“A good captain is not made from calm seas.” —Proverb
You know thinking back over the years I have been muddling around my peanut brain for memories of Wolves players being called up for the England Team. I remember John Richards being in an England team. I remember running to School to harangue all those Manchester United knobheads and Liverpool fools about MY team and MY player. Everyone was proud. Today after all those years I am proud again that my club Captain has been called up to the England team. How happy? Ecstatic. For Conor and for his fans. I’m watching bits of the North bank swirling in my paper making machine. Next doors unit is full of Somalis arguing again. Yes, Conor Coady.
There are voices of course that denigrate my Captain. I listen to them and read what they have to say. I am of course open to all opinions on all players in our team. How can I make an honest appraisal of this man unless I hear everything everyone has to say? So I listen and I take it all in. That way I can formulate words to describe him. You see these words sit in my head where they are processed by a Football section of my head. The one that has watched Wolves since 1972 and my first match in the Northbank. I watched and I took it all in. The reading about football, the conversations with those much more skilled at analysing football than me. I take it in and it brews in my head until one day. Pop! An opinion forms. But I don’t spout my own opinion unless it sits well within me. I cannot tell lies. This is not a Hagiography of Conor Coady
My opinion of Coady is that we are very lucky to have him, as a Player and as a Captain. I am proud of him. Not because of his affability and his social skills….they are mighty. It’s because he has done exactly what his Coaching staff have required of him. His movement from Midfield to defence was a shocker to me. I expected some Coady breakthrough in midfield, a game where it would all click into place but I don’t know the ins and outs of his moving. But there he is the next season pinging balls out of the box like he grew there. Now he isn’t a glamour player but who wants one in defence? There is a stoical mindset in this man, a man that will follow instruction to the letter. Thus should we denigrate a man who follows orders and instructions to the letter? That implements his Coaches will instantly? There are times when he looks out of place a little and other times when he seems to control everything that happens in the final third. Of course when it does go tits up like the Vardy goal the other week at Leicester the other week. Someone hassled my mind about Conor being to blame. How so? Vardy is a world class striker. He nicks balls of the feet of absolutely world class defenders every week, because he’s a fucking world class striker. Add in the fact that a Leicester player was allowed to run unimpeded through our box to put a ball in. Add in a dash of a knee high ball that Conor was trying to position himself to clear and a splodge of Vardyness and there ya go. How many times did he make interceptions at crucial moments. Three. How many times did he put off Vardy when in a shooting position? Four. All through the games this season I have seen Conor constantly moving across the box to cover holes left by his team mates. He is knackered when he comes off the pitch. Because he is basically our defence. Yes we probably do need centre backs, quality centre backs too because at the moment the only bloke in our defence that does any running is him. OK thats unfair I know. Kilmanjaro is a player in the ascent. Saiss does a job of sorts. Boly is getting vigorously rubbed down Compton. Conor is the only man I see in our defence at the moment. And he’s a midfielder.
Now Bruno will go for a back four and no one sees Conor in that system but why? He has shown he can adapt and that adaptability is a massive asset. Adaptability is a keyword Bruno should get used to as his high press, fast paced game starts to wear down his stars over the season. He will need a player able to shuffle and move positions, take on new ideas fast, implement those ideas to the best of his ability for his team. How would Conor do in a back four? Probably brilliantly to be honest. Especially as he wont have to cover ALL the fucking box for a while. If I was Bruno I would put Conor right in front of a back four. His accurate pings are sex. I see him collecting the ball off two slab head centre backs, looking up, seeing Ruben, pinging a 30 yard ball to Rubens feet and Ruben dashing off a ball to Fabio or Raul up front. I mean that’s me coaching Wolves but I would want that International experience and Professionalism of a Conor Coady right there in that hole. Conor isn’t the nascent centre back we require but then again Ringo Starr wasn’t the greatest drummer in possibly the greatest band. But Ringo pinned the beat everything else hung off. I suspect that Coady is the same kind of groove. He may not have the glamour pass and the Portuguese hair but he has exactly what we need. Progression and the ability to progress his game, a stable mindset, and a metronomal style of defending. No Maldini this bloke but he is a Coady. In the shadows chugging gently away.
I have loyalty me and I support my players. I may have a moan about them (Traore) but I can never denigrate them while they are here. I just find it hard to do. So Conor has hardly had a week off this year with his Euro call up and the Wolves Pre Season. He must be mentally shattered and physically too. Yet he still turns up to play to the absolute best of his ability to play in a position that he has been asked to and still does it with a smile on his face! I really don’t think we have seen the best of Conor Coady yet ya know. I don’t think we have seen Coady unleashed as a player, I think there is much more he has to offer to this Wolves team. Will Bruno see this? I think he already has to be honest. I think we may see little glimmers of what Coady has to offer us over the next couple of years. More background chugging or will he blossom in the new Brunoball that Lage has planned? I personally want to see Conor explode into the player I think he can be. Forget about being an integral part of a machine but expand his play, make those passes, get forward and lets really see what Conor has in his mind once the shackles are off.
But yes, I am proud of him and there isn’t another player I love to see in Gold and Black than him. He will be playing against a resurgent Manchester United attack this Sunday. It will probably be him covering the ground again as always. Team players have everyones backs. Before the Tottenham game me and Big Andy were discussing Roger Johnson, trainee alcoholic, bad vibe merchant, not a team player. Remember him? Remember he was an integral part of our team. Now look at Conor Coady and you have dark thoughts? My gut tells me good things about Coady and makes me feel good watching him and thinking we are lucky to have him and I keep saying it. God Bless you Mr Coady, thank you for playing football for us and loving us, thank you for adapting, thank you for defending our goal, thank you for being our Captain. I am very proud indeed.