The Rightful Place


Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers

That came around quick didn’t it? Manchester City. A blast from the past, it reads like a 1970’s teleprinter score on ‘The World of Sport’ with Dickie Davis. We couldn’t get hold of tickets so it’s going to be a case of watching the match through the filters of Social Media and nicking match action off Tim Spiers tweets. What is a Manchester? My Dads family are all from Salford and he was a United fan, which I found disgusting. He could have supported a local team like Manchester City or gone to support Orrel the Rugby League side. But Salford has always been a hive for Reds.  I remember my Great Nan going to watch the Rugby still wearing her Mill clogs. I’ll leave the United thing for another day. I remember my Wolverhampton Nan looking at my Dad like he had done a shit in the hearth when he used to put Manchester United on the telly. I remember my Dad punching me in the face when we went to dinner with George Best because he heard me whisper to my younger brother in the car going up, ‘fuck George Best’. But I’ve still got George Bests autograph and I still remember him standing around for three quarters of a match doing nothing. Jesus Christ on a bike. I’ll get all this off my chest when we are playing United next season. Beware.

Manchester. What is a Manchester City? I don’t mind them too much, I don’t mind Manchester either to be honest. It was always weird being dragged up there every couple of years to touch base with the ‘Manc-End’ of the family. Especially as my localism and Wolverhamptoness was ingrained from birth in Low Hill. I didn’t like my old man and so I hated his team with a vengeance but Uncle Steve was a City fan, he was ok. But why are we there again? The League cup. We will spill up there mob handed of course being loud and getting run over by the trams wandering aimlessly around looking where to go, looking for Wolves shirts so you can follow them to the stadium.

‘Where ya from in Wolvo Bab?’ You ask a couple of women in Wolves shirts

‘Oh we’re from Marlborough’ they reply. I tell my mate,

‘Where’s that?’ he asks. ‘Back of Heath Town I think’ I tell him.

‘Pattingham ay it?’ he says.

The media disinformation campaign against the Wolves is kicking in now. The odd article filled with bile and untruths. The Manager quotes (Yes you Steve Bruce) that have all the intellectual nous of a fucking Yoga DVD. Love it, bring it on. You fucking Dinosaurs, how dare you. You haven’t got the right to print anything about my club, you haven’t earned it. And your team got beat at the Molineux? Tough fucking tit. You’re all living in the past, Managers, Journos you have failed to evolve, you are old photographs, sad TV formats, you have failed to create new ways and new systems. We are the media now…..fuck, my biscuit has fell in my tea. Yeah the disinfo, the fake articles, the men in tight suits and tighter expense accounts, the back slappers, the sidlers, idlers, the useless dregs of the old order…picking out a floating half a biscuit in hot tea, shoving it in your face while your fingers burn. Got it all out too. Kwan. Belief. Just say No to Fake Football journalism.

It’s going to get much worse too once the sheeple who support other teams start to smell blood. It’s bad enough now with all this FFP wankery off people with all the financial skills of a fucking scaffold plank, they’re the ones who try to peel the foil off pound coins so they can eat the chocolate. Soon it’s going to be one big circle jerk with us stuck in the middle of it laughing. Christ, sometimes I wish I could throw a bottle of warm piss at the lot of them.

City have some cash don’t they? Oil cash isn’t it? Sheikh money or something. I remember them well, knocking around the Championship/Division 1  before they got a few quid in their pockets and started buying all these funky players who could move a ball around a bit. Same as our business plan really, investment, long term planning, loyal fanbase, local roots. I don’t want to big them up too much of course but this is the model we need to have in place. Growth, dynamic change, vision maybe, a global outlook. It’s mad that I’m using all these keywords, I suppose one day we will see what they mean when we are playing City twice a year and nicking their Euro spot. I’m not angry about not going tonight, I’ve been to loads of great matches. I’m not greedy. I’m saving for the European matches in a few years. Pound in the jar.

I don’t feel weird about playing them either. I know the youth have a bit of a hard on about a team that has been hanging around the top of the Premiership like a dog fart under a duvet. I get that. I also get these tasty rumblers of the ball too. I’ve watched a few games this year. I couldn’t tell you who they are because the names are tricky to spell. But there’s that little angry bloke, the big black dude, the Spanish looking fella with the bad trim, the ginger bloke ‘Kev’, that England player who scored that goal once….a plethora of names really that spill across my screen like a couple of packs of Pannini stickers. Of course they have foil bits and are shiny. That’s cool.

Manchester is a shiny place full of new buildings and shops, new ground too, the ‘Eat-ya-yed’ stadium or something. We’re kind of looking at them with a bit of hope wondering maybe, is this our bag? Our future? But that City team always get off the bus with big glum faces and bigger headphones, handbags, Premier league things. But they also have the greatest Poet in the world at the moment. Mark E Smith of ‘The Fall’ and ‘Kicker Conspiracy’ was my anthem and he was my Messiah for a few years I’ll admit. Maybe still is. We’re all ‘well read peasants’.

But looking at our team I don’t feel aggravated at all. They can all find the space here to expand a little maybe, stretch their legs out and not fear the incessant bitchball finangling, the odd ankle kick, the pulling at shirts, the toe stamp. All the bollocks that Preston threw at us last Saturday. What a Warnockian festival of wankery that was, topped off with a Refereeing display more worthy of a factory lunchtime kick about with a flat ball someone found on the roof, steel toe cap boots, fouls, apprentices for goal posts, ‘stand there you little bastards and don’t move’. I was a bit angry after that game even though we won it. PNE are the dirtiest team in the League at the moment. A fucking disgrace. Like looking for the TV remote in Steve Bruces hair and pulling the back of a settee out.

Jack Price, ink still wet on a new contract. Will he enter the stage as a little kid does at a school nativity play with his tea towel Shepherd outfit, little face looking all aggravated. Or will he stride on there like Richard Burton in Hamlet with Agueros skull in his hand? I hope the latter. I’m a big fan of Jacko. His passes in the Bristol Rovers game were sublime.

Will we open up the book of football Nuno has written so far at Wolves? The flowing sexual stuff? Of course. Are our ideas stronger than Pepitto Guardyacolas? Maybe. Pep looks like a bloke on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I think his players go above and beyond because they know he gets all weepy and wails like a Spanish Civil war widow when they get stuffed. Which isn’t often. There’s always a slim chance of course the City staff will have neglected to do their homework on our team. But I doubt it somehow. I think they are well aware of how we are on a high looking to rock somebody on their heels. Having a go at the ‘big kid’. I’ve got biscuits at the ready ‘Poundstretcher Chocolate Digestives’ quid a pack. I’ve got my Sports Direct free mug full of tea. Roll ups. Dogs. Tim Spiers Twitter account primed. Let’s fucking have it. Remember when we put Uniteds record breaking win record to the sword?

We’re off. N’diaye or ‘Big Alf’ as I call him is doing a thing apparently, straight away. I like Big Alf. Damn weird trying to make sense of the first ten minutes of any game. It’s the slow dance part, the Barry White phase where you are getting to know what’s under the clothes, having a smooch. Big Alf has smooched somebody with a smashing tackle already. Aguero looks like the star of a video from Mexico on Liveleak.

I  predicted the score at full time. 0-0. I was confident we would display the same resolute and solid underpinnings that have been exposed to us for the last few weeks. It was a pure delight from start to finish. The stream of course went blah a few times but it was all there for me to see. This wasn’t a ‘second string’ team by any means. This was another subtle materialisation of the will of Nuno and his coaching staff. A manifestation of the same idea but in different form. And yet I suppose I at least fell into the trap of thinking it was the second stringers, at least until they started to play and it became apparent that this wasn’t a gathering of the dysfunctional and the forgotten. They were the weapon Nuno and his staff chose to select to counter the threat of one of the top teams in Europe. Were we not entertained? Fucking hell, no joke there were a few times when I kind of locked into the rhythm of the whole spectacle and I saw a team that were vibrant, steadfast, agile and attack minded. A team in their rightful place.

We defended as 11 men, attacked as 11 men It was plain to see on the pitch. Manchester  City threatened constantly. Ronan I will never describe as ‘little Ronan’ again. What a display from him. As a man he is, his stature no relation to his strength. A pure artists. He made £50,000.000 players look like snot on a bus seat.

Jack Price in everybodys face again, that beard getting in the way of attacks, nibbling away, having the occasional dig. Fair play Jack Price. Big Danny Batth, derided most of last season and now collects the ball in his own box and executes a short pass to outfield and away, his blocking, his overall play. What has Nuno done with him?It’s Stepford Wives but football players from Compton. Vinagre growing into some sort of insanely creative force on the wing. Norris? He came from Cambridge as some snotnose with a good report, who is this man? This presence? Those saves? I mean he fluffed his lines a few times but he was probably nailing tiles to a roof two years ago. Give him the slack this occasion deserves. Insane player again. Love him. We are blessed.

There were times here when I actually shivered a little and the hairs on my neck stood up as our team expanded their ideas across the whole stadium. The idea I think was birthright and pedigree, history and pride. We did not seem out of place because this is our place. This is the idea our teams of the past forged in our names. Of course we played brilliantly, because that is the way we ‘should’ play and the tactics, at least for me pale away a little and that idea of birthright demands football that seizes back those days we had back in the past. This football reverberates back into those days and those past teams are made alive again forming this irresistible idea of beautiful Molineux football.

The misses are and should be ruminated over on other days I think. I love Brighty. The penalties are grist for the Social Media mill I suppose and I daresay someone will stop me this week and discuss it. But the beauty of it all will (I think) be the mainstay of my thoughts this week, at least until the next match. I bet Mark E Smith was entertained by it all. But for me it was an experience of a lifetime. Those fans that went, I don’t envy you at all for being there and experiencing it. I’ve had loads of great games from the past. I’m not being greedy. I wish those penalties would have gone in just for you so you could have felt your hearts swell up but it was not to be. Alas. QPR Saturday.

4 thoughts on “The Rightful Place

  1. ‘I’m saving for the European matches in a few years. Pound in the jar.’
    Did that as a schoolkid for the UEFA Cup and who did we get in the final ? Bloody Hackney…

    Top stuff !