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C O N S O L I D A T I O N

NOUN
The action or process of making something stronger or more solid.

The action or process of combining a number of things into a single more effective or coherent whole.

‘Haven’t you gone to Dingle In the Park with the rest of the inbreds?’

That voice over the gate. It was Albion club shop man. He lives up the road. I was chilling in the front garden last Monday afternoon. We had come back from Sunderland that day. What a beautiful time we had apart from the score line…but I didn’t care much about that. I had busted my nut weeks ago and was inside the stadium of light with that afterglow groove going on. Smoking a fag and looking out of the window like a lovelorn poet. I’ve got a scrap of paper in my hand, a poem I have written, it starts…

‘Ruben your hair doesn’t move but your football has a full on groove’

I laugh at Albion club shop man. I tell him to fuck off or I’ll set the dogs on him. Gizmo the Staffy is growling at him. Gizmo knows. The poor Albion bastard. Tomorrow his club will be officially relegated to the Championship. They are dead men walking on this beautiful Monday afternoon. I’ve been watching videos on social media where everybody is thronging the streets, singing, flares, mad smoke bombs, the odd confused African or Chinese student weaving between the gold and black madness. The event, oh my days, perfect. The weather, the beautiful people, the flags, the scousers selling flags. The whole spectacle brings a tear to my eye even now. The man on the ‘oss still looks like Nuno to me, if I squint with one eye. I wonder about whether I should have gone. It would have been a thing, crutches, bad leg, loads of people. I know how cack it is trying to manoeuvre a wheelchair through the crazy people shit. Smashing into the back of legs. Not seeing fuck all because you are small.

‘We’ve got Neves! Nuno Neves!’

I didn’t go mainly because it was a chance for other people to enjoy the day. Buy the flags and wave them. Buy into the whole success thing get to learn who the players actually are. Have a fucking great day out in the sun celebrating the team and the whole beautiful saga that is Wolverhampton and Wolves. Two things that entwine and tangle within each other like mad jungle vines. In these sorry days we see clubs who have moved their stadiums to featureless retail parks and out of town diasporas of sunken eyed architecture, designed by people who will never live there. Never walk it’s cheap landscapes. We have Wolves within the hearts of us. We have it in our DNA and it effects us even if we deny it sometimes and for fucks sake how we choked those tears back over the years as those bastards down the road flaunted their status as hollow and bereft of idea as it was. It affects us deep inside because we are our town, so we are the club. We breathe it in every day. Every road, street pavement, canal towpath extrapolated from our veins and arteries. It’s trees our lungs, the traffic our tainted blood. The Molineux our beating heart.

‘That Nunos lovely isn’t he?’

Even these doughnuts walking around singing about ‘Nuno Neves’. They don’t care whether or not they are singing the right names, songs, insults. I don’t care either. Because I know the zeitgeist is real and it is lightning fast under the City. As we sleep we hear that heart of Molineux beating away and unconsciously they knew something had happened. These people who walk around in the last football shirt they bought. Maybe a Doritos one, maybe a Goodyear one, Chaucer? I don’t know. But I do know I was proud of them to flood out and be proud even if they knew little about the reasons. We know, you and me. You’ve read the posts here, the pain and the glory. We have been fellow travellers on that unknown road. Me and you.

On Tuesday I lay on my back in the front garden looking at the sun. It was a rare Sun dog event. A halo of ice crystals surround it like a ring and that halo was rainbow coloured and beautiful too. Reflected moods all around really and from the garden gate again, voices. More friendly and chilled out. Raising my head to look I saw Shane and Ferret. Crackheads from up the top of the estate. I got up and shuffled over to see what was up. They had been down Poundstretcher nicking stuff. They had a shit lamp, a leather look vinyl steering wheel cover, a screwdriver set and two tubes of Pringles. Sour cream and chives. I was all about Pringles. Even if Ferrets sticky germ ridden hand had been in it I accepted the offer of an inch or two stack of this tasty snack.

‘Am ya gewin to tha Wolves dinner tonight? Ade’s gewin, he works on the building and his gaffer is tekkin him, right piss up ay it? Am ya? Get Nunos autograph for the babby’

These Pringles were my dinner but I never said anything. I’m the only person around here who speaks to them and they admire me for some reason. I didn’t want to upset that groove at all. We chat about Wolves. What’s happened. I tell them some stories and we laugh. They are angry when I talk about other things and threaten retributions. But it’s all good. We wonder and we wax these end of path lyrics like skilled orators, because that’s what we are about. With Wolves there are loads of things to talk about. I have some more Pringles. Ferrety dude is talking and Pringle crumbs are flying everywhere. He is a way from his last smoke of that bad crack. His eyes are wide and wired up. Wolves man. But I’ve seen that look on other faces. Bristol, Leeds and Villa park, QPR and Fulham. He smokes the crack we run with the pack. Both take a toll on your health at times. The highs and the fucking lows.

You see I wasn’t lying in the grass thinking about what has happened through the season gone. It’s done and dusted. In ten years I wont remember a thing about it apart from a few key points, goals and incidents, some of the players too. What I’m thinking about is the future. Always the future. The past is for leaning onto somebody in the pub ten years down the line half pissed and going ‘That fucking goal against Derby eh? Eh? Eh?’.

Yes. I was thinking about other things. Our club have surpassed themselves this season and I suspect that everything is happening at such a rapid rate we’ve caught up too fast. It was a Three year plan to get us promoted once Jeff had sat down and learned some lessons from the Lambert period and the Zenga episodes. Jeff learned fast. As he learns so does the staff at Molineux. This club isn’t some freakish sideshow to the ministrations of the Scouse Satan any more. Not a bottomless pit of money making opportunities for fat sports management graduates. I don’t think people realise how fast this change has come about, this learning process. I would say Jeff Shi and company have brought us Premiership football ahead of schedule. Probably a season ahead. What does this mean? Of course Jeff has to go to the filing cabinet now and break the Red Dragon Seal of the parchment within. The Premier league plans. Early, but yes, the plans are in position and ready.

We have of course stopped at the end of line on this journey on the Nuno Express, the Fosun crazy train. Now we all get off. Our hair frazzled, the hangover kicking in and there’s a new journey to come on another fucking crazy train, but this one is a bit faster, maybe more plush, comfy seats, sexy shit. Fosun are a year ahead but that is no matter. Now Jeff can look at the names on the parchment that Nuno and Uncle Jorge, maybe a few others have already had little chats to. Do we think that Fosun would leave these transfer targets late? Do we think that Fosun and Nuno will wait until they come back off their holidays laden with beach balls, duty free fags, stupid shorts and a weird rash before looking at available transfers? Will they be looking at Steven Alikibi from Sierra Leone aged 16? A prospect? One for the future? A lively midfielder? Nah. Fosun and Nuno will have identified who they want probably last October. Then overtures would have been made over Christmas maybe. A few chats, a few tentative approaches under the greatest secrecy. Uncle Jorge picking up his gold plated telephone as he wrinkles his toes through a white tiger skin rug?

For Fosun are diligent men, honourable men. We don’t know anything. Nobody outside the Gold and Black Palace does. It’s a secret and Fosun will not look kindly on those who would speak about things that ‘go on’. Everybody stays quiet now at Molineux. Everything is under control. So we see that the players that will be joining us have already seen a DVD of a few matches we played this season. They have seen this beautiful football and have been inspired by it. More inspired by sitting on a bench for some major European team for sure. Perhaps a few of them sent Jota or Neves a text or two? Asking about Wolvo, asking about houses and schools maybe…

At Wolves these players will see the philosophy of football in real live action. An idea, thrust forth by Nuno into the minds of his players. The desire to improve, as a team. To thrive on that pitch and to enjoy the love of football through these ideas. These players we will sign already love us although they don’t know it yet. Maybe many of them will not be names well known to us. Maybe as last year we will be hunting YouTube for videos of their sexiness. But Nuno will know. Long past is the sheepskin coated trilby wearing football scout sitting in the rain at Scunthorpe watching a 24 year old non league player who traps the ball lovely, dinks a good pass, scores a few, has a bit of a drink problem. Now the scouting is done all over the world. The many arms of Fosun and the Wolves staff moving like the Goddess Shiva. Touching gently, moving on. Forever in flux, forever changing their ideas and their targets. Who will we sign? They have already signed, trust me. They are just waiting for the call now, the call to come home to Nuno and to finally flourish, bloom and explode, playing the football they have always wanted to play for a team few have heard of…yet.

I’m already forgetting about this season past. It’s done. Now is the time for laughter at the dogs in the dust below us fighting over scraps we have left in our wake. The play offs, God help those poor bastards..on second thoughts fuck them. Consolidation. We enter a new chapter now and a new landscape. We must consolidate our position of power especially our ‘Power of Ideas’. The Premier league clubs are shitting themselves trust me. Physical attacks can only do so much harm. Attacks from the media are fleeting and ineffective now, we have seen this with the ministrations of the media and people at a high level in football clubs who should have known better. Here we have the power of ideas and we will show them to the world next year. But the ideas are only as good as the foundations they have erupted from. Next season will be harsh to us at times. This season has been good and productive but we knew that when we faced the demons at Fulham and Cardiff and failed that we would stand tall again because we simply knew that the ideas of Nuno and his staff were stronger and more vibrant, more passion, more harder working, tougher, unassailable…eventually. Next season there will be losses, there will be days where we wonder at whether we belong there at all. Maybe we will remember the ghosts of McCarthy and McGoo wailing around the stands as we battled to survive in those days. At the moment we bask and sing the same hymns, shout the same platitudes, venerate the staff and players as holy men. But man, there will be days when we trudge out of these shiny stadiums wondering what the fuck just happened. This is ok, this is part of the growing process and that process is the consolidation of our position. As we evolve then we try new ways and new forms. Sometimes these new ways will be seen as useless or ineffective and cast aside for us to pick new ways of playing and new forms, tactics, positional strengths. It’s a learning process this evolution bollocks but underneath it always is the act of consolidation. Next season we learn and we grow, always. Us and the club will do that together, we will cry together and we will celebrate together but we MUST do it together. Support 100%. Sing until you can’t sing any more. Denigrate the opposition always, have no respect for their history or there position. Annihilate them with song. Destroy them with our creativity. The club will need us this season. I think the club are ready, are we?