So it Begins



Wolverhampton Wanderers V Crusaders FC First leg of the Europa League 

Is the Summer starting to get a bit worn out now that football is starting? I’m getting that end of Summer feeling even if we are smack bang in the middle of it. That is because football is starting. There are plans for new players, Cutrone, Vallejo maybe some other handsome doughnut or two that can whack a ball in the direction he wants. We finger these thoughts in our heads at this time of year and I’ve been looking at the posts I made on the Resistance blog and the same angst, the same furrows of worried brows. As we finger those thoughts of the start of our football I have been thinking about other beginnings connected with football. I feel like a little kid again now that football up Molineux has become exciting and strange. 

We have days when we just stare out of the window, at the bottom of the front garden. We see a plain white Van pull up. It is much used, it has scratches and dents all over it eventhough it is less than a year old. It is a seasoned campaigner this white van. There is a guy in the Drivers seat in a high-vis jacket and he is looking at paperwork for a moment, but he has turned the engine off. He must be here for some reason…could it be? It’s very hot, he moves slightly in the vinyl seat and you know that his skin is sticking to it. He’s probably been working since 5am, the start of his long hot day. I bet the van interior was a lot cooler that early and he put his hands on the steering wheel and felt that coolness.

We watch him and try not to be seen behind the net curtain or the drapes. He dips out of the hot sticky van and into the syrupy heat of the outside, where the sun bakes your head like a potato. He opens the sliding door of the van with a magical rumble/slam/whack/crunch. He goes into the back of the van and he is sorting through stuff, but you only see the back of him. Just a High-Vis lump jiving around in the chaos of black plastic wrapped boxes and packages. He finds something…the package. He looks at his electronic device and does something to it then slam/whack/crunch the sliding door is shut and he looks at your house to double check the number.

That box will have a number on it that means nothing to us at all. It will be a long number with maybe some letters on it too just for luck. The number looks like a call sign for an amateur radio station on the other side of the world for sure. You can see it through the window.

The driver is from Syria or Poland or some other shit hole or war torn place. We watch him look up at the house again and through the garden gate. As he moves on to the path so do we, moving towards the front door trying to hear if he has knocked or not. You want to catch him before he fucks off back to the van. But we don’t want to seem eager for this package. Too eager isn’t cool. But he knocks, now how long do you leave it before answering it? Five seconds? Ten? You open it and the twat hasn’t even knocked. he’s stopped and is looking at his device again and he seems surprised you have opened the door and you have lost this particular game. You are too eager and now you look like a grasping impatient prick. You offer a greeting and he just mumbles and gives you the package, you put it between your legs as he shoves his electronic thing at you to sign with your finger, you make an abstract squiggle that bears no relationship to a signature and he’s off out of the sorry. He’s probably got another seventy packages to deliver and you are out of his mate. Shut the door, you feel like closing the curtains too. This is our time. This is a secret thing now. 

All we can hear is the fridge clicking on, the sounds of traffic outside and we cock our heads to one side listening. We put the box on the coffee table and sit and look at it for a moment. It’s a box for sure. Black plastic wrapping. The name on it is our name and it looks a bit weird seeing it for some reason. We gently take off the wrapping and push it to one side because it’s nothing to do with this ritual any more. Nothing to do with anything. All that is left is the box. It just sits there waiting for us. It has a dented corner and this offends us.

We have the skills to luxuriate in this few seconds of peace that a man has in his life. Our lives are full of madness. For if you are a man, then we are forgotten things in modern life. We feel in the way and troublesome, archaic even. For we love our football and we love our peace also and this is really our time now, as we stare at the box. We don’t want to touch it yet of course. For to lay a finger upon it means the rest of the ritual will start and we don’t want it to be over yet. Everything that is started has to be ended at some point. Outside the house a dog barks in the heat. It sounds angry and pissed off. As it barks our fingers that were making there way towards the box retreat for a second until the dog is silent. There can be no disturbance here, no breaking of concentration. The dog shuts up and our fingertips gently touch the lid and the lip of the lid, our fingertips gently slide off the top of the box. 

There they are. The end of Summer my friends, the ritual de la futbol has started, officially mate. As the end of Summer is here smack bang in the middle of the Summer then there is a beginning and this is it. There is crinkly white tissue paper and we uncrinkle it gently. We reveal smells at first and they are the odours of leather, plastic, suede, rubber, smells that rise up to our nostrils and we are young again. This is what we remember about being young, when bones were supple, our backs didn’t creak and fire pain into our kidneys, when muscles seemed to work all day instead of for a few hours at best. These smells are Time Machines that fling us back to when everything was good and real. Remember the six-seven hour football matches we played in the park during those heady days? When the players on each team shifted and changed as people went to other places and were replaced by others who fancied a game? Remember running off to the shop or the chip shop to get some chips and a can of pop ice cold out the fridge or warm off the shelf and ten pence cheaper. Coca Cola-Pepsi-Vimto-Tango. Open the can quick and guzzle that shit fast before some other kid wanted a sup as well, and you didn’t want their dirty lip on it, you wanted it for yourself. Open the tin. Drink. Feel the pop get the taste of grass and hot out of your throat. 

“Am them new trainers?”

‘Stampz’ when a kid would scrunch his dirty foot onto your crisp new trainers. If he was bigger than you then you would try and leg it to safety. If they were the same size or smaller they would get a punch in the gob. 

Yes, pull the tissue paper to one side and look. Look at the fucking colours man. Look how bright they are. Are we even worthy of wearing something so beautiful on our horrible feet? Our retinas are scorched. You can’t even touch them. You look around the living room furtively in case anyone can see you in this private ritual. Look at the laces first, crisp things, fresh and new. They are in a little zip lock bag. You will save that to put your weed in. 

Jesus Christ should we even touch them? You wipe your hands on your jeans to get rid of any oily sweaty poisons you may have on them. Look at your hands. That will do. Take a trainer out. It’s the right foot. They are very light and beautiful and you move them around like they are a priceless piece of jewellery. Oh my God they are delicious. The sole is bright white freshness. You hold them to your nose and breathe in the scent of these beautiful things. You are lost. Back to when you were a kid. Your Mom getting you new creps. New grooves. You could run so fast in them, like the wind. What do the tags say? Pseudo science bollocks about materials and space age plastics, memory foams and meshes, angles, dangles, comforts.

Do we all have that tradition of buying a new pair of shoes for the new season? I’m not sure, I know I do. Sometimes when things are good they are an expensive rare pair of Adidas, other times they are a pair of durable Karrimor things on sale from Sports Direct. But the feeling is the same I think. New season. New shoes for the footy. I have noticed that Adidas Gazelles go up a couple of quid once the season starts for real. But God Dammit are we not men? Can we not enjoy some of the fruits of our labours by getting the odd pair of new shoes? Put them back in the box for when the season really starts. It’s not time yet. It’s Euro football first. 

These beautiful shoes will end up like our dreams most of the time. Trampled to shapeless masses, with puke on, piss, dirty tube station floors, food and if you are unlucky a few drops of your own blood. But at the minute everything is fresh and new. 

This is the European section of the campaign this year. It’s been a long time and to paraphrase Robert Plant it’s been a lonely time too. I find it hard to get my head around it to be honest. I’ve forgotten what it was like to be in Europe as the last time we were people weren’t all that bothered to be honest. We are playing Crusaders FC from Northern Ireland. They have what looks like a portacabin social club with murals and stuff these people enjoy. They play in Belfast which is slowly dragging itself out of warfare. That’s all I know about them. They are a small club but fair play to them doing a Euro thing. Pity they have to come to Molineux and get battered, which is what will happen. The great Fosun-Wolves cruise ship will capture this particular dinghy in it’s gravity and leave them in it’s wake bobbling around like a transvestites Adams apple.

There are many new shirts on the back of people slim, fat, young and old. Many of the sponsor logos are stretched across man tits and lady tits so the print looks like a psychedelic acid rock festival poster. That’s cool. Who am I to talk. I have the body of a broken sausage. I feel a bit left out to be honest but I’ve got my T-shirt on that has no holes or stains. It’s a Thrasher T-shirt. I’m such a shit football fan it’s stupid. I am in the John Ireland stand today as I forgot to reserve my tickets and left Pilgrim to run about getting a few. He didn’t moan though thank God. The sun is hot and it bounces off our excited little faces. We sort this problem out by buying many pints and chucking them down that hole in said faces. We throw quite a few in and I am a bit drunk and horrible as usual.

As it happens we are late in again due to everybody falling out of the pubs last minute and do the Molineux stagger, fall down the steps of the subway. Cram a burger in. Wait in line. Hot ay it. Too hot. It’s a different heat abroad. Fucking hell. A slight crush. Sweaty bodies. I see a young Dad all frazzled trying to get his kids into the ground without losing one. It’s like herding spiders. Kids are excited and mad as usual. They run around me and I try to keep my bad language under control. In fact I’m choking on swear words like a piece of gristle in a Balti pie. In the ground. Molineux. Thank fuck for that. It’s been a long time my lover. Too long. I feel like a boil has been popped in my soul.

So Morgan Gibbs White starts in the Jimmy Jimenez role. That’s cool. Ease Jimmy back in. It’s going to be a thankless task here today as Crusaders are not going to be playing expansive European attacking football. They will have a simple idea. Kick the fuck out of our star men and defend defend defend at all costs. Try and get a nil-nil then see if we can screw a mad goal back home in Belfast. It will be the film Zulu all over again with the Crusaders setting up carts and hay bales to stem attacks.

‘Juice’ starts making waves straight away. Why do I call him Juice? He’s electric and if you get too close you will get a whack, he’s a ‘Live Wire’ I think. Is he still Project Traore? I’m not sure but I can see he has grown into a role under Nuno. In these first gasps of the game I can see a few subtle differences to last year. He’s laying the ball off to other players if nothing is being offered in front of him. Last year he would throw himself at the opposition. This would normally end up with him on the floor and cue the moaning around me. When he gets the ball now…I mean…an aside here. Other players are now passing the ball to him. That didn’t happen much last season. Now they are looking for him. He’s a danger on that side of the pitch. He’s deeper now and there are nuances that are creeping into his game. These subtle nuances are Nuno and his training staff. Adama has listened and he understands. This makes my heart beat a little.

My eyeballs have dried up from the Sun and I’m blinking a bit. It’s making the sunshine into little darts of light that seem to surround Ruben Neves. They are surrounding Adama too. I watch him collect the ball and wait, puts his head up and looks. Nothing happening. Lay the ball off again. Coady this time who recycles the ball to Boly then Moutinho. Back to Neves. This is patient Idea laden stuff. We look very shapey. Juice gets the ball again and there is something happening up front and he’s off and it’s not about pace and physicality, it’s about Idea and shape, intent again. He splashes a cross in and it’s close. But no cigar yet. Adama twists and turns like lightening trying to find a grounding point. He’s off again and he’s past one then two Crusader players. Head up and look…find the men in other shirts like him.

Diogo knows Adama will put the ball in with accuracy. There is a trust there forged on the Compton grass hundreds of times. Diogo knows that ball will arrive, electric, spinning in that delightful arc we have been used to seeing from this collection of artists. The Northern Irish watch with mouths agape at the beauty of the arc. It dips at just the right moment and all Diogo has to do is be fucking Diogo. That means put your foot through it. Snipe the bloody thing into the net. Verily that’s exactly what happens and we are 1-0 up. Normal service? It is more than that of course. And I still think we don’t quite understand how our team is playing this kind of football. The first footstep of the great European Journey is done. The first step my friends.

Jonny Otto is probing to see what his own part in this journey is. He is making beautiful waves and shapes on the left hand side. Our own personal Hitman is on Part two of his journey, the great Wolverhampton Wanderers experience. What has he learned? I watch him attack his counterpart from Crusaders and leave him in pieces every time. This is what it’s all about. The sun is not quite killing off these pale men of the North but our football is. The Ulstermen look as if they are staring into the arc of the covenant. Shocked would be a more correct word. Our shape is killing any idea these men had when they come to Molineux. Shape is everything now and Jonny is holding himself back for that shape. You can tell he wants to attack and to probe but he has duties laid down by Nuno and Jonny Otto is a good soldier for sure. He refuses to let his darker more chaotic side out for the good of the team. He tracks back rarely as there are no real attacks. We are contained by shape but not constrained by it. Not tactically anyway.

Where I am sat I am close to Jonny. I can hear him murmur and mutter under his breathe. His hands move as he talks to a team mate. These chats are complex and he expresses himself to others brilliantly. One of the Crusader players remonstrates with Jonny about something but Jonny don’t care man. Jonny is in Nunoland.

Around me are new fans. You can tell. They don’t know the words to the songs and some don’t know who the players are. A little kid next to me is asking his Dad questions about Mountiho but Dad doesn’t know. I welcome these people. They might be late to the party but maybe some love will rub off enough to make them come again. Make them put Wolves a little closer to their hearts.

Ryan Bennet collects the ball constantly from rare Crusader attacks. The rare times Crusaders had the ball of course. I enjoy watching Ryan play. There is more to his game than people realise. He’s had two years playing with Boly and Coady now. This trio of Gold know their roles intimately and they not only understand it but seek to solidify new concepts in there too. Sometimes I find it hard to separate these three dudes into an individual to be honest. They act and defend as one most of the time. There is a relationship there for sure. In fact there is a scent of machine like relentlessness about the way they do defend. I would hate to play against them. Rui Patricio just has to stand there most of the time looking beautiful and composing sonnets to himself on how handsome he is. Coady and Rui chat to each other often. There isn’t much happening in front of his goal to be honest.

Midfield men get all the love and attention. They get most of the grief too. Ruben Neves is being kicked to fuck again. The pull on his shirt, the odd stud raking move, the words shouted in his ear, a hard knee to a soft kidney. Oh Ruben I’m sorry my friend. It’s definitely not European expansive sexy ball for sure. The heat is omnipresent, the opponents skillset is lacklustre at best. Most of the game is about revisiting the snot memes from our Promotion season and any game against Warnock. Physical sides means collapsing under the half soaked vision of somebody elses idea. The game is first gear for us and for Crusaders. We can’t stretch teams that have no flexibility to start with.. Trying to thread the ball through this many bodies is most of the time a pointless exercise. They are clumsy dance partners these Crusaders. Big knobbly gimp footed dancers. Moutinho has learned for sure. He’s not getting involved, he’s on his own plane of existence moving, no, gliding into spaces like Fred Astaire. In these spaces he will collect a ball, love it for a bit, then off it goes onto the tip of a foot while he deftly avoids being trampled by a hot ginger but not of the Rogers variety.

Even Boly wants to join in knocking the ball about. He pops up, grabs the ball and he’s off like a hybrid Bolytinhio. He lays the ball off when he should have stuck a foot through it.

Moutinho pauses for a second in a moment of peace and quiet. He wipes the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand and puts his hands on his hips. He takes a load of air in through his nose like he is nosing a wine and blows it out of his mouth. It’s a grimace and a half smile on a job well done and if Moutinho is happy then so am I.

Raul Jimenez strolls and jogs onto the pitch. Why does he look so fresh? His Holiday was as short as mine used to be whacking pallets in the open all yeat for two weeks off. He’s on and within seconds he is ducking and diving around in the box being Jimenez again.. A backheel a tap forwards and he’s threatening straight away. He is placid in his play and acts as a foil or a reflection of Gibbs Whites tenacity. Raul is tenacious for sure but with a laid back surety to his play.

Vinagre comes on in place of Jonny. Our Jonny has to exit the pitch at the nearest touchline and he’s not happy at being taken off. He’s a battler Otto is and he’s frustrated. But as one player is the Summer then one player has to be the Spring and Ruben V probably has the ink still wet on his fingers from that sexy new five year contract he’s been given. Now he’s going to tread a different path to Jonny who has pulverised that side of the pitch into a dribbly sweaty mess. Ruben too is a young artist. He waits until the game has become a staccato series of dysfunctional events, stoppages, a few errant balls. This is the time when Ruben V shines bright. Ruben moves forward now and probes, galvanises and tantalises with the odd foot juggle and jink. He negates players by moving constantly into positive space. Forget the stepovers and the tap and runs. Before you know it he is in the box, their goalie parries, fumbles, rebound, Ruben taps it off the goalie and it’s two goals to nil.

The few clouds in the sky after the final whistle have ragged edges where the sun has nibbled away at them. I feel nibbled too. You can’t have conclusions about the game yet. It was always going to be a little tough, a little strange. Fair play though and good luck to folk making the trip to Belfast this week. I’m sure you will all have a great time. But those trainers are staying in the box until the real shit starts.




Tickets Please



It looks like ticket prices are rising. We are getting linked heavily with beautiful players, there are plans ahead for the club that boggle the mind to be honest. It’s a confusing time. Are we being forgotten? Are ‘us’ the great unwashed being pushed gently to one side in favour of those with free cash and a desire to support a succesful team? Of course we are. It’s the nature of the beast. Much has been written about other clubs losing the heart of the club. Much better writing than I could hope to replicate, and I’m sure you don’t want to sit and plough through all that shit again.

But it’s only really a symptom of what Wolves and other teams have been striving towards for a long time, maybe 30+ years. Jack Haywood had some inkling about the way things were going but bad advice and a rigid dysfunctional management ethos at Molineux put paid to that. Jez Moxey and Morgan tried to instigate the same but those commisions had to be paid, the bonuses were all important. Lip service was paid to dynamism and growth but the only growth was in Moxeys bank account I suppose. Now the Fosun machine have the reins. Garglypimple has gone, he was a Moxey man, too redolent in the Morganisms of that period. Of course he had to go eventually, I would love the truth to come out over what happened and I daresay it will at some point but in the Fosun ‘Year Zero’ there is either re-education or death. Garglypimple didn’t work hard enough in the fields and he went to sleep on jets, flying across oceans on Wolves business, listening to the tap tap tap of Chinese never resting fingers on smartphones as they grew their influence 24-7. Nah Laurie probably had too much of the Moxeyite in him. The revolution didn’t want him that close.

I wrote a 250 page book about Fosun last year which I decided not to publish. The feeling was that well…we were beating these teams, things were happy and jolly. Why should I publish an expose when things are happy? It’s still on my hard drive rotting. I don’t think I will ever publish it. Why? Well…it’s nothing to do with me any more. I know Fosun are a growing company. I know who their main people are. I know they spend 20 hours a day in conference calls. These people are in almost continual touch with the HQ and Chinese Government entities. The business algorithms they use are high powered things, sculpted in the best Business Schools and Universities in China. They are tested continually against current trends in Business by ultra fast computers locked away in climate controlled industrial units in the Chinese countryside. It’s all data, all computed. Fosun are the Borg in many ways and that strategy has been succesful for them and others.

Fosun will continue to utilise all the public relations acumen they can buy. The messages will be layered in subliminal meaning we can’t quite understand. We will only really understand the sharp ends of policy. The expensive shirts, the merch, the ticket prices, the cost of refreshments. We are part of the algorithms now and there is no escape. The cost of a beer in the Southbank will be computed and analysed until they have a price which you can just about handle. Your demographics are part of a computer code now. But hey…you have great football to watch, right?

But that’s part of life now in the digital age. Your seat will be taken by a dude who earns 80k a year and can afford all the trappings which he thinks will make him a Wolves fan. He will want the success of the club to rub off on him and his two kids. He can wax lyrics of banterness at his workmates. Talk about football he barely has a clue about. Yeah man things will change massively and are changing fast. I intimated in my two books about Wolves that we should embrace the change and we can until the algorithms decide that we aren’t really useful to the club any more and we watch our team on pub TVs wearing shirts from three years ago.

I had an emotional outburst about Fingles again. I ranted and shouted that him standing in front of the subway with a broken nose and all his shirt buttons on the floor was a bigger part of what Wolves was about than what it is now. Most people like me aren’t succesful. We struggle from day to day trying to survive. Me by writing and others any way they can. We can’t comment on things we have no concept of. What do I know about Fosun really, or success? Nothing.

I do understand however that any great abstract entity like Fosun must have a creative and dynamic part of it’s algorithms. Basically it needs us. We are the ones that understand that taking the piss is integral to atmosphere. The songs, the stickers, the laughter. We are the ones that create identity. No matter how many flags you put on seats and how many fireworks are blasted into the John Ireland stand…if you ain’t got us it’s simply another Rod Stewart concert with people aimlessly walking around in a daze of consumerist madness.

There will come a point when we are all priced out of Molineux. It’s coming for sure. There will be a hardcore of course that have disposable incomes so they can jet off all over the world watching us play. We may even catch the odd match if someone we know can’t attend. It might have been a while since we went and we may be a little shocked to look at the faces around us and not recognise anyone.

But what can we do? Enjoy it while it lasts of course. Have a couple of seasons of mad success and jollity as we carve a path through the European teams and solidify our position as a bonafide English great again. Enjoy it while it lasts. But there will come a time when simple economics dictates that the season ticket is not justifiable any more. You will see your friends drop out during the next few years maybe. We will find other things to do I suppose…moan probably.

You see there’s two ways to go about being priced out of the game. You can accept it and move on or adapt. Here’s an analogy. In the early days of any sport there is some point where it has no money in it. In mine you could get the kit you need to partake in the pastime but you will never be succesful in a financial sense doing it. There are no sponsors, no big comps, nothing. I remember one comp I went to where I got second place and the prize was a can of energy drink (which I’ve still got). But the scene was always dynamic, it always felt like something new was going to happen every day. Some madness from some lunatic that would turn everything you knew about the thing you loved to do on it’s head. It was that insanity and creativity that grew the whole sport or pastime you were involved in. Soon the competitions were getting big sponsor packages, TV bollocks was happening, media shizz and all the crazy stuff that money brings to the sport. But we got priced out. Our insanity wasn’t wanted any more. Now the sport is for athletes and kids rich enough to fly all over the world and do their thing in other countries.

But we survived. We just moved into a slightly different shape. We adapted because we were creative. It’s the same with the Wolves team, we win games because we can adapt quickly, we are creative with skilful players who can see other aspects of the game other teams can’t.

Wolves fans should adapt too. I want to scream against the monolithic and abstract entity that Fosun is. They are not friendly. Uncly Jeff and Gang Wonglebong are not your friends, they just operate a business involved in that business you support. That business being Wolves. Our financial position as a club and our investment strength is waved around like a badge of honour sometimes and I think it’s funny some days and on others very sad. What voice have we got against the Fosuns of the world. Not a lot mate. But we have got one weapon in our armoury. We can change too. We can be a little bit more focussed as Fosun are, that focus should be on making money, starting a business, getting together with your mates and coming up with ideas to get that fucking season ticket money and the Euro money and we will probably end up in China at some point. How fucking brilliant is that? Instead of moaning about how we are being priced out of the game why don’t we start making our own money.

I will say this, most of the people I know with loads of money are either very thick or very clever. They have one skill and that’s either turning up every day at work for 25 years and doing your shit with minor complaints, and through the years they roll up the promotion ladder through sheer fucking impetus. That’s why you spend twenty minutes with a Manager on 70k a year and you are surprised he can tie his own fucking shoelaces, you look down at his feet and he has slip ons. But you have the other dudes who were just a bit clever, a bit creative and they decided to make their own money, their own way. But the clever lads are the ones I grew up with who have seen the hardest of times growing up. The thick ones I went to University with.

Let’s stop moaning about costs and start thinking about profits and how you are going to make money to pay for these trips abroad with Wolves. Let’s start working hard and real like those cunts who run Fosun. Let’s be like them bastards and start to gather some kind of a winning mentality instead of starting blogs and moaning that you can’t afford to go. It’s time for Wolverhampton to stop staring at it’s fucking feet and start to look up again, proud, successful and beautiful. Grab opportunities, change mentalities be like Gong Wanglebang and Uncle Jeff instead of being content to wallow in the same memetic ruts in the journey we are on.

Yes, Fingles was important holding is fists up to 3000 Manchester United fans by the subway in 1976. How dare these bastards come around our end etc etc. But Fingles used to sell T-Shirts and Jeans, sweatshirts and all manner of stuff on the Coaches. He made his money. We should do a Fingles, remember who we are and be proud but let’s make money so we can stay on the crazy train.

Helder Costa and the Death of Nine Volt Bob


Bad news from down the cut. Meeting up with a few retrobates last week in the glowing embers of a late afternoon I found out Nine Volt Bob was dead. Not many people knew about Nine Volt. I think I only wrote about him to some of you lot. He got his name through the simple childs trick of daring each other to lick a nine volt battery. It’s tingly and acidy and weird. Bob went one further and he ate the whole thing to (I daresay) much chuckling. A trip to theRoyal Hospital followed where they cut it out of him and sent him home to recover. He had a scar from his groin to his sternum. We called him Bobby Pencil case for years…

There is a Wolves link of course. Swansea away in the eighties. That madness of away days back in the past is nothing like away days now. They were often chaoric and law breaking occasions. We had steamed into a service station and liberally helped ourselves to stuff while the staff ran around like lunatics. Back on the Coach we laughed and tucked into the odd Kit Kat or Mars bar. Not Bob, he had nicked a box of Bounty bars and was cheerfully trying to eat the lot. During the summer of Punk, 1977 Wolves put on a disco in the old Sports hall adjacent to the ground. It was brilliant…Bob wanted to go full Johnny Rotten and took the bog chain from his outside toilet and tied one end to the belt loop on his flares and left the handle dangling around his crotch. Further fun was made by his Uncle H steaming into the hall after Bob and the bog chain so he could flush the toilet after his early evening bowel evacuation. Unchle H wasn’t happy, chasing Bob around the dancefloor after his bog chain. Apparently Bob had a ”art attack’ and for a moment I thought of pencils and pastels, watercolours. But he had played a darts match, finished his pint, said goodbye, went to walk out and dropped dead. Fair play Nine Volt Bob, at least you finished your pint.

Helder Costa has had a lot of names since I started writing about him and Wolves. Helga, Hilda, Heldar, Helgar you name it, the full dysfunctional cornucopia of my dyslexic brain. But despite the weird nomenclature I have heaped upon his poor head I have always loved him. Of course Lamberto the Clown (may God curse his name) didn’t understand the intracacy and beauty of what Costa actually did for our team. Lambert didn’t understand Saiss or Cavaleiro either. But Lambert bought a pair of trainer shoes at some point and he wore them too, how can you expect a man to understand concepts like these three players wearing stupid footwear like that? Lambert was overheard in the maze of tunnels and corridors underneath the Billy Quiet saying, “They just ain’t good enough” when someone questioned his not picking them enough times. The fact that this comment was heard by other players and staff made me sick. When I heard that anecdote I could have cried for my Club especially after being galvanised and energised by watching Helder play his sun kissed shapes across our hallowed turf and thinking yes, this is a Wolves player, this is what I want to see. But it was a difficult thing for Lambert to understand and I think while he was watching Dortmunds training methods after he was booted out of the Villa job, well, I guess he was carrying water bottles and listening to that eternal unending monologue in his own mind…about how he could extrapolate this ‘experience’ to boardrooms of clubs desperate for some sort of figurehead Coach.

Helder gave our team ‘something else’ to a kind of football that didn’t have much of a clue about the wider more academic aspects of the footballing spectrum. I’m not going to plonk down a list of the players in that team at the time but you get my drift I’m sure. There was a lack of coherent idea, of a philosophy and a bloody end product in the final third. The only redeeming feature of dragging yourself to Molineux was Helder moving onto a ball and him jinking and dribbling past one-two-three players at a time then having a stab at goal. All of a sudden it was exciting and new, different, mad…we were amazed. Well I was at least. He would pluck a simple pass and move ball that began as a placid typical Dave ball and turn it into an exotic piece of football.

That’s how Helder moved. It was abstract at times, surreal even compared to the system we were playing at that time. He confused defences with a slight off key movement and it was a discordant note to the often predictable and dirge like Lambert approach. As Helders confidence and creativeness flourished in those strange days so did his confidence. He was sure in his own mind that his role as a ‘creative’ player among the Journeyman mentality of the majority of our squad would propel the team to some element of success. Well it did, if you see ‘survival’ as a success.

Helder didn’t become a poor player overnight. Nuno wanted progression and learning but Helder had a new problem, one which would throw him back to relearning everything he knew. That ankle injury. It was very nearly career ending. I’m not going to bore you wiyth the physiological aspects of it but the fucking thing needed rebuilding basically. I saw Helder on crutches after one game and he was still smiling, still our Costa but underneath that smile was pain, worry, the anger at not playing the game. But Helder was still there still fighting.

If you had suffered an injury like he did then it’s a bloody long way back. A nightmare journey in fact which alters and manipulates the way you have played your game for all those years. You have to relearn everything. Of course on his return that learning had to be done on the pitch, the mental learning as well as the physical. With the advent of new players and new tactical shapes Nuno didn’t really have the time to nurture Helder as much as he wished. We got promoted a year before time, now we had Premier League opponents and soon Helder would start to be benched, left out for certain games. Wolves advanced at a rapid rate, Helder was still getting there. But the games he did play he was targetted for sure. He was still dangerous and opposition defences didn’t like him. So the odd mistimed tackle, the studs down the bad ankle, the bullshit all served to heap more shit onto his head and yeah, I suppose he did have times when he must have though bollocks to it. But picked himself up to throw himself back into the fray.

Helder took all the crap. Often he was the camouflage for the new arrivals. Other teams didn’t really understand Ruben Neves, Moutinho etc,. But they knew Helder of course, they knew him very well indeed.

Playing Colin Wankers Cardiff one evening I watch Helder get basically assaullted by one of the Cardiff necks. Helder flies up in the air holding his bad ankle, he hits the advertising hoarding and for a moment he’s on all fours trying to get back up for the corner. Trying to gather the energy through the pain. He looks up at the Southbank and we look at him. There is the odd comment, the odd voice shrill and attention seeking. Costa is down and the jackals are circling. But those eyes of his that night. Pained, destitute and for a moment lost. I could have wept to be honest. One minute a Hero and the next a Villain. But give it a few seconds and he was back throwing shapes and confusing the hysterical madness of the Warnockians.

As Nuno impressed his Philosophy on the team Helder was always going to be playing catch up. Now it was all about total control. It was about skill and learning on an unprecendted scale. There was no room for error here. Everybody had a role to play and Helders became less and less as the side started to wrestle big games to exactly the place they wanted. There was no more room for Costa, no way he could catch up with the groove.

This is hard to write. I still feel that Helder is part of what makes me support our clubs new ethos and success. But that’s the way things are now. Players get shunyted from club to club as a skillset and as a commodity, for financial and tactical reasons. Players get increased wages, sign on bonuses, the Louis Vitton wasg bag, the Monclur coat to wear in hot weather, the slick cars…we moan, but some of us are also sad.
But if Leeds United are his new destination then those dirty bastards are getting a hell of a player. If you take a look at the algorithms and the zeitgeist surrounding Leeds at the moment then they are a team that will be promoted next season. The addition of Helder into their ranks tells me they mean business but more importantly that they have some clue about what football actually is and how to break out of that Championship shit pit to the money league and playing bigger games. Bielsa the Leeds Coach must have his own sort of twisted Philosophy the owners have decided to let run it’s course at that club. Helder going there tells me there is a plan of sorts. I don’t mind Leeds coming up to the Premier League. We need their colour and angst, their madness abhorrent though it is will be a welcome refreshing change from the litany of dullness we have experienced from opposition fans this year. 

Lizard Summer


In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence perceived by the person. When confronted with facts that contradict beliefs, ideals, and values, people will try to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort.

We tend to understand how those ‘ways’ tend to make themselves known don’t we? Fume and ball punching while the dissonant struggles to comprehend ‘We’ve got loads of money why ay we signed anybody?” and the whole circle of madness we experience in these dog days of no football goes around and around like a Merry Go Round full of fat Goths.

Of course we are linked with Player A or B and we rush to YouTube to find out what the crack is with them. They play beautiful football, they look great, they are young, hungry and we want them in our team. Then they sign for somebody else and the dissonance grows. We get it in the neck. People like Birmingham Mails Ryan Leister, people like me. You see we get a half whispered ‘fact’ off a source. Even a nod sometimes that we are in for a player. Me and Ryan want to share this shit with people, we want to massage your brains with a bit of information. Anything really to give us a handhold as we try to climb out of the hot abyss of nothingness which is the Closed Season. But my word. The grief when it all goes to shit or it’s only a half fact. I suppose in a way it’s our fault, me and Ryans. We should perhaps shut up and seek each other out to discuss secret things like how does he keep his teeth so lovely.

It’s brilliant this whole football madness. Even the grief is brilliant.

But what grief are Wolves having? Well none really. The Great Wolf Machine is still grinding through the gears facilitating the thoughts and philosophies of Fosun-Nuno into tangible and effective players who one day may play for us. Gone are the days when Wolves would unveil the perrenial hobbling Sagbo or the photo of Grant Holts tits in a tight Wolves top. Those days are away with the fairies.

Things have been quiet simply because players are still playinmg football all over the world. When they have finished booting the ball around for their countries then they will be pissing off on their holidays for five minutes with the Missus and kids. A bit of peace. Football is a massively fucked up and draining thing. I don’t know how they do it honestly. They need a rest. Then maybe of course they will sit down with their agent for a cup of tea and a chinwag about what the crack is with potential transfers. Fernando Von Tanneddude will be all Instagrammy and glowing. He’s just had a great season. He fancies a payday, a move, he wants to play in the Premier League, get some cash in for when his playing days are over. Wolves are mentioned. He doesn’t know who they are. Well mate, it’s a little City in the middle of England. It’;s a bit crap to be honest. The weather, there’s not a lot to do when trainings finished. Wightwick is OK they will give you a flat or an apartment there. Then you have to convince Lushlilly Tannedwench his Missus that it will be a good move for his career. Wolves are doing something. They have one of the best up and coming Coaches in Europe. They have ideas, Philosophies, a mad fan base, a History (even if he’s never heard of us). He can play with Jonny Otto, Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota, Raul Jimenez etc etc. But she’s quite happy picking the Red Snapper out of her teeth by the pool in the spacious opulance of Villa Tannedleg overlooking some gorgeous harbour where they saunter down when the evening has gone cool to see their beautiful friends, socialise, talk, laugh as the sun sets over the masts of the Yachts moored right in front of their favourite Cafe.

How the fuck do you convince her yet alone him? That’s why Wolves will have a target list of players that Nuno and his staff want. Like a Xmas list really. Becuase many of those players wont be coming. Wightwick and Tettenhall have charms…but not that many mate. I bet you any money that list will be twenty maybe more players long and each one will have been forensically looked at over the past probably 12 months. There will be files and DVDs, chats around tables about them. Then the Machine will start contacting people that surround these players. The ‘Lizard filter’ I call it. The advisors and the agents, the Dads who are quasi agents, the friends, the Lizardy money men. Then once all those hurdles are crossed you have to convince them…the players, eventually the wife or girlfriend. Then the whole work in progress depends on Lushlilly picking fish out of her teeth with an immaculate fingernail.

I’m glad they are doing it and not me. If Wolves get 4-5 players who register an intrest out of the 20 plus they have enquired about they will have been lucky. Then of course you have to negotiate and plan financial costs, how much mate, how to carry that cost into the business model Fosun have put into place. Madness…but Clive Cocknocker who has made 1,967 posts on Social media Wolves forums ain’t happy. He wants to know now, he wants his fucking players to flow in. For what reason I don’t know. It’s only known to him and it’s locked away in his bitter bald head. I’ve got names, I’ve got info. I’m a writer you know. People seek me out to tell me things. These people are highly connected at Wolves or not in some cases. Nobody can keep a secret, nobody. They want to tell someone or they will explode. So they tell me, then I forget most the time or tell someone I shouldn’t because I’m not good at keeping secrets either. I want to share jolly happy transfer news. It’s fantastic being linked with these players. I want to share that fantastic feeling with everybody. Well I did. Now of course when that whisper from a source starts I tell them to shut up. I don’t want to know. That way it comes as a big surprise to me when I see Paoloaoloa Slickbeardo walk out of Untouchables with a solar frog light and a packet of Rasta lighters.

It seems Costa and Cavaleiro are on their way. There will be a lot more trust me, Names we have grown to love and respect. Our players, our lads. They will be gone. Most of the contractual bollocks has been pencilled in already. The names will shock us and upset us. We will look to Wolves to replace the spaces in the team with other exotic players…who will not be there yet. There will be a vacuum of sorts as these players leave and nobody appears to be replacing them. This will be hilarious on Social media and I am looking forward to more dissonance and fume because now…I live for that shit. I have become much more stoical since Nuno came here. I have watched him and have in some ways adopted his philosophy as my own.

The players that are going…well I have a lot more to say about them but now is not the right time to talk about that as it’s going to be a very emotional bit of writing especially where it concerns Helder Costa. That bit of writing will be late at night when everybody is asleep and I am sitting with a glass of whisky or something.

But man, don’t these days tend to drag a little? I was starting to hate football as we drew the season to a close. I had enough of it and then when it’s taken away, then we miss it. We miss it really badly. Saturdays are spent walking with the rest of the walking dead around Bentley Bridge or the local garden center which now has a fucking cafe or an eatery of sorts. The pub is weird, you sit down and there is nothing to talk about with your mates. Nothing to argue about. It’s hot (or wet) and you feel a bit violent cutting the hedge or slapping Fencelife over the faded creosoted monstrosity of your garden fence. Even down the canal it has been weird. All the crackheads are sad, the radios are silent. We try to talk about womens football but it’s really shit isn’t it. Women footballers want to get paid the same as men. Well good luck with that. I’m a writer and I would love to be paid as much as that Game of Thrones bloke or Stephen King but it’s not happening. I’m not good enough. My writing can have all the exposure it can hold and it still wont be palatable…like womens football really.

What secrets do I have? Well…a few. I will keep them to myself for a while I think, let the Summer dust settle.

Transfer Bollocks and Noise


Talking with people, communicating and filling in huge gaps in my knowledge I have been out and about this week. The gap in my knowledge is football transfer business. I am mostly ignorant about what goes on. But I know it’s not like swanning into Tesco and picking up a jug of pseudo milk or a jazzy chocolate bar…and a pack of blue….no, green Rizla.

I was told today that Barcelona have 680 PAID scouts looking at kids for their under 21 squads. That’s the under 21’s mate. I double checked and rang my footballing skating mate in Spain to double check the amount…he rang back and laughed. It’s more like 1,600 he said. What about Real Madrid? They have a worldwide scouting network of over 3000 scouts in every continent in the world. These people are just taking in matches everywhere looking for the next Messi or Ronaldo, Suarez or whoever. This is what we are competing with now. This is the landscape we are operating in. Complicate that with Agents. I know we have some sort of thing about Uncle Jorge but he is the least of out contacts on the big stage. Wolves have easily 30+ Agents to deal with who are all shuffling their rostas around big clubs like nobodies business. I tip my hat to the staff at Molineux who have to deal with the complexities of dealing with these numbers. No matter how powerful the whole FOSUN machine is and how slick the operations at Molineux are now it must be fucking mind boggling dealing with it all.

As our team have been plying their trade over the last two seasons we have grown massively. Footballing wise anyway. We are now busting beautiful shapes and dismantling teams that have been in the Premier League for a long time. So we have quality in our side. Our small squad enables a continuity and engenders a close minded team, close personally and well as professionally. We have great players and I don’t want to wax too much about that because most of you know that. So what’s the problem?

Well, buying a player isn’t like buying a bottle of milk. I know that’s a pretty simplistic analogy but it is a correct one. Let’s have a look at Joao Moutinho for instance. Last season it was known he fancied a move, he wanted a new challenge, he’s an athlete but he still has the capacity to learn new things and he doesn’t have to ‘learn’ in order to progress his career because by last Summer his career could stand by itself as a major achievement. No, he wanted to learn more because that is the type of player he is. One that wants to continue to grow and develop even in the twilight of his playing career. So, that’s good. Let’s ring him up and ask him if he wants to come to Wolves.

Laurie Dalyrimple made 40+ phone calls to ascertain whether Moutinho fancied it. That was at maybe 30 minutes per call to agents, representatives, and all the associated shit that follows a Pro Footballer through his career. So that is 1200 minutes on the phone before he even got to talk to Moutinho. I don’t know what the going rate is for a dude in Lauries position but I bet it wasn’t cheap. So eventually Moutinho answers the phone. He is probably lounging by the pool in his megavilla feeling the sun tickle his flesh. It is warm and beautiful, his wife and kids are making family noises in the villa, they are happy and beautiful too. He’s in Red Snapper and Saffron mood. Another glass of that fine Vino? Fuck yeah? Mooty somebodies on the phone for you! Somebody from Wulferhempateng or something…Who’s this dude on the phone and who the fuck are Wolverhampton Wanderers?

(Of course the day after I posted this Laurie Garglypimple got put on Gardening leave…which means he was taken out the back of Compton and shot in the back of the neck by black clad Fosun Ninjas…fucking typical)

There’s a thing…we have a museum and a history, we are dripping in it. Everybody (nearly) in Wolves knows Billy Wright, Dec Dougan, Phil Parkes, Steve Bull, all the names mate. But nobody else does. None of the players we have been touted as being connected with us have a fucking clue who Wolves are, they might have a half idea of course if they are a student of the history of English football, but for the most part they wont have a clue. We have been dangling on the arse end of relegations and a crisis every month for years. We aren’t really anybody….yet, no matter how many shirts we sell. Nobody cares about Wolves at the moment, that will change, but at this moment in time nobody gives a fuck about us.

Now we are in a very difficult position. The pool we are fishing in for players has got smaller and smaller and the fish have got a lot bigger. And fewer. The quality we need to replace members of our squad has grown exponentially. In the Championship you can afford to bring in snotters and Journeymen all you want (see Cardiff) but now we have achieved the momentous glory of a high position in the Premier league the quality needed in high. So the actual targets that can bring something to this team are small in number and to all intents and purposes already tied into big lucrative contracts at other more glamorous clubs. The glory of the Spanish League? Italian? German? Maybe they play in South America…maybe they are in with a chance of winning things in the Champions League.

So…you have to fight to get to talk to a Players Agent after a shit load of calling around, perhaps you talk to the club first I don’t know. The club has to be willing to sell, and at a good price for the club. Don’t forget that maybe they don’t want to sell a player and get arsey about you coming in mob handed? Then there are the myriad of Sharks in the pond that want their pound of flesh too, so everybody is jostling for position and power because there is money to be made, good money. Through all this noise we get to the player. Maybe Laurie rings them up. Maybe he’s very bloody good at this negotiation stuff and can placate and absorb the bullshit. Now you have to convince the player. Come to Wolves it’s great and the slick PR Laurie comes out to sell the idea of Wolves to a young man that has a hard time tying his shoelaces and for fucks sake where is Wolves in England? He googled it, no such place…oh Wolverhampton. Let’s have a look where my family will live…..fucking hell. He puts the phone down. Get Nuno to ring him. Fuck mate it’s not that bad he says, and all the Nuno magic gets poured out into this kids head while his Agent is making cut-throat mimes just off camera.

Maybe the kid loves what Nuno has to say, listened to what Laurie has to say too. Maybe he sees a move as the best thing for him. The Premier League, playing Europa League footy…living in Tettenhall. It looks ok…kind of. Then there is the fee to negotiate and all the Sharks have to have their piece of flesh before they swim off into a frenzy.

Getting the players we currently have must have been a monumental struggle to be honest. I bet there were some fervent late night calls going on from the team at Molineux. I bet you any money while we are sunning ourselves trying to hide that big promotion hard on that Nuno and company haven’t had a real holiday since they came here. I tip my hat to them, it’s what you are paid to do lads, suck them millions up. Transfers are fucking difficult things to suss out and I bet the names we have been linked to have been contacted and spoken with and I bet there is some massive PR grooves going on to convince them to come here. That’s why Social Media fume for me is funny. I laugh at most of it especially when it comes from people I talk to at matches who can’t handle three pints or stop their pie from dripping down their spangly new shirts. Leave it the fuck to the club eh? It’s nothing to do with us, we are idiots, we find it hard enough to dress ourselves and communicate properly with other human beings on the internet, What the fuck do we know?

I will stand by my earlier predictions made at the end of last season. There will be a lot of players going in the next few weeks. A lot. They are being shifted on as I speak and they all have clubs interested. We will see new players from the under 23’s being bloodied. I feel good and bad for them. On the one hand they now have their chance to stake a claim in the squad and all the riches and craziness that the lifestyle contains. Bad, because there is no room for love here any more. No more comfy feet under the table bollocks that this club has suffered with for years. It’s now perform or piss off somewhere else. We still have two or three marquee signings currently going through the old stress tests to see if some middle ground can be reached. Endless negotiations, chats, phone calls and emails, as well as sorting finance schedules, payments, kick backs and crinkly hand shakes that rustle in happy jolly ways. Best thing to do is to leave it to the experts, let them sort the shit out.

Machine Wolves


In other news I have been thinking much about the new stadium lately in that void of nothingness that is the close season. I am not allowed to say anything about it I’m afraid because I have been sworn to secrecy. But I will say this FUCKING HELL! I bet you lot can extrapolate a lot from that simple few words. The Great Wolf Machine is not silent in this abyss of non football and having to talk about tactics.

The Machine is rumbling and grinding along. It is ever rumbling in the depths of the Billy Quiet offices and at the lost island somewhere in the Pacific where Gwan Wanglechange sits at his plush control center pushing buttons and ordering Fosun cannon fodder to do his bidding. I have to say I wrote about Herrera last time I published something. Total brain fart by me as I had been reading about him a few minutes before I sat down and started to write. But I can say this. James Rodriguez and Rondon are still the names I keep hearing and I have had a few names given to me that had me trying to hide my hard nipples to be honest. What’s the zeitgeist with signings? Young and hungry PLUS old and experienced. It doesn’t matter who they play for and how much they are worth but if they can play beautiful football, are fit, and have the ability to soak up the Nunoism they will be coming.

All that needs to be done is to convince them to play for us. That’s the whole crux of the matter. Convincing them. Here again we have the Nuno who will do the chat and the back slapping as he shows them around Tettenhall pool. Champions League football is the target for us this season and there are a few ways we can get it. Winning shit. We need a Trophy my friends, a way into the hallowed halls of Champions League footy and the riches that await us there. I suspect that we will again force our way through the League fixtures with an eye to winning every game again as we did last season. Now that’s a foundation in the way we play. To try to win, to inflict our football on other teams. But I suspect the main focus in these early days of the whole Nuno-Wolves-Fosun trinity is Cup games and most importantly the Europa League games. I think we will see a lot of our players moving away from Wolves in the next few weeks and these moves are not knee jerk reactions to players coming in.

A lot of these players will be names that will shock and annoy us, because at the end of the day we are just doughnuts, we don’t realise what’s going on in top level football management. Yes, players will leave and we will have major meltdowns on Social media, I am quite looking forwards to it as I have returned to the asylum they call Twitter.

I have read much about how our up and coming players in the under 23 squad will be utilised in the Europa cup games to give out first team regulars a break. From a personal stand point I can’t see that. Instead I can see our younger players being bloodied massively in important league games leaving our established players to play in the Europa League. I think Nunos attention will be on the European games rather than busting a froth trying to smash into the top six. We wont be going for the top six yet I don’t think. It’s a club that demands great players and these players will be attracted by Champions League football which at the moment we cannot offer them. But win the Europa Cup and you get Champions League football at Molineux in the 2020-21season. You get players taking notice and they will want to come for sure. Who wouldn’t want to play in an exciting young team led by one of Europes best up and coming Coaches? Add to the mix the FUCKING HELL! Stadium and everything is looking bloody good. Strategies and madness for sure

Well there is some fume around, some neck biting madness. That’s whats bloody great about Social media, the angst is real and blunt. The new Wolves shirt is shit apparently. So the story goes that it’s the wrong colour, the neck is yellow, the badges are tacky, the diatribes are real and funky. There is paragraphs being written as I speak about it’s crapness.

I like fume to be honest. I don’t mind anger when it’s about something as pointless as something somebody will be wearing when they drag themselves up to Molineux for some extremely sexual football. I don’t want to make this about me, but I don’t wear the bloody things any way. It’s that they are itchy. All of them. They make my skin crawl. I think it’s the plasticky nastiness that does something to my skin. They make me sweat too. They make a lot of people sweat and you will find that out as some monster squeezes past you in the Southbank to get to their seat. You will get a whiff of their armpits. They have been in the Royal London or the Hogs for three hours queueing up for a pint of IPA grot. It’s humid and hot. You sweat.

I mean the shirt isn’t really for us Wolverhamptonites anyway. When you are trudging around the ends then it’s obvious you are from Wolvo. You have that dodgy squint from peering around corners in case there are some doughnuts there waiting to relieve you of your belongings. No, the shirt is for all the shiney people FOSUN want to attract into our club shop when they come down here for a match and have a few hundred quid to bust out on cack from the shop. That’s cool man. I mean these dudes will be young Chinese lads and lasses. Maybe some Europeans, South Americans. People who have more money than us anyway. They will be wangling around the Molineux having endless selfies, going live on Instagram or YouTube, talking about the club, their holiday, all the bullshit.

We of course will be sweating cobs, stinking the place up and dare I say it being ‘Tolerated’ as we are not shiney, we haven’t got money to spend in the club shop, well most of us. So we moan instead. It’s the way we do shit. I mean you would think after all is said and posted about the new shirt that the club wouldn’t have sold many but lo and behold…they’ve sold loads, broke records. But why would you buy them if they were shit? I don’t actually know to be honest. I’ve got two shirts…the Doritos one and the Town crest shirt. I want my stuff to last. I don’t want my shoes thrown away until the bottom falls out of them. I like things to last regardless of how I look in them.

I sat this morning watching the shenanigans in the zipper lane at the back of Wednesfield. You get all the negative aspects of humanity right there. There’s probably a PhD to be written by somebody who sits there for a few hours and watches the fume and madness unfold as people try to get one or two spaces in front of each other. I’ve seen fist fights there, I’ve seen a woman slumped in tears in the middle of the road as people just drove past. Can I extrapolate this zipper lane insanity with buying the new shirt? People want it for different reasons. The fact that people get into the habit of buying them is real for sure. They get one every time a new series comes out. They don’t talk about the aspects of the design or who it’s got on the front. They go to the match in their shirts, always have done and always will.These are the blokes and women in the left hand lane of the zipper. They go in that lane as it’s no hassle and they don’t mind anyone steaming up the middle lane at 80mph to get two cars in front. In fact they might leave a gap so they can. These are the civilised people. Yes the shirt is expensive and it may only get worn for matches or when you are holiday. But they get one every year, habits, chilled out happiness.

Then of course there are the people who yes, they are buying one, but they don’t fucking like it. It has this or that they don’t like that, or this and that, as well as that as well. They are getting a shirt yes, they wish it cost £500 so only they could afford it and they can show other fans that they are bigger more fanatical fans than you. Virtue shirt wearers really. The whole family will be kitted out. These families are dragged from car parks to football matches wearing nigh on half a grands worth of club shop tat. They all look miserable too. These are the one car in front people. They drive Audis and BMWs which kind of describes who they are to everybody else and their personality which is devoid of anything but their purchases is actually defined by how much tat they can heap on their kids backs.

There are other subsets. I know people who will do a sharp intake of breath as they part with their dollars but they will wear the shirt because they are proud to and they love our football team and our City. They see buying a shirt as a statement to every other football fan. It can be a gateway to a great conversation or a load of abuse traded back and forth across some shit football bar in Tenerife. Whatever ay it? Buy it if you want, don’t buy it, who cares, the money will roll right in regardless.

I had a bit of a wax about Diego Costa joining the club. It was just a rumour but I let myself get tangled in it a little and let my thoughts leak out onto social media. I would love Costa to come here to be honest. I think he is just what the Wolves need. You see this Brighton and Huddersfield problem…not really getting results against teams that play neckball…maybe Costa would be the answer. I don’t know if he is coming or even interested in coming. I’ve heard nothing since I told everybody that sends me transfer tips to leave me alone. But him I could feel happy about. Jimmy regardless of his heroics in the Gold Cup is an artist. He is just the kind of player we need to applicate the finer footballing ideas against top teams we play. Of course he is an artist and requires a good canvas to work on as well as able assistants. There is nothing wrong with this Ferrari of a player. He is Super Jimmy to me, a total epiphany on the way I look at how we play football. He is sublime. Add Jota too and we have one of the most beautiful front players I have ever seen in a Wolves shirt. But Brighton, Huddersfield etc aggravated them. Ferraris are sexual cars on the twisting alpine roads of Switzerland or the Tuscany countryside. But how good are they lugging a load of wood over a Welsh forest track? I knew the Rondon interest was the typical 4×4 player we needed to lug that wood over the mud. I see Costa as having exactly the same attributes. He is not afraid to get stuck in and have a go. His insanity of course is his tenacity to win the ball and get into that final third for a chance or a half chance. I talked much about this when Nuno forst came to the club. I knew that all the great quiffs in the world wouldn’t make much of a dent in the mega stoical defences of many of the teams we played. At the time I privately said Balotelli would be someone we should look at. There is an element of Balotelli in Costa and visa versa. That madness to tangle and fight for the ball. With a rich vein of footballing skill too, maybe a pinch of the football Philosopher Nuno requires too.

Who knows eh? I would like him, I think he’s the horrible player we need within a squad that is far too nice at times. Sometimes you need edgy, sometimes you need lunacy when faced with ten men defending their goal. The next few weeks are going to be insane I know that. We are on the downhill slope of the close season. Football will be happening soon and the background noise of new shirt fume and player transfers will melt into the general roar of chaos as the season kicks off. By December the posts about the arms falling off the new shirts will be just moaning and groaning as we start part three of the Nunolution. Are you ready?

The Coady-England Paradigm

How long have we not had football? Wolves football? Instead we have to placate our urges and our addiction by watching Ruben Neves flow one of those slinky midfield cancelling beautiful works of art to Chris Ronaldo for him to slide a goal in during the Portugal game. I watch the Gifs not the whole thing. I still have a problem supporting or watching other teams play. It’s not Wolves mate, I don’t care, I’m sorry.

But Conor Coady eh? Much fume and despondent typing about him not being in the England side. I myself don’t care that he isn’t there yet. I don’t want his footballing brain addled by the shitstorm that surrounds the national team. I don’t want him to see those egos and the propoganda that swirls around the England team like a malodious fart.

Coady himself will deal with it impeccably of course because he has the intellectual nous to ameliliorate the snidey bollocks that tends to flutter around the England dressing room. But what is the real reason he’s not being picked. We could lambast Southgate to the ends of the earth and back, all day mate. He’s an enemy this Southgate. Villa man. A bit bereft of imagination too. But Southgate isn’t the ‘eye in the pyramid’ within the England set up, and as much as we would like to think prejudice and localism clouds the judgement of the England tactical team it’s probably not the over riding factor.

Wolves play a three-five-two system most of the time. We play three center backs and two wing backs in Doherty and Jonny Otto. Bennet, Coady and Boly are a compact and well rehearsed trio. The BBC of Wolves if you like. Putting Coady at the center of this trio was a master stroke by Nuno. Coady is quick to see danger, quick to react too. He moves the ball out of danger very fast and accurately. If Coady is busy marshalling some opposition player out of danger then Boly and to a lesser extent Benno are quite happy to stroke the ball forward and bring on an attack.

Pep played this formation at Barca and had some success. We see an attack brews from the foot of Coady and he passes it into our three man midfield which has now become a five man midfield with Doherty and Jonny pressing forwards. Moutinho lines up at the head of a triangle in midfield, He is the ‘artist’ the one with the vision and probably the most important fulcrum of the move forward. Donk of course is the hard biscuity layer of this midfield Cheesecake. He’s there to regain loose second balls and to aggravate the opposition midfield. You can see watching the runs and work he performed last season how he sets about moving into space dragging players around. Tackling is a dirty word now but Donk will always hassle a players line of sight or upset a rythym here and there. In attack he moves to support Moutinho, who (if) under pressure will lay the ball off to Donk then move into space watching for the arrival of Doherty or Jonny into the party. Ruben of course waits and supports. He is the lubrication between our BBC trio and the sharp bit of the triangle where Moutinho sits. Ruben Neves is forensic in his distribution and the secondary mover behind Moutinho. The second string to the Neves bow is the ability to cancel out the midfield altogether when required to position an entry into the final third by a wingback or a Jimenez-Jota movement wide. Neves will move back into his own half to provide defensive solidarity as Jonny and Matt sling their way forwards.

Its a tactic, a philosophy you know, and one that requires intense drilling on the training pitch to get right. It also requires an element of intellectual/athletic ability which Nuno has instilled within the club during his tenure. We have all seen it, watched it and loved it. But it’s not a rare tactic. It can fuck up in big shapes if someone nods off at the wrong moment. We saw that at Wembley and a few other games. I wont name our players who did nod off but it’s fair to say that Watford knew he had gone bye bye and inflicted an intense pressure on our player who lost his head completely….but it wasn’t Coady.

The Coady position within the team is pure Italian beauty. The former midfielder, good in the air, mobile, ready to attack and move at a moments notice. The ability to know where his other centerbacks are in the scheme of things. At the moment of course Coady is in the process of learning and waiting…not for an England call up but for Wolves to finish the transformation of what we are to what we will be. Conor Coady wasn’t shoe horned into a back line with little thought to what he might do, he was cherry picked for the role by Nuno and it’s a project that is going to ripen within the next few years. You will soon see Coady leaving that back line and pushing forwards into midfield a lot more. A tactic that relies on large slices of possession and high tempo rapid attacks.

I suspect at the moment Ruben Neves playing deep is gently nurturing Wolves into the mindset and tactical skills needed to get the best out of the whole formation. It’s a learning curve for sure and Ruben is playing a massive part in that. Coady is learning very fast indeed and his eyes will be on what Ruben does when he collects the ball deep and seeks to channel it into a final third chance. This season the team have learned a great deal. We have taken scalps, we have been on the arse end of the ‘false nine’ problem too when an opposition doughnut leaps into the fray from deep and nobody quite knows how to pick them up or even who should. It’s learning and it’s experience.

How does Coady fit into an England team that plays a flat back four with fullbacks? England play a largely ‘stoical’ defense. We have been renowned for it over the ages. Four players at the back. Two center backs that have big thick heads and necks. Good in the air to negate crosses and looped balls into the box. Good leg to boot the fucking ball out when it does come into the box. But crap at getting the ball out. Maguire and Stones are good stoical names, they shout out ‘neck’ and ‘boot the fucking thing away’ and its the zeitgeist that permeates the whiteboards in tactical meetings. You can tell.

So how the fuck can you smash in a player like Conor Coady into a defensive set up like that? I guess Southgate would love to play a rapid attacking tactical game but its simply a fact that he doesn’t have the players to put either side of Coady if he does play a back three. Southgate also doesn’t have a midfield that can adapt their possession into chances, a midfield that can think a little on their feet unlike the bread and butter bollocks the England team normally play. So I can’t be too hard on Southgate. You can’t use the Ferrari to take some rubbish down the dump, which is what would happen if Coady got called up. Here’s a thing to throw out there…maybe Nuno has ruined Coadys chances of an England call up by giving Coady an intellectual and academic basis to become a great player instead of letting him rot in an unimaginative back four system. Who knows? I do know if Southgate identifies two England players with enough footballing academic skill as well as athletic skillset then England might just make it to a final and actually win it. I think when Coady does get a call up then he will slot perfectly into a defensive line that will have been cherry picked just for him.