‘It is only for us’ – Nunos post match Interview after Bristol City
Well it is that of which we said it was gonna be. What price this life and this madness? That you can commit your heart to such madness, indeed live it and breath it in with people you love and respect and then right at the end, such an outpouring of love and emotion that all of a sudden it seemed like all the stresses and strains of the last few decades have gone. We stand on our feet for a moment as the limbs thrash and shins get whacked, chaos ensues. Names are writ on the hot flesh of hearts.
Douglas, a man who defines the whole idea of a dead ball master. Bennett who was denigrated so badly by Norwich fans that his heart must have jumped from his chest the way he jumped up and then time kind of stopped didn’t it? The winning goal, I was twenty feet from it and my hand stretched out to grab Horace and everything slowed down and there was a silence of sorts. A silence of expectation of everything ‘being in it’s correct form’. Of course we were going to win it. I watched Bennett connect and it was done. The ball wasn’t even in the net and it was over for me and I knew we had at last arrived so I shut my eyes and shout screamed that primordial victory.
‘We’re going up, they’re going down, We’re going up, they’re going down’
What even is Sambuca? There was a tray of shots and I was invited to partake. I drank one and it was burny and good. I turned around and somebody was talking to me about this blog and I was wrecked and didn’t know what they were talking about. I was just a Wolves fan getting rat arsed before the game with my mates. All was wobbly and funny. All was wavy and curly. Outside the pub the people of Bristol did their thing and what a load of weird things they were. I understand the ‘idea’ of Bristol but I don’t understand it. We had a smoke outside and I watched their fans do their thing as they walked past. They were quiet while we were loud. Loud because we are proud? Nah and ar, loud because that’s how you talk in a factory where machines grumble and roar and some knobhead always drops a load of metal onto the concrete floor. That’s why ‘Tea’ is always ‘Tay’.
I’m in the concourse and I’m dancing around in the middle of Wolverhamptonism, a bundle of beer soaked singing lunatics. Beer is in my eyes and I cant see. Somebody kisses me on the forehead. My glasses fall off. My eyes are stinging. I can feel my wounds aching and I can’t feel the tips of my fingers. I put my glasses back on but everything is a swirl of Black and Gold, Stone Island coats, red and white Bristol colours. Somebody pours beer over my head. I’m laughing, singing.
What was this day? This day of victory? Probably the most important match of the season and still halfway through. It was sweet and it was divine simply because it was the test of ideas, the test of our metal, the discovery that our team are tactile and centered. What do I mean by that? Our shape never wavered. Danny Batth wanders off the pitch after one of those challenges you watch again and again. Was he right to be sent off? Debate and argument over it of course but I’m Wolves enough to back Danny whatever the outcome and I knew going down to ‘ten men’ wasn’t going to be a massive hassle for this team. Play restarts and our shape changed. There was new order and new tactics, new positions and it didn’t look as if we were bothered that much.
I’m thinking of what would have happened if Lamberto or Jackett would have been in the same Nuno position. Nuno gets sent to the stands because he puts a foot out of the technical area. I’m not bothered, in fact I like it. Passion, madness, the mind of an artist is never fucking still. Art grabs the passion out of you surely? But on the pitch the art was changed and mastered by every player in that position.
Cavaleiro comes on. Somebody turned the footballing volume up to 11. Play was louder now. Play was sublime. We never looked like anything was much of a hassle. Why? Because behind the team was a weight of intent. A juggernaut of possibilities with a momentum that cannot now be stopped and we saw that in Austria didn’t we? Pre-season which seemed that long ago now. Soaking up the rarefied atmosphere of mountain air our new look team marched onto the fields in those mountains, who knew?? Who expected it? Well I did to be honest. The season we had under Lambo was a disgrace, we needed a whole new philosophy and whole new outlook. Lambert was just the scrag end of a succession of club foot Sunday dinner football we have had to endure. Why can’t we have a Coach with thoughts of his own?
Saiss amazes me. Nuno had given him a new dogma. To make that role his own as Saiss sees fit. Thats the secret of Nunoism. Make the player not believe, because belief is airy fairy elf bollocks. ‘Belief’ is the death of intelligence. Nuno instigates players to cast away belief about the way they play and instigates ‘Knowledge’ of football. Belief in the way you play is a one way street when the crassitudes of the daily grind for points wears your team out. Normally around this time of the year as Bristol City has found out. Nuno is sent off again. They do not know what to make of him and now we are a target for those with a lack of idea. A foot inside the pitch? Outside his technical area? Nuno has a heart that wants to be on that pitch. His bravery is standing inside the area and not running on the pitch. During the first goal celebrations I too was climbing over seats. Love. I wanted to celebrate. I know it’s illegal. I was beside myself and emotional again. Thoughts of Nuno standing in the Directors box, all around him the enemy, the former Managers, the hangers on, the defunct Bristolian philosophies, still brave, still El Nuno, he doesn’t give a shit, I loved him after a few games and with each game I love him more, what passion what love, he is a Knight of old and that blood of the warrior runs in his veins. Five hundred years ago his phone would have been a sword. Castigate his name to me and I will remove you from my mind.
This match describes that philosophy perfectly. Here was a team that has just beat Mancrusty Disunited. Bristol had a belief going into the match. Their whole existence built on the ‘belief’ that they were doing something positive and heroic. And that’s shit my friends. Because we ourselves have had that belief for years and years. We beat Liverpool, we get areseholed by Burton the next week. We believed everything we were told because that powerful sense of belief is a real tangible thing that teams like Bristol City and us last season held onto tight. It’s all we had. But it didn’t do us a lot of good. There’s an old adage about a group of Fishermen in a life boat being buffeted by waves and in danger of drowning.
‘Pray to your Gods, but row towards the shore’. Bristol were praying and believing, our team were rowing that boat towards shore hard and fast for 90+ minutes. On 94 minutes we stepped out of the boat onto dry land and thanked God yes, but we have blisters on our hands and we watch the Bristolians struggle in the crushing waves of our joy and happiness. Costa my little love button. Throw away the beliefs you have in yourself and have knowledge instead. Have the knowledge that you are perhaps one of the greatest footballers to step onto a pitch. Don’t believe but know. You have been injured and hurt, you have watched other players come into the team and make positions their own. You have sat on the bench and watched them victorious. This place is yours Costa, if you start knowing you should be there with them. It will come in time Brother be strong, keep rowing towards shore.
Outside the ground there were a few words between us and them. Little snidey comments from people who really shouldn’t debate with us. Their words lack power. The words they have drop into the crusty potholed roads around the stands. They fall like dead things with a slap and a comment. I’m soaking wet and shivering a little.
It’s the halfway point really isn’t it? We have built up to our current position with creativity and with novelty not belief. In the games to come that stoic inevitability of a good result will continue to get stronger and stronger and then it will be over. What happens happens. I cannot see any team in this division challenging the Philosophy of Nunoism, it’s a philosophy that engenders positivist energy on all counts regardless of the situation. You see it in Nunos interviews where any negativity is trod on straight away.
Nuno has built a system were each player is given an academic basis to his play, where each situation and problem has a solution and that solution is drilled into them. But with this quantitative tactical madness there is also a place for a player to grow and to make his own decisions based on the creative component Nuno has also given them. The place where each Wolves player is under the impression that the ball is ours, and if the opposition has the ball then they have stolen it and it is not theirs and must be taken back. Saiss never let that ball get away from him. What a wonder he is. Constantly chasing ‘his’ ball, getting ‘his’ ball back so he can give it away to another Wolves player. Another attack. Another foundation stone in the great edifice that Jeff Shi and Nuno are building.
I’m emotional and tired. Wolves always do this to me. I’m sitting typing and smelling the stale beer from my jeans. I watch Nuno celebrating our winner and I’m emotional again. We have to play our part in this madness now. Get onboard this crazy train and hang out of the windows shouting at every passing City and Town on our way.
We have to get out of this division and it’s lackluster bullshit football where other teams have this vapid and spiritual belief in their club and their players. Even the Premier league will have it’s own ideologies and madness but again we must gather the momentum to break through that ceiling, smash the windows of football conformity and continue to grow and decimate our opponents. The Champions League, the epitome of beautiful creative football. That is where we must be. Look at the potholed roads surrounding these stadiums but keep your eye fixed on the lights at the end of them.