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.

10 thoughts on “Lola Football and The Crucible Of Ideas

  1. Don’t know who is the writer here but it is some of the best football writing I have read. Even better it is about Wolves and an era in Wolverhampton we should probably forget but we probably never will.

  2. Nuno and Fosun comment on the love and support shown but they ain’t seen nothing yet. Like you say, the trust will grow, the crowds will grow and new heroes will develop. Dare we dream? When do we let our Wulfrunian guard down? Only time will tell but I’ve just dropped my left glove a little leaving my chin exposed. A couple of stiff jabs and the guard will soon be back up but I’m ready to do a bit of bobbing and weaving. And maybe a bit of showboating.
    Come on mi babbies.

  3. Another cracking piece.
    As a writer who uses the ‘stream of consciousness’ method you will almost certainly be aware of the passing of one of the greats a few days ago. J P Donleavy was one of my childhood heroes alongside Sallinger, Flann O’Brien and Joseph Heller. The Ginger Man is a book that everyone should read.
    Great writer, sadly missed.