DANPOD

So often those hustling for the win must
clamp down grim mindings in their coffer,
just as I ought fetter my inborn conceit,
often wounded, wanting where I know,
kindred pulled away, how many winters now?
I shrouded my giver in dark earth
and wended away worrisome,
weather-watching the wrapful waves,
hall-wretched, seeking a center,
far or near, where they might be found,
in some mead-hall, who knows of my kind,
willing to adopt a friendless me,
though they be joyful enough.

The Wanderer..an old Anglo Saxon Poem

Walking the dogs past the Albion (The Lancaster) yesterday was really weird. It was sunny and fresh, bright sunny, that sun you forgot about over winter. Warm, there was beer too, everybody sat outside having a gargle in the sun. Warm, beautiful Wolves shirts dotted here and there. I felt weird you know. Because all of a sudden shit seemed normal again and I was taken aback by it. It was the Wolves shirts. They fucking glowed and hurt my eyes. Memories just whizzed through my head like when you hear a tune you haven’t heard for a long time and it takes you back to another time. Insane. I pulled the dogs away. Was it time to relax? I am starting to. Things are starting to feel familiar again. More traffic, more shouty angst, more people everywhere. Lock down easing. Wolves shirts. Loads of them and I have a bit of a fill up and the tears make all the shirts in the beer garden glow like big golden stars.

Sheffield United are fucked for sure. We play them at the Molineux. The game, well it was a typically obtuse performance again where nothing seemed to be flowing, nothing had colour in it, not many passes and not many moves. United are slipping down to the Championship and do you know the weird thing? Their fans are not that fussed. The whole season has been pretty strange for them. The VAR crap, the Refereeing decisions, the goals chalked off. You know the lyrics to this one. It’s been a bad experience for them and I am truly sorry for that. Even if it isn’t my fault. That’s the problem when you let bean counters and suits run the game. But we have a chance again, to become what we were and to blaze shapes and runs everywhere, to tease and to…ok that isn’t going to happen. Instead, three points, that’s it. Three points and a bit crawlier up the table to nestle under the arm pit of other safe teams. Poor Sheffield United. It’s always Wolves that piss on their Parsnips. Weird because even if I hate most clubs I have always had a soft spot for Sheffield, probably because we beat them in most important games we play them…but Sheffield is a great night out. I know people there. They are good people. But I’m waving at them as they tumble. We can’t have friends here in this cauldron of English top flight football. No back slaps just goodbyes.

There are moments of course. Semedo physical and at the same time unassuming, again intelligence and creative movement sullied by that shitegeist around the team at the moment. He moves and the silence around him is like a duvet or a joy killing blanket. The medium that Nuno uses to splash his art across is quite absent. That medium being ‘football’ in the smallest and greatest of senses. At the Macro level, us. At the Micro level him and the team. Now I understand it totally for the first time watching Nuno in the presser where he looks like he could be anywhere else if he could fielding the sort of questions only dull people ask. He doesn’t trust the Press any more than he did when he came here. Of course you can lay out a detailed thesis for every question asked but what’s the point? Nuno again is suffering the slings and arrows of his outrageous fortune to paraphrase William Shakespeare a famous Wolves fan. He’s dead now of course but his ghost still wanders the dark damp places under the South Bank. Slings and bloody arrows. Neto, Jonny, Raul, and throw in some other names. Physical injuries, stuff that can be put right under a Surgeons knife but the mental stuff? The times this player or that looks in the mirror every morning before a match and tries to get his head in some sort of order, to get his mind ready for the game. But of course we know well enough if you get eleven good mates together as a group then look at each one closely. What problems have they faced over the past few weeks? I bet you any money a few of them will have some major life shit going on. A couple will have a depression or mental issue that bad it will be a victory for them just to comb their hair and put some clean clothes on to go out. How do they do it these human beings? Looking at eleven random blokes then at our team I wonder which one has the strength to just appear at Molineux?

There is us of course. The great unwashed waxing our own sweet lyrics about what should be done with this squad and manager. I tend to look at positive things, to hope and to pray, to nourish little seedlings into big strong plants. I can’t speak for others only to say that they suffer too, we all suffer. But the positives. Conor Coady deserves a fucking medal. How he keeps this squad motivated and together has to be one of the most brilliant things to happen to the Wolves this season. His man management must be off the fucking scale. He himself would have struggled a little trying to get his head around this madness and still have the mental energy to keep the squad alive. Last few blogs I have moaned about how the players seem to always smile while we are suffering. But I have had a rethink. I am now of the opinion that they smile, laugh and joke purely because that’s the way a massive human like Coady activates positivity when all seems dark and dim. As well as trying to galvanise hope within the squad he has had to deal with his own personal madness, an England call up. He has to try and play his football within an extremely dysfunctional framework of the England set up. Then Coady absolutely destroys the role, looks like he grew there, scores a goal even. On top of being Wolves Captain and Juju wizard. Gob smacked mate. So my player of the Season? Conor Coady. I know there are flashier players, I know there are sexier players in our team but he is a pillar of strength this bloke. I wish I had a Trophy to give him but you can’t quantify class mate.

Daniel Podence too. Who even gives him much of a thought? His first season here has been strange. But Dan, thats Wolves mate, that’s just how things happen here. But he pulls his boots on again and gets out there, runs those legs all over the show. It isn’t happening yet Dan Podence, but it will. So I am less critical than of late and I understand more, I have become a bit more empathic not with the strange football we are playing but the players as human beings. I suspect that human quality has been seen on our hallowed pitch more than a few times this season. As much with Nuno as with the team. It has been rough but there have been no major meltdowns, no major plunge in form, no off field insanity. But there have been smaller stories of course and we only really get to sense a few of them in discrete coded messages and social media posts. These small stories tend to build up until everything becomes loose and bitter…but not here, not at Wolves.

I am happy Willian scored. His goal gave us three points and we must thank him for that. Would I have him in the team? I think I would yes. He has had his foundational experience in Premier League football. It is very different to European football isn’t it? There must be time to adjust and get a grip on the whole show. He has had this now. What will be his response? More goals I suspect. More insanity. I would love to see him with confidence and a full Molineux behind him. Then we may say and wax lyrics about him. Until then we must hush and watch. Indeed watch every player in their insanity. Watch Ayit Nouri, watch Semedo, watch Dan Podence, watch Willian. Watch and hope, watch and pray that they find their juju…

“Where has the horse gone?
Where are my kindred?
Where is the giver of treasure?
Where are the benches to bear us?
Joys of the hall to bring us together?
No more, the bright goblet!
All gone, the mailed warrior!
Lost for good, the pride of princes!

“How the space of years has spread —
growing gloomy beneath the night-helm,
as if it never was!

This Juju, this Kwan. The team twist and turn to find it not really knowing that they already possess it. I suspect that they will find it next season. You can’t emerge out of this fire of VAR, the plague, the lockdown, and a mad world without being changed by it. These games are the flame of our intent for how we will play our football next year. We now know that yes, of course we can suffer bad football, we can writhe in pain from injury, we can walk away from games sad and depressed but we can also shithouse a rersult sometimes, we can burrow into the Molineux turf and grab hold of a victory despite being obtuse and angular in our play. Next season. Fabio on the pitch next to Raul. Fabio technical as fuck, a footballing brain but a sensitive young one that must be handled very fucking carefully. Would I have chucked him on at the start? No I wouldn’t have. This season is done, why risk this Fabio with opponents such as Sheffield United who writhe and squirm in their pain? Keep him safe, give him minutes of experience that’s it. Gently ease him into this world of Wolves. I imagine him and Raul doing those crazy things in an opposition box. The balls Raul used to play as he held the ball up looking. He will see Fabio next season in space, he will slide the ball to him across the box. Fabio will plant it. Limbs, insanity, falling over seats, Nuno did have a dream and it’s slowly coming true, I can feel it.

How will we react? We will forget this season of course. The Plague season. It means nothing. Transition means exactly that, from the horizontal to the vertical and I can see no greater example of it than this season. I think Nuno and his team have already seen what they need to see and the focus now will be on Pre Season and who will be there. Will Adama be here? I hope so. He is still one of the greatest talents I have seen at Molineux and I still love him although I can also fall out with him. It’s a relationship you know. His play again last night in parts, speechless, in others a cacophony of opinions. What a mercurial character, what a member of the squad.

Things are slowly going back to some sort of normality. A bloke in the pub beer garden trips up with his pint trying to distangle himself from the picnic table. Beer everywhere. Everyone laughs including me. He laughs too. Get another beer in mate. The sun is shining. I think this season is done and dusted. Cross the T’s and dot the i’s my friends. All that money you saved this season you will be needing for the season after next when you will be walking the cobbles of a European city again. Put a tenner on it.