Notes From The Frontline: Raul and Jota

There is a breeze and I turn to say, Look at the beautiful day, but hey, There’s no one there but a whisper of grey, In the old gold magic of the day. (Verse of one of my songs)

Nuno waved at the Ford Transit Pick up truck as it weaved down the leafy lanes of Nunos ends. In Nunos hand was a couple of crisp twenty pound notes the raving Gypsy had pressed into his palm before leading Little Dave to the awaiting vehicle puffing gusts of oily black smoke from it’s exhaust. The money meant nothing of course. What was money. Nuno had enough now, enough cash to build his life when this insanity of football management was over. Wolves were a sublime and chilled out experience…after Valencia of course. War would be a simpler way of explaining his time in Spain. He shuddered a little. Summer was sighing it’s last even if it was warm, the leaves on the trees at Compton were turning brown now. It was a sign of an end of course. Jota had gone, it was signed and sorted to everybody’s satisfaction. There had to be a change here too. Little Dave had been a stalwart of the team when Nuno joined. His heart and passion unreachable, his football not great but good, not inspiring but familiar, not resolute but dependable. The idea to sell Little Dave had come from Mendes. Little Dave had ripped off the winged Angel off the front of Jorges Rolls Royce and had instead nailed a dead pigeon on glossy freshly waxed bonnet with a six inch nail. Nuno had rewatched the CCTV of the driveway. Little Dave never smiled all the while his hammering and errant blows smashed dents in the car. Nuno was at his wits end. Jorge infuriated. When Jeff Shi heard about the incident he just ‘looked’ through his spectacles, his face impassive, his slight frame unmoving, not a sniff not a turned hair or a blink. Impassive. (To be continued)

So Raul speaks. Teams are after him, words have been spoken, heads have been turned I daresay. Perhaps his ‘Head has gone’ which is hilarious. I have waxed secretive lyrics to other Wolves fans whose opinions I trust and whose insight is second to none both from a footballing perspective and as Wolves fans since time immemorial. As I am an idiot I listen very closely to what they have to say. Now you know me well enough, if a player makes noises about leaving the club then I get all angsty and throwy. It’s a fans eye view of the whole show. But look at the facts. For one, I don’t know where we are going to get another 20+ goals a season striker from. I don’t player FiFa or whatever the kids play on their computer things these days, so I don’t get to see the little statistic cards dudes like to post on Social media…well I see them but I don’t really understand them. But yes, twenty plus goals AND the work rate of the man is ridiculous. How would you replace that? Well they say if you want to know about the future take a quick look at the past.

Raul was and is and economic entity as well as being an excellent player. Who knows what fingers are stuck in him as he moves from club to club for increasing fees. But that now is the nature of the beast we tangle with. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that our players are investments and money generators. Now more than ever. That’s why I kind of insinuate that perhaps you should give ‘some’ of your heart to a player but always keep a little bit of your heart to yourself. Now more than ever we struggle with the mental aggravations of having your favourite player flogged off to the enemy. Jota to the Scousegits. Part of me wants him to do well and to smash into the Liverpool team proud to drag with him some of that Wolfishness we like to relate our players with. But a part of me has already forgotten him and his goals. The mind tends to search out the negative aspects of Jota, the ineffectual runs, the plonked pass, the shot that had all the effect of a fart in a crowded lift. Yes….Raul. You are making transfer noises and this bothers me. But not as much as Steve Bulls rumoured move to Coventry City back in the day. That time was like a punch in the throat. This time my mind has evolved somewhat. We aren’t all Wolves am we? I feel like I’m hitching a ride on some great gold and black beast, hanging on for dear life trying to cram my Raul mask back on as the wind tries to tear it off. The Fosun beast is bucking and kicking underneath and I'[m shouting “It’s ok! It’s just evolution! We have to grow too!” until the beast throws us off and tramples us under it’s feet. Perhaps I’m being dramatic. But it’s those half whispers of information that get you. The rumours and the statements that are given out by the club which leave you scratching your head trying to ascertain what the fuck they really mean.

It’s bad enough being linked with players of calibre and intent. Madrid, Barcelona, Porto the list is long. Then we actually buy players from these places! So that means we sell too and that endless merry go round of players tinkles happily around and around with all the pretty lights and music, the funky videos, the great hair, beautiful teeth, Youtube videos full of excellent football insanity. We of course stand in the darkness watching, we too laugh and smile, some even try to get on, but it’s too fast, too bright. An errant foot placed wrongly and we are either dragged underneath or flung off into the netherworld of Social Media where everybody reads but nobody understands. The Merry Go Round is full of our players and others we don’t know yet. Every time the amusement ride revolves more money is made and the ride becomes grander, more attractive, louder and brighter. But we still aren’t allowed to get on.

How does this affect us? Well, look at the fans of other clubs. I’m not talking about the Johnny come lately knobheads with the big beards and the war trims. But the ones that experienced football when it was more akin to a campaign of war. Well, we are older and some of us are wise enough to shrug the experience of seeing players you have grown fond of being shunted off to other climes. Helder Costa bothered me a lot, but I understood it. Cavaleiro too gave me a few damp moments. Jota…well it’s Liverpool and I’m adult enough to recognise that if Nuno and the team has shifted him off to a rival then his stock wasn’t held in such high regard at Compton as it was in the stands at Molineux. He will probably be in the squad that faces us when we play them and he will probably score a couple too. That’s the way of the Wong for sure. But his overall effect may be quite subdued. There will be no Nuno magic there for him to luxuriate in, no hidden Nuno knowledge. Instead, Kloppism which is a bloody strange Philosophy at the best of times. Did I care much about his departure? Not really. What do I know about football?

Yes, that ride goes around and around and the faster it goes the more often those grinning faces of players atop those garish painted Unicorns and Horses will change faster and faster too and we will still be there in the darkness, watching, listening, cheering it on. My advice is this…how many times have we watched a stale and bereft of imaginative football Wolves side? You know the ones, I’m not going to name names. But how many times did we start a new season and watched the same old cock ups and comedies from our former players? How much did we whine about the need for new faces to galvanise the football we were playing which for a good many years was insipid bollock not worth £1.50 (with a Leisure card). A lot mate. Then of course the fairground ride that was Wolves was a bit dilapidated and crap, paint peeling off here and there, it creaked and the diesel engine pulling the knackered horses around and around belched sweet carcinogenic fumes into your open mouth. But we would still manage at times to get on the ride at least. Because nobody else wanted to. Lets watch this ride with Raul and company laughing and enjoying themselves because at least we have the opportunity to see it as it is, a fairground ride there to make money for the operator but the fuel that drives it is us. What would the ride be without people wanting to get on? Of course getting on the ride (for us) means talking about it. Raul goes to Juventus or Yanited and we can wax sweet lyrics about it. Bad ones, hate mails, vented aggravations all over Social Media. Running a hot iron over the back of your kids Wolves shirt with Raul on the back trying to peel his name off so you can have Fabio put on. In fact there’s a good idea, make player names peelable for when they fuck off somewhere else hahahahahaha. But yeah, lets also dive into some good memories of Raul. The Everton goal, his first one. His assists, which were lovely, the Mexican hats and blankets that the flakies bought to go to Wembley, the fucking masks. That’s how we enjoy the ride we can’t get on, by letting that ride drag some sort of emotion out of us whether it be negative or positive. It gets us talking, and in todays climate there isn’t enough talking and arguing for my liking. There’s a lyric to one of my songs at the top of this page and I put it there for a reason…it kind of reverberates with the rest of this post in that unconsciously I always write about Wolves in a song and don’t realise it until I’m sitting down singing the bloody thing. They are supposed to be plaintive delicate songs about Love and most of the time I scratch out any references to Wolves in them. But Love and Wolves go hand in hand I suppose, even at a subconscious level. But my advice is this, enjoy the bad and the good connected with the club because at least it’s an emotion, at least it’s some feeling even as these times wear us further and further down. Raul, if you move it will drive us mad, but to be honest we were mad anyway.