For Raul

Raul my friend. It has been a long time hasn’t it? Since we were able to see you properly. You seem to have got back to full fitness after your sickening injury. You never stopped smiling. You always smile. Some times it seems like you are the only one smiling in Molineux. We have missed you more than you will realise and on Sunday we will see you and say hello again.

Your goals and your football are everything to us. We have missed that for sure but when you were injured I know for a fact nobody I knew was bothered about how long you would be away from the team or how the team would fare without you. All we were bothered about was you and how you were. Let’s not dwell on the ‘act’ of the injury but how you have pulled yourself back into the team after a life changing injury. What an ascent that was. Injury as I can attest sucks the life from you sometimes. But you seemed to have used it as fuel to push yourself back into the team. A team I may add made up of extremely talented and able Premier League and indeed World class players. A team of excellence. You have basically started again at step one and forced your way through all the negativity, all the bullshit your own mind throws at you to get right back into the mix.

Strength. And yet you seem so quiet, so reserved and chilled out. How does that work? You obviously have a strength we rarely see in the way you interact and communicate with others. An amazing feat in the fact not only have you forced your way back into the team but have neatly assumed your former self and position in the team as a valued player and a friend.

Sunday will be very strange for you. You are back at the Molineux and you are playing against your former Boss and a decent Spurs side. Your thoughts about that will remain yours and I will not comment on what is going through your head as the day gets closer. But remember it’s not about Nuno or Spurs on Sunday. It’s about Us and You. It’s about our relationship. You are our number Nine and Wolves always have a good relationship with our number Nines. We love a battle and a tussle and we see you doing that every second you are on the pitch. We see what you are and we love it. The match will flow this way and that no doubt. There will be anger and emotion, love and hate flowing around Molineux. These emotions will trap us somewhat, it will not be a normal day, a normal game. Players around you, our players, will be looking at you to steady the ship somewhat. Steady it by being who you are. I sense that if there is any justice in this world you will score on Sunday. If you do I suspect everything that has happened over the last 18 months will be forgotten and you will never see an outpouring of joy from Molineux like that again. Catharsis Raul. All those long hours spent staring at a Hospital ceilings, all those worried conversations with those you love. All those wonderings about whether or not you will play football again will not be forgotten, for sure. But they will be shuffled off to a dark not often used part of your memory where they can stay for a while.

But you don’t have to score Raul. We don’t even have to win the match. We have already won haven’t we? The fact you are running onto the pitch will be every victory we have ever wanted. Bro, it’s going to be weird as fuck but there should not be any pressure on you at all. This is a game that you should enjoy 100%. Suck it all in dude. Suck up all the emotions flowing from the stands and hold it in your heart to give you energy. Take our energy too, use our madness to let your football flow around the ground. Let Brunos tactical nous be the framework you hang these emotions on as you play. 50/50 ball in the air? Go for it, throw yourself in there. Don’t worry about the injury or the thought of being injured again. That darkness should be castigated and nullified by our madness.

As you suffered so did we. The Lockdowns, the Lockdown life, the abnormality of it all. Being kept away from Molineux was a trial for us. Watching our team play on the TV was torture. We play together you know. The Wolves team at Molineux is nearly 30k strong and every kick, every header, every pass is performed by these 30k nutters in the stands. Your fear is our fear but this fear can be killed. We kill it by believing in ourselves and 30k fans on Sunday will be giving you the energies. This is the most important thing for me on Sunday. You.

Enjoy the game Raul, use our energy to play the football you know best. I see you in the box right now. Moving and waiting, the ball flies into the box, it’s a header, you rise like a Phoenix, the ball skims off your head into the Tottenham net. This is what we want for you, not for us, for you. Every scream and exhortation from the stands will be yours alone. I’ve missed you Jimmy. Welcome back.


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