Southampton V Wolves 14/02/2021

I had some experiences in Southampton over the years you know. Some of them were great and some of them were absolute nightmares. Not all football related either. I mean footballing wise it all gets hyper weird especially when we play them. This game was important to us in many ways. On the one hand it was another Premier League fixture, mid season or thereabouts, not really a ’boutique’ match for all the IPA supping doughnuts. no real chance of a punch up for those that way inclined either. As, I suspect, nobody can really be bothered too much about Southampton or them-us. But it was important after the FA cup fixture up here that we ascertain who we are again and what we are about even if at the moment we are reeling after a few horrible results. It was a chance to make a statement I suppose.

Watching all the Southampton players warming up on JeffBezosTV is frightening. Who are these dudes? It was scary enough that the dogs were hiding under the table and crying because Karen Carney was on but watching these lot warm up was bloody scary. They looked like computer game warfare villains. Russian Rebels with a Nuclear bomb or something. One of them (Romeu) has a nose like a dog toy. Danny Ings looks like something has been eating him and left him half finished. Now I had to dip into Social Media a bit to work out what the current zeitgeist was about our squad. Who’s playing where and why. You can glean some great bits of info off SocMed and it’s worth following and reading some points of view that you wouldn’t normally think about. I did see my Conor Coady has been getting some stick. I laughed. Even some people I know quite well and respect their opinion are having a go at him. I laugh some more. Leave my Coads alone, he is great, love him, couldn’t imagine a Wolves side without him to be honest. You have to remember that he can only play as well as the team. Singling out players to have a poke at is bad form. It’s a Liverpool fan thing and we don’t want to be like that surely? Congratulations Conor 100 games in the Premier League. That is top shit mate, you are playing football with and against some of the best players in the UK and Europe and you can proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with those men. Thank you for playing for our club, we are very proud.

Same rubbish being chucked at Nuno. If you have any balls stand by your convictions and spray paint a bedsheet and get up the Molineux to vent your gizzard please. Let me look who you are. My mates? They will get a good slap on the back of their neck for a head wobble. Doughnuts. Nah moan all you want, I’m fed up of arguing about the pros and cons of individual players performances. It’s a holistic thing, I’ve waxed about that enough. Jesus Christ that Romeu is on the screen again and the dogs wail. But Wreck-It-Ralphs Saints team are a great looking thing on paper. They have able bodies and are not averse to chucking the ball about with some style. For a while.

I decided to play music instead of listening to Al McMoist…it’s hard to understand what the fuck he is on about most the time anyway but the first five minutes of him gargling his oaty Scottish accent in my ears while I looked for a suitable playlist was enough. Ugh. Saints of course have that high pressing, high energy thing going on. They run around like lunatics and are all over us. We aren’t having a great time of it. Semedo looks like he’s just woke up. Traore is having a moan. Moutinho is pretending he’s not there and just a hologram. Neves boots a ball to nobody. Rui is Rui, perfect Zen. You know a Goalie is doing a good job when you don’t have to talk about them. Then Ings whacks the ball into our net and it’s 1-0. Testy and tasty. I mean even I didn’t see him turn up in the box to hoof that bugger in yet alone Coady who was behind some Southampton neck. It’s all very bloody nervy again. Nothing is flowing here for Wolves at all. That physical fast Southampton game isn’t a tactical master stroke by any means. It’s just hard to garner any kind of response when you are constantly chasing the ball…slowly and without much success in getting it back. When we did have it the ball was recycled back sometimes anti clockwise and sometimes clockwise. Traore has a run. Falls over. Willian our loan Striker looks like he’s selling double glazing on the Lunt. Lovely to see Jonny back God Bless his heart. He’s having the odd nibble at getting forwards a bit but there are mental gaps among our team in this half. There are miscommunications and errant moving. There isn’t any flow and even less style. But we know this isn’t Wolves. My mind goes back to the Gulag Barnsley matches we had a few seasons ago when our shiny players wondered what the hell was going on. Same here. The Southampton rapid ball recycling is confusing our players. I think perhaps we tend to approach games too softly in the opening 20 minutes or so. It’s all damage limitation and hastily cleared hoofings, the odd foul, chasing the ball again while we try to warm up a bit, remember what we are here for. Languid is a good word, laid back, chilled and a little concerned. But we also had the odd chance here and there. A few movements where if our team would have picked that pass or that run, then maybe a goal, a chance. Most of these efforts were fluffed. Again, just a little out of sorts. Minor points. But put enough of these minor cock ups together and you start to get a pile of them and the weight of them can drag your team down to their knees before you know it. It was total flip ya wig stuff from Southampton as the half went on. I wouldn’t say there was anything artistic or beautiful about their football but it was a stolid and maybe even Stoic football. Overboiled to fuck. Stodgy even but you couldn’t move that ball away them without overstraining. Which we did. There were a few moments and they were ‘moments’ when I thought Saints were looking a little bit too slick and we indeed were facilitating that slickness by ball watching a lot and taking too much notice of their game instead of our own. Traore was getting shoved off the ball a lot which is weird seeing as he has the foundation of a concrete bollard. Even Donk got confused at times. His head nearly fell off tracking a few passes that cut him out of the game. The goal from Spice Boy Ingy was coming and we at home, probably the team there knew it. There was a mosh pit of movement in our box, a ball in, confusion, Ings buries it beyond Rui. A note about Rui….I’m glad we dont talk about him much, he does his job, he goes home. What a bloke, the ‘Everyman’ of the Wolves team.

It was still really itchy on the pitch for us. The piped in music and crowd noise over the PA reminded me of the film ‘Killing Fields’ set in Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime where the population was herded into concentration camps to be re-educated and to work. Slavery, political terrorism. The loudspeakers in the camps blared out the speeches and the propaganda. Hearing the players gasp, groan, moan, scream in pain is wrong. It’s an existential nightmare, a dystopia football. It’s as if Wolves are playing at gunpoint under threat. Scared to get the ball and lose it in case ‘they’ see and ‘they’ wont be pleased. Atmosphere insane. But that’s only because we are playing shit. I get on Whatsapp and moan to Horace, “Traore needs to pull his fucking finger out” and it’s a jab of crap a barb Traore does not deserve but it’s there any way. It’s deciding not to argue with that dickhead in the pub but nut him. Bonk. Everything is like a Joy Division wailing video, hooded figures, banners that don’t really mean anything spread out over the seats like shrouds. I put the kettle on and stare out of the kitchen window and I bet you any money there are hundreds of Wolves fans doing that right now. The kettle going clack clack clack as it warms up. Fucks sake. One fucking nil. Fuck off.

So Nuno looks pensive and emotional, not stressed but holding in the adrenalin as he watches. Control. He is in some sort of Zen state where he has to control his emotions, he has to control everything, defeat the urge to gesticulate, remonstrate, order and arrange. His hands would be alive, his arms flinging around, looking to his staff behind him in some whirlwind of madness. It would end in him running on the pitch at some point to punch someone or love them. I bet he’s giving them a right lecture. Not shouting or aggressive but controlled and under control, a plan formulated, a response to our lack of intent and danger. Plans have to be organised and unemotional. I would love to have been a fly on the wall.

Well you could tell something had galvanised them. All of a sudden Traore had a flea up his arse again and started taking players on, beating them and getting up the other goal. Semedo was making movements upfield. All of a sudden it all seemed familiar again. Oh. Bloody hell. Oooh. Pleasant noises instead of Hookys dirge like basslines. Semedo is on the edge of their box and crosses. Bertran their defender has got his arm in the way. Penalty to us. The Southampton dude is beside himself and I have this weird feeling in my belly. Empathy. I feel his pain for some reason and this confuses me. That’s what Lockdown is doing to us. Turning us slowly insane bit by bit revolving around and around on the merry go round of football…..Neves pokes it home. 1-1 have that you cun….oops.

Its that weird Wolves thing where you know we are going to score in a minute. We’ve felt it so many times and rarely have I seen it in other teams. Something just happens and you know the match has changed for the better and we are going to win and it’s just a matter of when and who and how. Pedro fucking Neto eh. Let the market for footballers start rising again and revenue flowing and we will fucking dick some club out of a shit load of cash for Neto. That means a couple of seasons at least. Lovely. Ebanks Blake eh lets mention him to piss off the youngs and wind them up hahahaha. Lovely goal. Willian was busting a bollock for it but Neto didn’t have any time for that kind of shit. He steezed the ball in from a thin angle. He was dead happy it’s fucking great to see someone enjoy their football. He doesn’t give a fuck does he? Brilliant.

Nuno. Final whistle. Still controlled, still fighting it down. But relief, not for him but for the team and the people that have put their trust in him. Success not for him but for everyone, me, you, them and perhaps a little bit for him too maybe. Perhaps he allowed himself to feel some pride, a slither of joy. He holds tightly to one of his staff and buries his face in his shoulder and here we see for a moment some of the real Nuno but still he has to hide himself away so nobody can see him, the real Nuno, who knows? Lockdown man, it makes you over analyse stuff maybe and perhaps we are all over emotional and ready to crack. Three points any way I’ll have that ta. Their Coach is ranting about the hand ball, he looks like he is ready to start crying. His face is all red.

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