the walk is weird and I’m trapped in a group of away fans again and the Police are pushing me this way and that then a punch is thrown at somebody and well, it is Millwall so I duck my head and steer my way through the madness of stale onion, Aquascutum coats and beer odours. But I love the walk past the University art block and amongst the madness it’s always good to look West and see the Clee Hills on the horizon, settles the mind a little, but the anger is palpable, the men today are simply men and the dynamic is violent and I see Nuno in the sky driving a great golden chariot, he’s got hair like a rock star and I can hear singing from the stadium and the metaphysical hallucinations are replaced by the physical, the empirical, the nuts and bolts. Score more than them. That’s all. Three points for us, intangible things you can never hold in your hand, ethereal addition that will mean either nothing as we are 12 points ahead at the top of the table come May or they mean the death of the Nuno experience, Our football the beautiful melodies played during the demented point gathering frenzy of championship football. But yeah the football.

Well Jed and Jimmy didn’t get much of a look in did they? Thank God. Saville again in that aimless discordant rhythm and Wallace still looking for….well I still don’t know what he’s looking for on that pitch. On the other hand we fucking smashed it right up. And here it was, the roots of the Nuno tree had taken root firmly within the grass of Molineux. The stem was still young and pliant, there were times when the blowhard football from Millwall bent the young stem, almost to the ground, well firmly to the ground as Jota got a two flipper challenge off the Millwall number 22 Aiden O’Brien. The same 22 who five minutes before was breathless and hands on hip resigned to the Brokeback Mountain love that Jota had been giving him for the previous minutes. Yes, he got bum loved purely and simply by that Jota dink here and dink there, more twists than a curly wurly this story and lo! In O’Brien goes with a two footed tango which in all honesty Jota had all week to prepare for it was that clumsy. Jota falls to the grass motionless, Saville pushes his face in, gets it pushed back out, Neves steams in, anger and hostility, it’s a soap opera all of a sudden and all I’m bothered about is Jota. My little cherub. How he had the Millwall back line in confused sweats. O’Brien again physical. But Jota gets up. He’s growing that dude. Growing good. It’s so early in the season too.

I think we had learned all we had to learn from the Cardiff game maybe. Our team didn’t have to learn much from the Colin Wanker playbook to approach this game, although not as violent as the Warnockian plague of the last home match it was still a bit snarky. Jota was a ghost through the Millwall defense, I half expected Derek Acora to start channeling his Spirit guide. I expected Yvette Fielding to start screaming on the touchline dropping her torch. Ghost Jota. He takes command of the ball deep infield and that’s it, he knows his path is set, he runs, he shifts the ball over, he duffs it in the net. One-Nil. What. A. Fucking. Strike. I’m beside myself, an errant elbow knocks my glasses off and they spiral into the air. I’m still screaming, the dude next to me is screaming, everybody is screaming. I stretch a hand up and catch my glasses in a smooth Jota like grab. All is saved. Jota you sensual thing. I believe in Diogo, where ya gone, you sexy thing

Of course we ran things in the first half. Doherty and Batth are sucking up football knowledge via osmosis. Our Portuguese brothers have infected Compton with football and the infection has infected. Danny Batth swapped the ball from his left foot to his right and he’s past a player. I shake my head. Danny? What? Last year that ball would have been described as a clearance. A hoofed toe bunt into another opposition attack. Blob ball. But Danny has always been better than that, he is a good soldier and has done what Kenny and Lamberto told him. Fuck it off back up the pitch. Ron Bastard style center back….what has happened? Nuno has quietly spoken golden honey like simple words into Dannys ear. ‘No Danny, love the ball, stroke the ball BE the ball’ and thus it was so. Apart from a few lapses into madness it was there, and he looked like a different player, they all did. Keeping possession, holding the ball, dictating the play, looking for openings, probing constantly.

The second half was a much dodgier event. It seemed as if we had watched Pink Floyd in the first half then the Latvian Pink Floyd came on in the second. It was nearly the same as the first half but something was wrong. The licks sounded yeah similar but there wasn’t that really slick comfortable groove we had in the first. Maybe the sending off had some effect, altered the flow maybe, something was wrong and some changes were in the offing. The wind changed a little in the second half too. Blowing in swirls across the stand, making the seagulls cry out.

Vinagre at one point spoke animatedly with Neves and the talk started. Millwall were deep and looked to hit on the break I supposed. But half an hour of the second half had me staring at Wallace and Saville, evil glances they were as this was the thing, the point at which we had seen every one goal lead turned into a one pointer, a draw, a sick end to nail biting constant plonks at Ruddy including one through a mass of legs that Ruddy did excellent to smother. Another Millwall gut flash, another ‘woman’ who looked like a dude. I watched the Millwall fans for a while and it was ok but the end of the match, the final twitching corpse of it still had those heart in mouth moments, that damp hand on the back of the neck and I noticed I was gripping the arm of the dude next to me but he didn’t care as he was busy chewing his finger off. We looked at each other, we had stood next to each other for five seasons and we didn’t need to talk, we had the last minute equaliser stare. Shell shock, the last round knock out.

‘Blow the whistle you horrible bald headed bastard’

We did it yeah. Three points, a result which will never remain as a memory of greatness and discussed over pints in dark pubs. That’s the nature of growth, the incessant division of component parts into a greater all. We probably did need a Striker on the pitch. I need a big flash Merc to drive around in but the falling apart van I have does the job at the moment.

Bright had some ‘Bright’ moments where he forgot he had the ball again and everybody wanted a pop at those twenty yard lets bop a fan in the face shots. N’Diaye came on, total unit first touches, a run where he had three players hanging off him but never broke stride. I like the look of him but even if I didn’t like him I wouldn’t say anything, he’s massive. But again it’s all so fucking new. It’s new for us seeing this madness unfold in front of our eyes. Excitement again. Dynamic movement, these are fresh green shoots of a revolution and those green shoots are susceptible to the frosts and winds of the Championship. There will be greater nights and days to come where this Portuguese madness, this reinvigorated Doherty and Batth will force their ways through the hard packed clay of the Warnockian Championship dystopia and reach the light above. And when those shoots do untangle themselves and unfold the green leaves of the Nuno revolution some poor bastards are going to get annihilated, and they will sit within the away dressing room at Molineux and weep at the beauty of it. But now, at this moment we should nurture and provide support to this fledgling project, a bit of love too as we bend an errant branch back into the required position.

Outside the ground three Chinese fellas stopped me to grab a light for their cigarette. They were laughing and were wearing brand new club shirts. New fans maybe, who knows, maybe a few years ago I would have been a little pissed off that the club was becoming a global beast attracting these fresh faced doughnuts who had never before stepped in Wolverhampton. But this time I didn’t care, I wasn’t bothered about them, or the moaning from various lollipops that walked past me. I wasn’t particularly bothered about the traditional Millwall post match street theater either, or the fact Adidas Gazelles had a sole as thin as the Refs hair. It was a good feeling, a confident comfortable feeling, and I let myself be oozed along the ring road back to the car. I was thinking about Bonsai trees.



Gary Mastic and Poundstretcher Football


I was in Poundstretcher and ‘Gary the Mastic’ who I know quite well came up to me spitting and blathering about the whole Fosun thing, lack of a striker, unsure about investment, the team, the whole madness. What can I say? I was looking at Bog roll. In Poundstretcher. Crazy. There he was covered in whatever shit he messed with at work hassling me about the dealings of a Global company with interests that wriggle like the chopped off arm of an Octopus. Strikers Gary? Angel-Crease bog roll is £4 for eight rolls but you’re in danger of getting a shitty finger. Softy-Bum is £6 for eight rolls and shitty finger is a problem one may forget about as you peruse the bog library. Striker problems? What Striker problems? Dwight fucking Gayle not coming? Some Dutch gonad pulling out at the last minute? Probably a first for him. Chasing players here and there trying to get them to sign so Norman Northbank can get at least half a semi on for transfer deadline day? I want Strikers driving up to Jeff Shi’s house and banging on his door begging to play for Wolves. That’s the player I want, not Doogalooo Dunrunnin from AEK Dynamo Wankspanner who scored four goals last season and one of them was an own goal. I want people who NEED to score.

But Gary Mastic is resolute and follows me up and down the aisles talking about it, mashing his gums as the mastic has rotted his teeth out. He’s like the Wolves Facebook group ‘Dingles Ay We’ in fact he’s typical of the absolute meltdown rhetoric that I used to read on there before my ban. But Gary? Who the fuck would we have bought really? Looking at the dickheads being put forward by various people had me in a depression. Is this what money brings you? Is this what transfer day really is? I was looking for Nuno interviews as an antidote to it, I was getting caught up in the madness of it. Gary was obviously in some kind of delirious state. Sky Sports had got him. I knew Gary had a big fucking telly nailed to his living room wall. I knew Gary sat in front of it with his nightly four tins of Carling Black Label. I knew his dog would be looking at him for love and attention as he constantly scanned the internet and the TV for news. It was a mess, he’s a mess, I was a mess.

‘Gary I think Fosun have it all under control’ I said, and he nearly fell into the shelves of out of date sweeties. Anger and hostility. I felt like I was defending this multinational Global entity from Gary Mastics ire, his anger palpable and raw and I clutched the bog roll to my chest in protection as his little thin legs made the Umbro trackie bottoms he wore shake like those fan driven blow up wavy arm things outside Carpet World. Jesus Christ.

So the transfer window ended without a signing of a Striker. Bloody hell. Tins of Salmon for a quid. Cool. Gary followed me around singing the praises of Steve Morgan and the abyss of Moxey….or ‘Moxley’ as Gary called him. Remembering those halcyon days in the 4th Division when ‘everything looked bright’ but really it didn’t did it? It was shit. It was settling for something, anything. It was the party that really failed to ignite any kind of push forward. Afobe gone. Sakho gone. The dullness of a few seasons of making do with Kenny Charisma and Paul Lamberto. The slow relentless push for points, the dullness of work mate barbecues. Wondering whether to send a dirty private message to your mates girlfriend. Anything to pull your mind away from the resolute fucking failure to ‘push on’ the keyword of the post match interview. Excuses mate, they fall at our feet like a turd just rolled down your trouser leg and onto the dusty Poundstretcher concrete floor. The majority of our previous squads should have thrown themselves in Compton cut and done us all a favour.

Now the zeitgeist is different surely? Looking at the play we have developed under Nuno I feel a familiar feeling. When Neves has the ball my ballsack shrinks in anticipation. When he plays it to Jota I grab the poor bastard who stands next to me (who puts up with some madness I’ll tell ya). Who else do I pick out of the roster of sexual footballing pornography Jeff Shi and Fosun have brought us. And there again I’m bigging up and defending the global and the rich. Later on I will be smashing open my piggy bank where I have £60 saved to buy this site. I’ll have £22 left and people are moaning at me about 18 million quid strikers. Ruffles Raspberry Coconut bars £1 for six. Get in.

I’m not hassled mentally like Gary Mastic. What I’m about is novelty and dynamics. I want to see new ideas and new madness behind the club I love. I want just ‘something’ to happen whether its sexy football or raging 40 yard cross field accurate passes, a rush of players into the box, some doughnut to push it into the net so I can go home happy in the fact we got points and 2000 drongs from Shitstick United get back on the M6 with big glum sad faces. Gary Mastic is endemic of the rainy day mentality of ‘some’ of our support. If he read the Daily Mail then he’d probably be phoned up by Tarquin Flashtwat Sports Sub Editor for a chat about ‘those fucking chinky bastards ruining our club’. But I don’t give a shit about Gary Mastic, I don’t give a shit about the Daily Mail, I don’t give a shit about any of the gloom squad. I don’t give a shit about them simply because I’m excited and positive. For the first time in a long while I’m looking forward to the season whether we have a striker or not. Because to be fair to Dicko, as much as I tried to mentally propel him towards the madness of scoring goals for fun it was obvious that he’d had enough, and that’s cool. Bye. What you going to swap him with? Of course talking to actual half insane on mastic fumes Wolves fans is a lot different to waxing in 140 characters on Twitter. It’s dynamic, at least he’s talking about it and not the letter from the environmental health about the state of his front garden. I see it and I feel it. I just wish he’d turn his face upwards for a few minutes and look at those lofty limbs of global brand footy instead of the Poundstretcher football we played for the last few years. Gary look up mate. Get your chin out of your chest and just fucking believe for a few moments.

Fosun can defend themselves. Jeff Shi gets paid. Everybody gets paid. Some of us just pay. I bought the Angel-Crease bog roll. I’m a risk taker, a positive thinker, a three sheet kind of bloke who likes to take risks. Whether or not we end the season with a shitty finger well…who knows? But imagine we end it with a pristine bum hole…we can but hope.