Everywhere and Nowhere baby

Well….yeah. It’s been a funny old week at Molineux towers hasn’t it? It’s like working in a Factory or production line, rumours of a Management clear out. It is discussed over the shit sandwich you made and the cup of tea with stuff floating on top. Us, the great unwashed. What do we know us ‘Legacy’ fans, how can we extrapolate our experiences to the tangled web of Managerial appointments and the Borg like Fosun? Man, we can’t, but we can wax about it so you can imagine this post as a chat in the canteen sipping hot tea fast so you still have time for the two roll ups you have to inhale before starting work again.

Fosun don’t know what they are doing. I mean we have watched them from afar and made our minds up pretty much. We see the Executive team Jeff Shi has assembled and we hold our heads in our hands and shake it slowly from side to side. They really haven’t got much of a clue have they? I mean Bruno Lage for fucks sake. He was making YouTube videos before we dragged him here to look after a dysfunctional squad. Never trust a man who’s face is bigger than his head. What ideas did Bruno bring? I don’t actually know, I’ve watched his idea of football but I’m still in the dark as to what he actually wanted out of Fosuns team of players. He was an uninspiring zoid for me. Absolutely no connection with the fans at all. You know ‘fans’ us like. Did we have any feelings for him? At West Ham he lost the Wolves Away crowd. This was a major fuck up. Every Wolves Coach needs the away lot. They are the most knowledgeable about the Wolves game. These people are that into the idea of Wolves that sometimes it verges on mental illness but they are still a group that should be listened to. But the weird esoteric substitutions, the tactics, the fucking zeitgeist. Bruno treating us great unwashed like he’s just stepped in a turd. Nah Bruno was never the right choice. I am glad the mumbling prick has gone but unsure of whether a new appointment will do anything to halt this weirdness around the team.

Now I know I could fill this page with energy about subs, tactics, players etc. But it’s already been said on all the platforms, chat rooms and spaces, all over the socials. It has gone very wrong. Many of the ‘Newfans’ won’t really understand what’s going on but we do. Us Legacy freaks. Jeff Shi has fucked it up. He listened too much…listened to the Lizards he has put around the dysfunction of Compton and Molineux. We know who they are of course and I don’t have to name names. But ultimately, it’s Jeffs fuck up. He’s the one that assembled the backroom team. The highly wracked off medical department filled with Staff who have a very murky past. The Brand ambassadors, the ‘football experts’, the brand builders. Compton has become a trough to feed in and the Brand thrives there like a pulsing tumour sucking the life out of the club. The brand is everywhere but nowhere at the moment.

We look at the team, who are they? Do we know them? They don’t want to know us that’s for certain. But I think that’s because they don’t know us. Teams in the past knew who we were and even if times and certain seasons were a pain in the arse they were still Wolves and we were too. But now, we don’t know. We haven’t battled with them because they haven’t got the fight in them and we haven’t either at the moment. Covid, VAR, cost of living crisis, a team full of Prima Donnas, a Molineux full of people sick to the back teeth of brand bullshit. This is a hefty cocktail of shite that the new Coach has to navigate when he pulls his chair up at his desk at Compton. There has to be a big clear out there. There must be some sort of ‘Night of the Long Knives’ when he does arrive. We need someone with the ideas and energy to transform the culture of Non Entity at Compton. Someone who is really going to set the dogs on most of the staff there. If this is to happen and it is badly needed then there also has to be a transformation of the executive staff too. Scott Sellars isn’t fit for purpose in these times of War. Neither is Big Vinny. We need hungry men and women to transform our fortunes and I don’t think the Executive Team have it in them to knock the top off a rice pudding.

The team. I feel sorry for the new dudes. They must be wondering what the fuck is going on. They are not inspired and even in the late warmth of Autumn when Compton explodes in colour they can’t raise a fight so what’s going to happen when the good old British Winter arrives and everything is dark and the sun they have in their souls is getting slowly dimmer. I think Diego Costa will be a more important addition than we think. I suspect Diegos madness and his stoic visage will be kicking up a stink in that dressing room. I hope he may put a bit of fight in the team as he lays the foundations of his time here. But there has to be change. There has to be some madness that is allowed to flow through the echelons of the Molineux corridors. Ideas even. We haven’t had any for ages. So what are we going to get? Another Gestifute yes man? Another faceless Portuguese Coach? Another lyrical non entity? How about Jeff goes and fetches someone that will shake the foundations of Molineux with ideas and then links with the fans like Nuno did. Nuno understood the importance of having the fans close to the team, to have them feel a part of the project and the idea, the philosophy of football. Since he departed we haven’t had anything like that. All we ask is that we can become part of the project again. Stop thinking about global brand reach and start making links with Wolverhampton again. People from Wolverhampton are good people, the best people and you can’t keep ignoring them. The Club will always be bigger than the brand. Fosun are eating the cake that hasn’t even been cooked yet.

The Club is in disarray but we aren’t at ‘that’ point yet where we have to lose our heads. These are interesting times hence I am writing about it again. I had nothing to say about Bruno Lage. The Coach that flew back to Portugal after every match when he should have been at Compton working out what went wrong (or right). Managing the dysfunctional squad we have. Man management, being right on point for every player, just being there for them. Less of the seeking for solutions more searching for answers. He fell short in every way and will become a Zenga of our times but without the humour and madness. Bruno was decaffeinated, he looked like a Coach and said all the right things (sometimes) but he was tasteless, lifeless, a Fosun Droid and a yes man. Not what Wolves needed after the essence of Nuno departed.

It will be interesting to see if Guo gets involved. He wont be happy with Jeff Shi. A lot of Fosun money has been invested in this idea, this brand. I suspect Jeff has been working very hard going over the fine print in running this club but you know I also suspect he has been that busy with his face pressed against his Apple Mac screen that he’s not been looking at the larger picture. I suspect he has trusted and delegated his Executive decisions to be made by the underlings he has assembled to push the club on. I think he has trusted people who should not be trusted and this current situation is largely his fault.

We carry on of course. Supporting the team even if we don’t really know who they are. I said at the start of the season it was going to be long, disjointed and fucking weird. But we can deal with that, me and you, the people that read this blog, the Legacy massive. We have been here before of course and know it intimately. But this time we have a great squad (on paper) a squad bereft of inspiration. A squad but not a team really. This next Coach appointment is going to be one of the most important additions to the idea of Wolves that has been made for years and years. Jeff has to get this right. Go out on a limb for fucks sake, let a bit of madness in, get us a Coach with drive, ideas, mental tenacity, and the gumption to face the squad he has and forge something new and exciting. Get us a Coach that understands the importance of having the fanbase on side. We know that we can’t win every gamne but all we ask is that you fight when you are on the pitch and try to remember there are people paying to watch you who can barely afford to go to the Molineux now, they have made big sacrifices to be there. Give us something to sing about, make us proud again.

I will be writing again about Wolves. It is time for a new chapter and I think the next few years are going to be very interesting so it’s worth me sitting down for a few hours every week and writing something about my thoughts. Out of fucking darkness cometh light and we are standing on top of the subway looking at the dark skies waiting for that slither of sunlight.

The North Bank

Hotspurts again and Mumo. Haven’t we suffered enough? These results sting for sure but I feel unattached to the politics around them now. It’s Wolves time again and strangely I am at the Corner of the North Bank and John Ireland stand. Because I’m hunting for something again, some attachment before I go in. Some dude from the USA wants to get the South Bank experience and is up for a ticket swap. He has North Bank tickets. He is a nice chap, he buys some prints off me on the Wolves car park but I am hardly listening to him. I’m just looking at how huge the North Bank is now. It’s massive. So I saw tickets and off he goes but I have an hour to spare. So I sit down and just look at the outside of the ground and watch the people milling around. There is a lot of people in the shop. Many smart people going into the corporate posh bit of the North bank. They don’t look happy though. It’s like they are being forced to attend. I am on me tod again. I kind of like just milling around outside and watching people do the Wolves thing. Inside the ground, inside the bowels of the North Bank you can’t smell piss and cigarettes any more which is a good thing, I think. It’s all pretty sterile and clean. Not too clean mind but a bit bright and clean if you know what I mean. I but a Pie and a pint of Carling I think. I don’t drink as a rule but one wont hurt too much. I sip and nibble while watching. Nobody says anything. A Steward asks if I’m OK. I must look lost and confused. I am I suppose. This is not my stand, not my people really. It’s quite civilised and nice.

It’s not cold but I am shivering a bit. The sound system inside is farting some unlistenable music with some shouty stuff too. But I am right there again, 1978. Same scenario really but the ground is looking crumbled. Plants grow out of the cracks in Molineux street. Algae grows on the yellow gloss that has been splattered across the rotting wood that pretends to be gates and entrances to turnstiles. The cement is falling out of the bricks. Graffitti everywhere here. Not sprayed from a can but painted in the yellowing remains of a tin of white gloss paint left over from another domestic revamp. The graffitti is simple and uncomplicated. ‘Fuck Spurs’ painted over ‘Wolves Spurs’. ‘Kick to Kill’ and ‘We will fuck you up’ or ‘Leeds will die’. All lovely and welcoming. But there is a match on back in 1978 and who knows who it was we were playing. We didn’t care. I was probably 12 years old and already a little bastard in the making. Cast your eye upwards to that little piece of half rusted angle iron sticking out of the wall. As I sit now, we sat back in 1978 because that was our ticket. That little bit of metal. Wolves would hang on a piece of wood with hooks and on that wood was little slide in numbers. You looked at the number and ripped the appropriate ticket out of your season ticket book. But we didn’t have season tickets. We didn’t have tickets either. We didn’t have money to get in.

Already, in Molineux alley we had tried to scale the wall that backed onto the toilets in the South Bank. You hang around and find some likely lad, a grown up, a youth, anybody that could give you a bunk up to where the wall was starting to bow out. To find a small crack that was just big enough for a childs hand, a small hand to just cram in so you could get the worn out sole of your pumps to grip the crumbling brick. Then your right hand would grab the piece of rotten wood screwed to the wall. Grip it hard because the fall was a good fifteen feet by now but a shuffle, another chink in the brickwork and you were nearly there. three or four feet above was a tangle of barbed wire. But there was also the wall of the urinals. Get up there and you were in. The teams were out now. The crowd inside was vocal and it sounded alive and you wanted in. Shuffle grab, climb, scrabble up. Get a hand on top of the wall. There was always some half pissed bloke willing to pull you over, to get you in. Sometimes you would fall in the puddles of piss, sometimes there would be some twat who wouldn’t help you up. Sometimes there was a Copper. Whack. A truncheon across the fingers. Yes, he was there. The pain was horrible. You wanted to drop but it was thirty feet down. So you swallowed the pain, tried to get that mangled hand to grab hold of things, you slip and you slide and drop. Smack onto the concrete of Molineux alley cussing the Copper, all the names under the sun. People walk by and laugh. Your mates are sad and don’t help. They want in and are not worried about injuries from Cops. It’s the normal state of things when bored Cops would roust you in the darkness and give you a Fat Lip for ‘Ron’ or a knee in the balls. There breath would stink of beer. They had been in Dunstall road Police Station club. Had a few before the match. My fingers stinging. So we would walk around the ground. Stragglers running up to the turnstiles. Operated by Old Blokes with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths collecting coins, notes, tickets. Not looking up. But foot operated turnstiles that clicked and clanked as another Punter paid their money.

I’m chuckling to myself outside in the present. I painted Molineux alley not so long back. A Dad and his Son walking up to the match. Not for me though. No adult took me, none of us had parents that took them to the football. Times were tight, strikes, no money, no attention really. We were the Wolves Orphans. Round to the North Bank and that piece of metal. You see if you were limber enough you could cram a foot in the wall after a run up and jump, grab the iron and pull yourself up. Get a foot in there. Balance like fuck, grab the top of the wall. Clamber to the top. Just pop your head up and have a look see if there were any Old Bill about, hand still stinging. The crowd erupts, something happening for sure. The cigarette smoke curling around the edges of the roof and dissipating into the weird light from the floodlights, into the sky and gone. So I look. No Coppers, thread a leg through the barbed wire. A bit catches your jumper and pulls a thread out but that’s ok as it’s got holes in anyway. Thread yourself through. On the other side some Asbestos roofing. The floodlights above are like giants. Slide down gently, nonchalantly, like you do this every week. I am in. Run into the bowels of the Northbank past bemused Wolves fans. Up the stairs. The pitch, everything in colour. How green and brown is that pitch? The players shirts Golden, glowing. Football. ‘Ooooh’ the crowd goes. Dougan shot. Everyone claps. You look back see who else has got in. Flared trousers, Solatio shoes, the odd skinhead, the odd Boot Boy. No one yet. Football.

‘Fucking hell Coady’ someone murmurs behind my seat after Spuds score a goal. I watch the football but I am dispassionate about it for a change. Observer rather than an active participant. I feel crumbly like the old Molineux walls. The graffti scrawled on me by half pissed tattooists long ago faded and illegible. The wounds I got here still ache a bit sometimes. I can only breathe through one nostril because I have a piece of nose bone blocking the other one. I’m an anachronism like the old ground but I am planted here certainly. Underneath the branding and the shine the murk still settles and the old Ghosts still wander underneath.

2021. I don’t have to try and climb in anymore. I have tickets. I painted it of course. Art when you look at it hanging on a wall is mostly just seen, observed but rarely looked at. I know every part of that old Molineux because it was my playground and football became something that broke up the monotony of those days, something exciting. I knew every pothole and every brick nearly because my childhood involved finding ways to get in, to watch. In those days Molineux was sinking into the ground, becoming part of the geology of that place. Pieces of roof were green with vegetation. Pieces of cladding were falling off. If it was metal it was rusting. If it was wood is was rotten, if it was concrete then it was crumbling. Gone were the fifties when everything was clean, maintained and cared for. It was a jewel Molineux, world famous. But this? Today it still looks a bit mouldy. Algae is growing on the steel of the New Stand. The concrete is crumbling in places. There is graffiti too but now it’s symbols, scrawled names we don’t know or understand. Tags in spray paint or marker pen. People still mill around but it is sterile milling. No one seems to talk any more. Heads down and get in, watch the match, get out, cross it off the list.

Please enjoy this art, it took a long time to paint. Four weeks I think between other projects. Every slash of colour and sweep of a pen a memory for sure. Perhaps a longing too for simpler times. I will whack this up at a high price for the simple reason I love it. It brings out memories I had lost for a while and makes them fresh. If I sell it I will buy that printing press I need because I haven’t finished with the Molineux yet. You may look at the price and gasp a bit but I don’t care. I see a Steve Bull print has just been flogged for 500 quid. I have been told another of my paintings of Molineux I never shared has been obtained for £1500. I want this printer, I want the memory of Molineux here to make more beautiful things. Ah the madness of it.

Click on my shop link for details Petalengros Gallery and Shop – SOUTHBANK RESISTANCE (yamyam.blog)

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Yes. That familiar feeling. Deep down in your belly, it rumbles and makes you feel a bit sick. Trepidation that everything is about to go tits up at the Wolves again. Something we ‘Wolves fans’ us ‘Legacy partners’ know very well. Of course the new customers at Wolves world won’t have experienced this pain. You will see them wondering around outside the Molineux, milling about around the FanZone where they wonder what the fuck they are supposed to do now. They paid their money, bought the crap shirts, spent their money in the club shop, followed Miami Dave and Dazzling Dave on the socials and on YouTube. But they don’t really know what to do.

We do of course. Me and you, the blokes and women that have been here for what seems an eternity. Going through that crap, well, you can wax lyrics about it to each other. Us real Wolves fans have a support network you see, where we can vent our angst at each other, discuss stuff, the team, the policy, the way forwards. These discussions wont take place in Fanzones and Youtube accounts. They will be made over watery lager in Mcghees, the Duke of York, the Old Still or on the socials later where we know who to listen to and who to mute.

I’m standing and watching the Toney and Marcal show. Marcal is acting like a tight fitting tshirt to Toney. In the first instance Marcal is pulling Toney around and it’s funny, it’s just what we want. A bit of animal. It’s good. The Ref blows his whistle and comes over to have a word. I see Toney talking to the Referee. I can lip read a bit as I’m a bit deaf.

“Ref watch him….he’s all over me….just watch him….Ref, watch him’ and of course as the ball comes back into the box all the Ref is doing is watching Marcal, the Refs hand is holding a whistle ready to blow. It was a penalty before the ball came back in. The Ref just waited and Marcal again started to pull, twist, tread on feet, to wrestle Toney away from getting a head on it. The Ref see’s enough and he blows. Penalty.

The Officiating was awful again of course. The quality of Officials has deteriorated massively over the past few years. Again we see this on our pitch, in our ground and we again are on the revieving end of it. I hope Brentford go down. It will be a brilliant thing for me. The Premier League has enough problems without this kind of crap. Endless falling on the ground in the middle of a Wolves attack. I mean endless. Brentford players were flopping around like Spiceheads in the town. Gargling and writhing in pain, then seconds later leaping around like Salmon. It was horrible to watch. It was horrible to see a few of their players wink and laugh at the crowd in the South Bank. They knew what they were doing and they did it brilliantly. But it’s not football my friends.

Seeing as we are customers and the team we supported are now a brand, I guess that makes us consumers now. I suppose as well we can now critique the product free from any kind of allegiance that we had before. There is a big split now in how we perceive the brand. On the one hand we can operate under the fallacy that we are something to do with the club on a metaphysical level. That somehow FosunWolves and us have similar goals and hopes. On the other is the dawning realisation that really we have nothing at all to do with the product at all and Wolves are really becoming some sort of abstract entity. It looks shiny for sure. We have absolutely brilliant football players who if I was managing a football team I would snap up without a seconds thought. When we play ball we play with a flair that I haven’t seen for years down there. But we don’t really play as a team much now. Instead we have eleven individuals who are basically playing their own game and sometimes elements of their game will overlap with a few of their team mates and everything seems good and wholesome. But this happens rarely now and the darkness in our hearts, which is always there is coming out, getting stronger, biting away at the few tendrils of hope that we had when Bruno came.

This Senior management team are shit. Jeff has dropped a massive bollock taking them on. Now when we look at aspects of the day to day running of the club we see that things are going tits up at an accelerating pace. Ticket cock ups, Merch cock ups, Communication cock ups, trainer shoes, Jeff Shi’s high pitched mumbling and sticking metaphorical plasters over open wounds. Shut up. Buy stuff. Look at our Cruise ship partners when many of our fanbase can’t afford a week in Barmouth. Look at our range of merch which looks like it’s been designed by a 13 year old with an Apple Mac and a brief written on a take away menu. Tickets not arriving, phone calls not being answered, merch turning up weeks late, tickets not working at the turnstiles. The team slowly soaking up the darkness that permeates the corridors of Molineux.

The transfer window was a mess like pretty much the previous seven or so I read on the socials. Nothing was changed, everything stayed the same. The shape of the team was static and unmoved by the few players we collected. Things seemed like the ghost of Nuno still wailed down the corridors at Trumpton….sorry Compton. What Wolves needed desperately was a world class Coach who could work with extremely limited resources, who could galvanise the squad by pure management skill. I don’t think Bruno Lage is that man to be honest, not yet any way. Perhaps if given resources and cash he might just keep us up this season but things are going to be very tight. I don’t have the loyalty to the brand or the staff at Molineux any more to be honest. The team, always. 100% support through thick and thin but I’m also a realist now. Gone is the ascendant and positive metaphysics of my slathering love and words on backing the abstract ministrations of the Board and senior management. They talk beautiful words on how the team is preparing and even have some about how the future will look but I don’t believe any of that any more. I want to see concrete things in front of my eyes. Victories in football games for a start. I can even deal with defeats as well, it’s a sport and we will lose games, but what I can’t deal with is capitulations and stupidity like we saw yesterday. It was fucking awful. One match where we looked kind of like a team, we scrounge a win at Watford, we don’t look great but it’s a win. Then the next match we capitulate to a team full of shithouses, a team that has a defence that’s Championship quality. A Gonk team.

It’s magic tile time now where we move players in and out of the system. Put him there and he can go over there, play so and so in that position, get rid of him, replace with that one then move him over there. But it’s just jerking off over Pornhub again. It’s really nothing to do with us any more. Fosun consolidate the idea of what the product will look like and we are just supposed to suck it up. Bruno is the fall guy who has to work with this dispirited bunch, we are the people that watch and shake our heads plodding disconsolately back up to Town dodging the subway Crackheads and bad Bob Dylans. Funny that the guitarist in the subway was wailing ‘The Times They Are a-changing’ when me and Little Andy walked through on the way to the game.

How will things change? In the next few months Fosun are going to start having to pay big fees for these players they have brought in. This is big investment money and to be honest I think they have spent in the wrong places. I think they have been bamboozled by the team that Jeff has created and I think (suspect) that Jeff has lost the plot. Fosun Godfathers will be looking closely at what is happening at Wolves and they wont be pleased. But it’s ok producing a product and a brand to sell but who wants a shoddy product like this? ‘Legacy fans’ like us, who Jeff and Co hate with a passion will turn up regardless. We are Wolverhampton Wanderers fans. It’s what we do, turn up, watch the team, wax some lyrics and wait until the next match. We are a captive audience but also a very clever one. We have seen it all over the years. We know this darkness intimately. Others not so much. At the end of the match boos. Some of it was at Brentford and was deserved but I say this, some of it was directed at Jeff and the Board and the toxic Molineux has started to grow and poke it’s head through the cracks.

Our job of course is to close ranks again. We have done this much over the years. Nothing we say or do will affect any day to day running of the club. Nothing we wax about will be held in any regard by the team, the staff or the management team. Jeff doesn’t care what we think as long as our money keeps trickling into the club. The only thing that matters to us is how the team play their football and how we show our support. At this moment I still think Bruno can just about turn it around and keep us competitive. We have quality players who have forgotten that football is really about the team and how they bounce of each other and communicate. I am sure they will come good, I am sure that Bruno will have an epiphany of sorts as he tries to galvanise this dispirited bunch of players. Who will hold their nerve longer? Fosun or us? When will the consumers at Molineux decide the product isn’t fit for purpose any more and voice that disquiet? Will Bruno still be here at Christmas? Will Jeff? Will Miami Dave?

Ruben Neves is a Football God

That seemed like an age. This winless start. A desert really. But still everything looked good and dynamic, chances here and there and all the standard phrases started getting bandied about. Lack of end product, more clinical, more this and more that. All good stuff if a bit stale. But we knew Watford would be the one didn’t we? We expected something and not the annual trampling of our midfield by those giants they always seem to have playing for them. What a fucking horrible place Watford is, I am glad in some ways I am not there. Even the suit jacket their Coach is wearing annoys me. Where did he buy it from? Matalan? Why the fuck is he wearing a suit any way? There’s Windy Ben gurning away in the stands. Hello Windy Ben! You prick. He makes me laugh though, he loves the banter.

Last time I was at Watford I was seriously thinking about ramming a replica FA cup on the head of one of their fans outside the ground. There was real grief over the Wembley game but I guess some of that angst wasn’t really about the Eltons at all. It’s always been about Wolves for every Wolves fan. The Eltons were just the turd in the shit sandwich of those times.

I’m not even going to write about the game here, it’s not a match report. You know how the game went and how we ground out a win. You know who did what and when. My take? Always metaphysical. Always the feels.

Ruben Neves is walking around the pitch before the game wearing his expensive new Wolves tat. His eyebrows are furrowed and he is just looking. He walks to midfield, the centre circle and while the rest of the players take video or fuck about with their phones laughing, he isn’t. He is looking at the pitch letting his mind see where the battles will be and where they will be fought. He looks at the architecture of the ground. You see he will be moving that ball to his team mates while there is noise and madness, players getting a foot in, players moving in. Pressure and aggravation. So he looks up and in his mind he is looking at every advertising board, every point of the pitch, the stands, the dug out then extrapolating that information to his mind so that when he is under pressure and when he is being tackled a glimpse, a split second, he will know where he is. Full spectrum Ruben.

His football this season has been phenomenal already. My own grief about the lack of signings was puerile and knee jerk when we already had the best player, the bestest player we could have had right there in the team. So he moves through the Eltons midfield like it was pure butter and he was pulled and kicked, shoved and aggravated. But this Neves moves forwards. This Neves has a belief in himself that Bruno has perhaps reignited. We never know how much a partner abuses us until we are out of the relationship and with someone new. Is it like this with Bruno? Can we now look back and think that perhaps Nuno wasn’t the best man to take us forwards? I was watching the Palace-Spuds game beforehand and you can see Nunoism in full effect there. Reticent to attack, to defend at all costs, and Nuno plods away from that shithole to some new griefs to deal with. How can you have Neves deep when he shows us this madness. So Bruno shows Ruben what he would like him to do, in a nutshell to be Ruben Neves, that’s it, it’s simple. Let the mind of Neves expand and fill the pitch. Then give the rest of the team the same operating manual. Be yourselves but be a team as well. Two concepts that Bruno has mixed and prepared for our delight. So we see Traore in dangerous positions and seemingly also reinvented. We see Kilman growing into something most of us knew he was capable of, a well rounded skilful player with a mind of his own, a brain. Where tactical requirements are just the basic plan and the players minds are allowed to expand again into their own roles and how they see their own development and their own ideas about how to play football come to the fore. There was a moment when Kilman took the ball and let it glance off his left foot while he scanned the pitch in front of him. Never looked at the ball once. He killed momentum of the ball and then passed it to Neves who as well, collected, never looked at the ball once and then slid it beautifully into the path of Trink.

Trincao collects and is off towards the Eltons box and he glides my friends. This young man moves so beautifully so eloquently it blows my small shrivelled mind to bits. Because here in him is something too and we have only seen small parts of it. This player is one that is to be nurtured and cared for this season because there is something in him that is great also, Here is where we will see Bruno work some magic I hope. Here is where we will see how Bruno manages minds as well as players. Trink is everywhere it seems and when he isn’t exactly ‘there’ then he isn’t far away. He has to learn about cadence and patience. The rhythm of the play and his part in that great Wolves song.

These players are some of the best players in Europe, they have something about them. Raul needs nurturing too but his play, dropping deep, darting forwards, holding the ball up, doing a shift is everything to me. He occupies defenders, his work is unseen most of the time as he pulls the Eltons defence in and out of shape allowing Trink and Adama to push into spaces. Raul although not scoring goals is instigating goals and that my friends is what it’s all about. Pressure and intent led to that own goal and the ideas of Bruno were simple. To attack and when not in possession of the ball….attack again. Find the ball, get the ball back because ‘attack’ is everything and to a sportsman, a pro footballer aggression and offence is a mantra we can all agree on. We even see it in defence too. Saiss and Marcal targeted by the Eltons tactical gurus. But how do you attack when being attacked? Saiss is a constant source of grief for the Eltons forays down the pitch. They slide the ball past Marcal a few times but he is already in their heads. That smile is a killers smile. They slide past him yes, but he is right behind them niggling away, a shove, a prod, a shoulder to unbalance. Saiss the same, putting them off with a foot, an ankle, tread on a toe, tug of a shirt. A nastiness that starts to grow in the oppositions heads as the game flows on. Watch Marcal at the Eltons free kicks and corners. He is that close to the Eltons strike force he is like their new shirt and he prods, smiles, grapples, laughs and I think I love his madness.

The Hwang goal was beautiful and like a fairy tale. I wanted him to have this, so he knows that he can do it. A Premier League goal. His legs are coiled and heavily muscled, he is wide and physical, a box grappler, a body that is hard to move. Someone that is quite happy to involve himself in the physicality of the box, a man with the foresight to get himself on the goal line just in case. It was there for him, this golden goal and all he had to do was prod the thing over the line. There was some Steve Bull in that goal for sure because he was mad for it, he wanted it, which is fucking everything in football. His play for the other bits of the game was strong and purposeful. He was getting into space and causing grief. Shoving and treading on people but also being delicate and soft when oozing himself between Eltons defenders, shifting himself quietly, drifting almost into positions of danger. I don’t think we need to work on Hwang at all. He has all the attributes to become a legend here. More importantly now his team understand where he will be. There will be balls coming in low into the box, fast balls just for him and the great picture continues to be filled in by Bruno.

I dearly hope we can keep this momentum through the season but looking at the subs bench before the game I see quality and depth but more importantly I can see different options and ideas that Bruno can utilise easily when needed. I think that maybe Bruno might have the tools at his disposal to actually make a good crack at winning something this year.

It’s still fresh this whole Bruno thing but it feels correct and right for who we are. No grief aimed at Gremlin Jeff, no shit thrown at the Marketing reptiles. A win makes them redundant and everything is the team again where it should be and what it should be. Here at the Eltons we see football, real football while at Old Trafford they have just theatre and pantomime and for that I feel blessed to be honest. The Wolves away crowd are in fine voice, it is all you can hear on the dodgy stream I have. The gonks at Sky even turn the volume down while Wolves sing about Albion shagging their sisters everywhere they go. At the Albion ground Gonks are throwing punches at Millwall gonks and it’s all Gonky and a bit daft. Championship level crap. But I’m thinking about Ruben Neves again walking around that pitch pre game, looking and playing the match in his head. I think the fact we kept hold of him this season may be one of the biggest and best things that could have happened this transfer window. Ruben Neves is a Wolf. Wolverhampton Wanderers are pure Premier League quality. Blessed this weekend.

Notes From The Front Line ‘Getting the Brand Back Together

This weeks Notes From The Front Line is from Will my mate. He’s a good writer Will is, a pro and as he is well versed in all things ‘E’ related it’s a good opportunity to hear his voice and see what he has to say. I’m a bit nonplussed about anything E-Sport related. I can see why Corporations want a taste of it, revenue, brands etc but I fail to see how these PornHub dynamics will extrapolate to a Midlands football club.

Getting the Brand Back Together

Wolves’ attempt at brand building has been a conversation piece for a good number of people recently. While it’s mostly confined to social media, the talk is still relevant to what’s taking place. Regardless of how much importance you place on the socials, and believe me when I say the for most people it should be fucking none, in the context of increasing positive brand awareness it’s extremely important. A solid brand is built on positive interactions and lots of them. While there are those out there who build their brands on quantity of interactions, it’s not long before they crash and burn. The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long after all. You only need to look at Trump, Hopkins and that shaved bollock Lee Hurst to see what happens when you build your foundations on negativity.

That’s why the way Wolves are going about things is a little bit risky. Esports is undoubtedly going to be massive going forwards. That’s not an opinion. You might not like it, but that’s the way it is. It might even overtake traditional sports within a few generations, who knows what the future holds? From the initial perspective it’s extremely sensible for us to try and hitch ourselves to that wagon. Get on there first and make all the money before the juggernauts come in and gobble up everything. If we didn’t make ourselves a big player right out of the gate then we would be left fighting it out for the crumbs with Leeds and Leicester and Luton.

‘Shi’s on a Mission from God’

Branding to Attention

The problem with our approach is twofold though. Firstly, we’re alienating our social media fanbase with the way we are acting. You can call them virgins if you want. Most of them probably are. Losers? Maybe. In a relationship with their sock drawer? Yeah, that too. It doesn’t matter if any of that is true or not. What matters is that the socials is where the brand growth is going to take place. You bump up those interactions with vociferous vitriol from the virgins and it’s just castles made of sand. They fall in the sea, eventually. The brand isn’t being grown in a sustainable way.

Secondly, I don’t think we’re seeing any growth or revenue from this. I have to preface this next part with the fact that I’m not 100% sure on any of the finer details of these deals. Everything I’m about to say here is what I’ve been able to find from the limited information from press releases and other vague sources. So take it with a pinch of salt.

All of the headlines for news pieces say variations of “Wolves esports enter into Honor of Kings”. Then when you get to the copy it becomes apparent that it’s our parent company, almighty Fosun, that has invested in Chongqing QGhappy.

Take this article from Strafe, an esports site. The headline says “UK football club Wolverhampton Wanderers gets into Honor of Kings”. The copy says “Fosun Sports, the parent company of Wolves Esports has acquired the Chinese Honor of Kings esports team Chongqing QGhappy.”

So instantly, any revenue that is created through the esports team goes to Fosun. I know that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the more money Fosun makes the more they can potentially invest in us, but it means that the money doesn’t go onto our balance sheet. It means that it doesn’t go towards increasing what we can spend in growing our club. The club aren’t lying when they say they want to increase brand awareness, it’s just that they don’t care about the football side of the brand.

That’s also not necessarily a bad thing either. If the Wolves badge becomes synonymous with success in other areas it can potentially increase the exposure of the football side of the operation. The problem is that this isn’t really working at the moment.

Death by a Thousand Numbers

Russell Jones posted a thread on Twitter yesterday with some impressive numbers. 19 million video views, almost 100 million reads, 220,000 comments and 24,000 threads. These are impressive numbers but Mr. Jones didn’t provide any context to them. They’re just numbers. Being the inquisitive soul that I am, I took a deeper look into things. Now again, some things need to be taken with a pinch of salt because Google translate doesn’t do Chinese perfectly so there can definitely be a few things lost in translation.

My first port of call was the QGhappy Weibo page. It has around 2.5 million fans. It grabbed a massive number of interactions for the announcement of its name change. Over 12,000 comments at last count. That’s certainly impressive, but that’s the QGhappy page, not the Wolves page. A quick look at the Wolves Weibo page sees that we have around a fifth of the number of fans. Over 500,000. That doesn’t really tell us much though. Buying fans or being followed by a deluge of bots is commonplace on social media. The number of fans means nothing. Interactions are what tell us things. A repost of the QGhappy announcement got 67 comments. That was 3 days ago. That is one of the highest number of comments on any of the posts too. The engagement isn’t increasing on the football side of things.

What this is doing is turning Wolves into a brand that can be assimilated into a number of other revenue generating machines. Wolves will bring in huge revenues for Fosun going forwards. Very little of it will be from the football side of things. That’s not intrinsically a negative either. Whether it is negative or positive remains to be seen. If QGhappy increases its revenues through the use of Wolves branding then it would only be right that a portion of that revenue is passed onto Wolves and shown on the balance sheet. If that happens then these deals are of a huge positive to the club and we should all be applauding them.

However, if that doesn’t happen and it just goes into the coffers of Fosun, then perhaps we are being lead down a twisted path. What I will say is that it doesn’t appear the club is outright lying to us about this. Like Russell Jones admitted yesterday in his tweet thread “There is no relation to transfer activity”. What I assume he meant is that they are different departments so the lack of transfer activity is nothing to do with these deals. The problem is, if this revenue doesn’t make its way to the club, then it will have a deeper meaning as well.

Anger can quickly shift from inconsequential social media to real life. That’s something that Fosun should be aware of as they tread down this road towards brand awareness.

Notes From The Front Line

I’ve said a few trimes this blog could do with other voices and other minds and ‘Notes From The Front Line’ is just that. Discovering Wolverhampton through words and through our team. If you have words you would like putting on here contact me and chat. Here for your pleasure are some words from Ben Smallman.

Love

Mikey

Running to standstill

Day 2

Going for a jog – as Wolverhampton ran to a standstill – wasn’t meant to take me there, but something drew me in.

Music in my ears, Deep Heat in my hamstrings and water in my eyes at a landscape I called home.

Henwood Road came and went to a jaunty soundtrack which should have known better and then onto the Tettenhall Road in once stately pomp, looking like the morning after the night before. The smell of weed lingered but I kept on moving. One foot in front of the other. Plane trees swayed, daffodils played and for a split second you’d never know what was up.

‘Cheer up Chapel Ash’ I thought, ‘it might never happen.’ I then got lost in a daydream, for better or worse; a question in my mind for every bead of sweat on my brow.

How is Kate? What would I do without Dad? Was Steve Bull’s left foot goal against Bolton Wanderers in Division 3 his best? Does Jessica see me from afar? Does she know how much I love her? Will my legs stop telling my head to slow down? Will I ever learn to like myself again? The usual kind of stuff.

Iggy Pop interrupted my wandering mind with an ill-timed Lust for Life and there I was, making my way along the Waterloo Road to Molineux like I’d done a thousand times before.

One time in 1988, me and Dad were late for my third ever game when I was a fresh faced nine-year-old – a 3-3 draw with Port Vale. We missed Robbie Earle score for Vale after 37 seconds. We were running on adrenalin when Bully scored at the South Bank in injury time though. Dad, an impenetrable force of good who I’d spend a lifetime failing to emulate, bought me a pin badge for my scarf that day. A little lone wolf on a lustrous gold surround.

Another time, he rushed me home early with a migraine almost 30 years to the day, when Andy Mutch put Wolves ahead against an almighty Leeds United side in blazing sunshine that hurt my eyes. I lay stricken on the back seat on the way home curled up in the foetal position, shielding my pounding head from the sun’s piercing glare; my brain cowering from a sledgehammer’s metronomic thump.

The WM goal-horn sounded at 4.50pm as we entered Bewdley’s Catchems End. Dad breathed a profanity. ‘No, no, no’ he whispered. ‘Don’t. Go. To. Molineux.’

‘Late drama at Birmingham City!’, roared ‘Franksie’ in faux-hysteria. Danger averted, thank God.

“Nearly home Alan, nearly home,” Dad said. Hang on in there and I’ll carry you up into bed before you know it.”

Some days were just meant to be, weren’t they? Leeds United’s David Batty, a striking blonde enforcer who shimmered in the sunshine, made his one mistake of the afternoon – if not the entire season – when passing the ball straight to the feet of our centre-forward Andy Mutch. Mutchy must have thought Christmas had come early, coolly rounding goalkeeper Mervyn Day to slot into an empty net. Life was too easy at times back then, even if it took me three decades to realise. Did the daffodils know any different?

I became a dishevelled shell of that innocent child before I seemed to blink. I’d make the same journey along the same stretch of pavement with my own son Charlie in a circle of life years later, following the exact same path as I used to at his age. Not so much an eight-minute mile, but a suspended snapshot of a better place which had gone in the blink of an eye.

We’d get to the ring road island from the Billy Wright Stand after a game and neither Charlie or I would come up for air, giddily relaying each moment of a Premier League conquest with the veracity of ’88 – when I wore that pin badge for the first time back in Division 3. We’d laugh and cheer in unison and in that moment, my boy’s beaming smile would look so pure I wished I could have pressed pause.

On another day, me and dad would cover the same 800 footsteps without saying a word. It was hard to know what to say in 2002. Harder still when Dad was thinking of mum and I could only fumble a line about Colin Cameron scoring in 47 seconds – 10 more than Robbie Earle in 1988.

“Do you remember that one Dad?’”

I ran a lap of the Molineux without thinking, without seeing a soul. I got to the South Bank and amid the dead of night, I saw a smiling, statuesque Sir Jack Hayward taking guard; the man who built the place back up from rubble when we were scrambling in the remains ourselves. His bronzed thumbs were up high, smiling at a place I couldn’t quite reach.

I didn’t know where I was heading when I stepped foot outside for a jog around town. I never did anymore, truth be told.

But lockdown or no lockdown, it would all still be there when I’d find out.

Dear Guo

Dear Slim, you still ain’t called or wrote, I hope you have a chance
I ain’t mad – I just think it’s fucked up you don’t answer fans

Strange vibes at Molineux Towers Guo. We waited and waited didn’t we? All those slathering policies about getting players in and bolstering the teams campaign for this season seems to have just dissipated like the cigarette smoke under the eaves of the Southbank, blown away off to the Clee hills to our left. Did we refresh and refresh the web page trying to get a quicker look at these beautiful players that were to come in? I did for sure. I believed the Lizards at Molineux. If Bruno said we needed bodies then of course Jeff and Company wouldn’t leave him out to dry would they?…..would they?

Seems like there has been a breakdown in sensibility and process in our Senior Leadership team. The hand picked Gonks who Jeff says he has the utmost confidence in. They ay fit for purpose surely? Not now? Voices raised in the WV1 expensive bit last Sunday. No bar staff, no food, no joy. Long waits for a pint at the bar. The brand experience falling flatter than Bruno Fernandes during the match. Bugging the Corporates out Jeff? Pissing off the money men, the companies you are chasing? Don’t look good. Blow after blow falls on the heads of fans again. 50p to use your own computer and ink to print a ticket because of ‘issues’ with the computer system. Expensive season ticket rises, the Graham Hughes stand falling over, £165 hoodies, the sell sell sell groove starting to thicken the ears of the fan base. I’m not going to go on. It’s negative and shit.

But Guo. Dude. Things are weird here. Things do not seem correct. Things do not seem Chinese at all. I think Jeff has put too much stock in the Leadership team he has assembled. They look like Rabbits caught in the headlights, they are telling untruths and trying to cover it up. Jeff wanders around bobbing his head with total confidence in them when we look, from the outside and are biting our knuckles at the madness.

I know getting players in is tough. I know that the geopolitical storms are rumbling, I know investing money at the moment is fraught and scary. These are things that should bother you and not us. We are the customers buying into your vision and your brand, But the brand, this Fosun/Wolves thing isn’t fit for purpose at the moment. It’s ragged and pale, shoddy, a bit crumpled at the edges. Not bright and beautiful. But a bit sad. Do you want your new customers to see this? This lacklustre leadership, this lack of planning? We can argue all we want about the efficacy of the team. It’s effectiveness now cut right to the bone. How will they cope? Football at this level is a fraught business and you as a Businessman should know that. The communications between the fanbase and the club are awful. I’m not talking about all the new fans you have decided to speak with, the ones who no one has ever seen at the Molineux before we were promoted last time. They do what they will and have their own darkness to deal with. But us, you know…the ones you don’t like are not really engaging with the message. You are speaking with the wrong people Guo. But that’s your policy and who am I to argue with it? I observe and I collect data then I vomit it out into my blog.

The History and Culture of China is one I am familiar with. I have worked with Chinese academics and have been a guest in their houses. I have read much on Geopolitics involving China but I am struggling to engage all of my knowledge about your great nation as regards the running of a little football club that represents my little town. What has gone wrong with the message here? Does Jeff expect that his policy of ripping every pound out of the fan base will alienate the Wolves hierarchy from it’s customers so he has basically shut down his communications? Is he leaving his team of malcontents and money men to take the heat?

The transfer business is an amazing fuck up Guo. It is a complex thing to sort out, especially when Jorge Mendes is probably too busy counting Manchester United money after they bought Ronaldo. Perhaps Jorge has been far too busy looking out for Nuno too. But we can see that he hasn’t been bothered about little old Wolves this transfer window. Instead that business has obviously been left with the Leadership team. One of them wore training shoes with trousers to meet and greet Bruno Lage when he signed up to Coach the team. Training shoes Guo. This man is an Executive at a Premier League club meeting probably one of the best up and coming Coaches in Europe, showing him around Molineux and he wears a pair of raggitty fucking training shoes. I think in my own little brain, that something was up straight away. The question and answer thing was also fraught. No one believed a word of what the Leadership team said. Prompted by pre loaded questions they bumbled and mumbled off the shelf responses, memes, standard operating phrases all the time watching Jeff who interspersed his own focus onto the proceedings throughout. No Guo, I didn’t believe it and trust me, those faceless men who watch from the side lines who have money to invest will also see it. People around the world will have seen it. It was embarrassing. I wouldn’t say they were lying, but there were untruths in there and we could tell. We know these types of men. We never trust them.

Guo, we have some work to do here. The season has started and already we are on the back foot. This whole process was supposed to be about consolidating our position in the Premier League. Investment, shrewd investment in young players scouted from across Europe. Bringing them to play at Wolves where they could learn, develop, increase their price. You make money, we are happy to win, we are happy to take multi millions of pounds from other clubs and replace players with other young hungry footballers ready to learn, develop, play. Instead, this past few days has seen what amounts to a clusterfuck of epic proportions landing on our heads. Who is responsible Guo? Who takes the blame for what will happen in the next few months? We could end up struggling. We could end up in a fight at the end of the season for survival. All it takes is a few key injuries, a few knocks, even a loss of form from key players. That is why we needed bodies. We need depth. This is football not a Mobile Phone factory in the middle of China where you can brow beat the Peasants into more work, more profit and more effort. This is football and we need bodies. People who can play, people who want to succeed. Hungry people.

We support our team and that is all we can do and for the past few years we have also supported the idea of Fosun/Wolves. We may moan about a few things but we supported what you were initially supposed to do. Make us a European force, make us a force in the Premier League. Now that dream seems to be over for the moment. Everything seems drab again but more expensive. We will pay more to be more miserable. Are you getting the message yet? Things are not looking great for us again. Maybe we are moaning, maybe there are variables we don’t know about when it comes to working out transfers but Guo, things don’t look good. Us Wolves fans have been here many times before stretching back into history. We know these feelings and we know they usually end up with us in a lower division with no money again, playing shitty Walsall and Shrewsbury. There is a chance here to do something. Get a Director of football. I think we need direction and planning, some club policy that isn’t written on the back of a cigarette packet. We need a Worldwide scouting system too, something independent of that cocaine addled chancer Jorge Mendes. Something fit for purpose. Invest some money in that. We need a Leadership team with experience and drive, people that are at the cutting edge of Football club management. We need a leadership team that can communicate with their customer base directly and with honesty not with half truths and bullshit. You need to talk and to discuss the wider issues we face too. Finance, lending, ideas, ways to engage with the fanbase and not cherry picked glory hunters. They do not love the club like we do. Guo there is a lot to do man. Let’s put this episode down as a learning experience and a chance to make a clean start. Start getting active and dynamic with your investment, grow it, develop it and do all these things with us. Lets make stuff positive again.

I love you Wolves, when are you going to start loving us?

Wolves V Mike Deans United

You know what? I’m fucking shell shocked. All I can do now after a game against one of the ‘top six’ is just shudder and wander around the wasteland of Wolverhampton town centre gibbering about referees and VAR and ‘Them’ and well….them. I’m sure that’s not part of the ‘fan experience’ or I suppose the brand experience either. But on the football field all is hyper fucking well to be honest. There is movement and there seems to be some sort of intent too. Semedo cutting in the width, shifting his man around, looking up, seeing danger and snuffing it out. Saiss having a resurgence of form, making runs, intelligent runs too. He shuts out players, nicking the ball shutting down. He nearly fucking scored if it wasn’t for that stuffy prick De Gea or whatever. A 0-1 defeat. Was it cruel? Not really, we battered them into a frazzle. United looked jaded and sad. Nothing was moving for them at all. Not the team I have watched in the past. But they are waiting for just a single opportunity. One shot on goal. It’s all they need. Not 100 chances or 200 just the one chance.

But I stand and I expected the beautiful football from us carrying off where the Tottenham game ended. It was beautiful ‘Porn Hub’ football. Why Porn Hub? Well it’s very much a case of yeah it was beautiful and sexy but inherently vacuous and empty and you are left alone again with ejaculate everywhere looking for wet wipes before you stare out of the window or go and look in the fridge for something to eat. Masturbation football where everything feels good at the time but at the end it’s lonely and sad and sticky.

Well we have had 6,928 shots on goal without scoring and man we came so close but I cant remember a time like this unless I look back to when Glen Hoddle was here. That’s unfair maybe but Hoddle was in my mind walking out of the South Bank with my head down and a miserable look…miserabler look on my face than normal. Of course there is no justice in football at all we know that. Things that should be ‘right’ are often not and things that are ‘wrong’ are always right. When it comes to BIGSIX teams anyway. Chatting to Albion Phil Ashmore Parks best Butcher last week we discussed everything about the Premier League and our experiences. They were the same pretty much, and he reeled off a list of grievances that would have doxxed the Mollymix site to a stand still. Referees, Managers, Coaches, players, decisions that were plain wrong, awful refereeing, prices of tickets. All aspects of yesterdays game laid bare among the pork chops, steaks, pork pies, sausages and home made faggots in onion gravy. Are we not entertained? How many United fans in the South Bank yesterday? I counted three in our section. Very quiet bodies they were as well. But they were there and unhassled. Everyone knew, nobody said anything. When Mason Greenwood scored I saw one clench his fist very slowly but he stayed still. Fair play. United in the South Bank, Wolves fans gonking over Pogbas shirt at the end of the match. Shovel fulls of horrible new football shit thrown in your face.

It’s pure football of course, all this angst. People mentioned that Mike Dean had a great game too. Man, I shut my mouth about that one. Adama Traore has the ball though and he flicks it on the outside of his foot and around a United players, Traore bounces past he’s ploughing the Adama furrow towards the United box, He jinks again, he is unfucking playable! There are shouts and expectation, it’s crazy! I look around me and most people have a quick look up from their phones. One dude is talking to his girlfriend, one dude, no two checking accas, others deep in conversation about something but not Traore. Who tumbles to the ground again. Not many noticed. Death by a thousand shots. The expectation that we will score during an attack is low at the moment. We don’t have any Kwan. The Kwan is gone leaving good football, relentless pressure, beautiful movement, pressing, anger sometimes, a feeling of something about to happen…but not yet. Patience? or Apathy? Return to Football being built up as a thing of positivity and advancement but ultimately disappointing. Bouncing up and down in the away end is a cardboard cut out of United favourite Rapist being passed around. There is a dude with his top off who only seems to be sunburned on the lower half of his body. What a weird bunch these Londoners are. It’s good that we hate them with much anger. We know them well. Pogba is rolling around the floor again. Minutes later Bruno Fernandes. Who minutes later is doing it again. There’s nothing wrong with him of course, we were attacking, getting a rhythm going. Great way to disrupt the game. Mike Dean is Mike Deaning now and play is stopped. We gather our thoughts about Fernandes being a wanker and ‘letting him die’ while he rolls around in agony only to throw himself around like a crackhead after a kebab seconds later. Conor Coady is getting angry now. Shows you how the game is going. Someone leans over to chat to me and they have a big wodge of cocaine up their nose. ‘Would you sell him Mikey? Would ya sell him? Would ya let him go?’ I don’t know who he is on about then think maybe it’s Traore. But I haven’t got a mind for Traore at the moment. I don’t understand him at all. Would I sell him? Maybe I would say “Yeah fucking sell him, snap their hand off! I’ll drive him where he wants to go then at the final moment say Nah, he’s fucking great” and that explains Traore to me quite well. I don’t do cocaine but at this moment watching the birds flying over the New stand I could do a bump. Anything to blot out Mike Dean and another united player rolling around like he’s been fucking shot.

Hwang was there. Our new dude from South Korea. We are desperate for him to be honest. We need a new key to unlock defences, to put away chances. He is a new dynamic, a new variable which our attacking frontline will absorb and utilise and find new ways to score, new ways to attack. Because in spite of all the fantastic football we play, something is wrong up front, Is it the style of play? Are we moving too fast? Not giving us time to deploy bodies in the box. How many times did an attack down the channels falter because there wasn’t anyone in the box? Raul deep and nowhere near the area he should have been to receive the ball. This happened many times. The zeist wasn’t fucking geisting in any constructive way. But again it was lovely play. Neves is an absolute God. Joao dicing up United attacks with aplomb. On the walk back to the car I am thinking as I plod up past Saint Peters, past the Lych Gate, up Dudley street, Old Hall street with it’s shit first year student Banksys making a beautiful old building look ugly with shit graffiti. Yes, I am thinking and my feet slapping on the slabs is like a metronome.

Bruno Lage has galvanised our side. Made it beautiful and mad. Todays match will cememnt in our minds how much we have advanced since Nuno left. How weird is it that only now I can look back at last season and wonder how I could write such beautiful things about football that was inherently sad and dull. You never know how much a Coach gets in your head until he has gone. We have advanced and we have got a new vibe in the team. That is a positive. But I think they are stressed these players of ours. I think they are too uptight about how they are playing, like this high press game has to have an integral high stress to go with the high press. We over think things on the pitch. It is almost scientific the way we play. This means that our players are coming on the pitch in a state of mind that doesn’t preclude that front of goal intent. We saw it with Bully years ago. Give him the ball on the edge of the box and we will score probably. Now it’s all about pressing straight into the box and not just putting your foot through it. There was the difference between us and the Mancs. Mason Greenwood was calm and collected when he shot past Sa and there was the goal they wanted. Only one real chance and taken forensically. That is all you need to do. Throw in some showboating, passive refereeing and time wasting and there you have it. How many times have we seen that in the past? A lot. Are we used to it yet? Not really, still pains and still hurts but at least we have something to look forwards to. We have started late I suspect, in bringing in players. We need different dynamics, probably a different set up, new players. I can safely write off some of the upcoming games until the international break. I suspect this period will be the time when Wolves gather some sort of group identity, some sort of collective idea when they play. Pre season until now has been an absolute carnival in terms of setting up a team. There has been no time for Bruno to really impress his ideas onto the team but still we have progressed and moved forwards and there is more movement to come.

But hey. Mike Dean. You sorry little bald headed man. You Jasper Carrot looking freak. I hate it when you officiate our games because I always expect your pantomimes to provoke some emotion from me and they did yesterday. I don’t know what your ego expects from these games but it obviously feeds well. You have swapped adherence to rules and the Philosophy of fair play in sport for abject unfairness and a bastardisation of the act of refereeing. I was disgusted again like I always am. Even channelling passive observation, as I do sometimes, I could not miss the glaring ineptitude of your decisions. You should have stamped down hard on the time wasting and histrionics of this visiting team. As a Referee you should have enforced the rules of the game while allowing it to flow and instead all we recieved was another episode of the Mike Dean show. The story of a Little Bald man making what could have been a good game of football into a stop start shit show of Mike Deans Football Philosophy where BIGSIX teams get all the decisions and all the love. We know what Manchester United are and so should you but you allowed them to ‘Yanited’ all over the pitch again. You bald headed little twat. I was half tempted to walk around the South Bank and give you a few fucks when you walked out of the guts of the Billy. But I would have been nicked so you get off Scot free again.

Shake off the negativity though. We have a fucking long way to go. Watford will be weird again. Do I expect anything from that game. Nah not yet probably. Too bloody early to say. I have my head pointed towards the break and I suspect that is when we will see our side start to get horrible. This game would have effected them I think. I hope there will be some anger happening but also some relaxed minds too. I don’t think you will see Ruben moving to United now. Even if the finacial gains will be stratospheric I suspect Ruben Neves has a beautiful soul and he knows that it would shrivel at ‘Mold Trafford’ that rust bucket of angst.

Fuck it. Onwards.

Captain My Captain

“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.

WolfMind

Another fucking loss, another person taken away by that fucking illness. Depression. I hate it with a passion I can’t describe. I see myself and other buckling often under it’s blows. This isn’t going to be a long diatribe about it or it’s effects on me. Just look at yourself and the way it affects you and dudes, that’s me and it’s them. It’s not weak to admit to suffering, many of the them and women I speak to are tough people, hard as nails. Many of them are reticent to speak and to share and that hurts me. We must open up to each other about it, talk and communicate, discuss this thing without any of the normal piss taking that goes on. I made a Toolkit ya know. About three or four years ago I sat down and worked everything out on how to best destroy this thing or to quiet it down a little at least and that’s the point where I am now. Dealing with it as best I can and ya know what? It’s good and positive, not perfect, not 100% but it works. I’ve written here about what I do and put it in bullet points

  1. Admit to it. The fucking hardest step you will ever take and this one is between you and yourself. You don’t have to talk to anyone about it, this is all you. Admit that you have a problem with depression and how it affects your day to day life. Sit down with a cup of tea and go through all the times our depression has stopped us going out to see friends, go for a meal, enjoy a book, enjoy anything at all. I did this, it was the first time I had admitted to myself that I had a problem, so now that problem is there. I visualised it sitting on the rug and it looked like a Virus, it was as large as a football and it stunk…it was breathing and it was looking at me with hate and violence with it’s bloodshot eyes. This thing was in me and part of me and it always will be. I looked at it and I started to hate it back. Step one done. Once you admit to it you can visualise it as a physical presence. If you are sitting down now gather all those depressive episodes you have had, every bad experience when you have held your head in your hands and wept. Gather them all up and put them in front of you. Mix them all up like you are making a cake on your lap. If you want to close your eyes and pretend you are moulding it in your hands like dough or something. Put everything into it. Ingredients of angst. Pour it all in and don’t leave any emotion out. Then throw it on the floor in front of you. Open your eyes. Look at it.
  2. Know your enemy. There it is sitting on the rug. It has tentacles now because it knows I am looking at it and I have pulled it from the recesses of my mind into the daylight. It looks disgusting. Like dog sick and hairballs, all slimey and gross. It’s eyes are bloodshot. One is cloudy and dim and that’s the one that looks at me now. It fucking hates me. What is it? Why is it affecting me this way? Everyones Monster will be different trust me. The monster is unique to you. You own it. Now you can show the Monster to anyone and they wont recognise it because it’s not theirs. The Monster is yours remember. Get on the internet and research it. Find out what your Monster is. When does it turn up, how it makes you feel, why it turns up. We learn about it because the only way to destroy the enemy is intelligence, research and knowledge. We find out that depression is a physical illness like Cancer and Covid. It is a Mind Virus.
  3. Destroy the Enemy. Now that we know it is some kind of Virus we look at the Monster in front of us. It might have shrunk a little and you have only been looking at it for ten minutes or so. Ten minutes and already the little fucker is scared. It’s shivering a bit because it’s not in those warm dark spaces in your mind where you feed it and look after it. It’s out in the daylight where it can’t hide any more. You may want to laugh at it at this point because it’s out of your head. Go on, laugh at it. Point at it. What a little wanker it is. A little ball of fucking wank. Now ask yourself why it controls you. This thing that looks like a cabbage. You may want to stand up now so you are taller than the Depression cabbage. Stare at it, make it uncomfortable. Call it a Little Wanker. It’s not going to do anything because its a wanker and it’s outside your head now and in the open. Take a good lungfull of air now. Really fucking breathe like you haven’t for a long time. Get that good air into your lungs. Straighten your back as you look at it. Pull your shoulders back, push your chest out. Time to fuck it up Ladies and Gentlemen.
  4. Punch it in the eye. Now you are up straight whack the fucking thing right in the eye. Visualise yourself whacking it. A good hard right hook. You see you are more than worth it. You are fucking brilliant. People love you deeply and that fucking thing on the floor is stopping you realise this. It tries to escape by pulling itself along by a tentacle, it’s trying to get under the chair. Tread on the tentacle. Don’t let it get away. Yes, you are beautiful and you never knew it. You are a good friend when the monster is asleep. You are entertaining and funny when the monster is asleep. You love and you are loved… when the monster is asleep. You are good at your job, you are valuable, you are an asset, you are a good person…when the monster is asleep. You notice it’s eye is leaking where you whacked it. Don’t have any feelings of compassion with it. It is part of you but it is not you. Its making strange sounds now, little squeaks and mewls. It’s shapeless mouth trying to make sounds…but it can’t because it’s not in you at the moment. It’s outside you. This is the little bastard that when you are looking in the mirror ready to go out says shitty horrible things. You are ugly, your hair looks shit, you are fat/thin, you are a waste of space, no one likes you. It makes you eat shit food because you are shit. It makes you fucking horrible because it tells you that you are horrible. You start drinking a lot because when you drink the voice gets quieter and you feel free from it for a bit. But the alcohol makes you feel more shit and that’s why the Monster goes quiet. You are doing it’s job for it.
  5. Kick it in the balls. It’s balls are dangling out of it. They are like a pair of Walnuts. Draw your leg back and boot it in the bollocks. This is where we reach out. Who are your friends? What are they like? Who has spoken to you today? Who has sent you a text? Who do you always go to the football with? Who visits you? These people are your strength. These people are your medicine. Spend more time with these people. Not the cool people you want to be friends with, who you think should be your friends but the people who really look after your interests. The ones that always get a spare ticket and you are the first to be offered it. The dudes who ask you where you are and always have a pint ready for you when you walk into the pub. The ones that want your opinion on things. Take this time as an opportunity to sort your mates out. Make a list of them. Good on one side and bad on the other. Now concentrate on the good ones. These are the people you should be talking to. Forget the others. They feed the virus. You don’t need them.
  6. Smash it in the teeth. Left hook. It shrieks. Who are you today? Who were you yesterday? Positive things only. Have you made someones day today? Have you been a good friend? Through life we are like a team of Football players and the players should be excellent in what they do so we formulate a team made up of all the things we are today and not the negative team we were yesterday. We build the team like Bruno is doing with Wolves. So we want players who can play, players who are technically brilliant. For players read acts that make us better people. Make sure everything or almost everything you do is a positive thing. Have some empathy with others, start to make yourself a better person through acts of kindness. Start to listen to people and learn about them, utilise all the aspects of what makes them great to make yourself great. Treat these little aspects of what makes these people great as applications you can download to your own mind to make the life experience scroll through our lives as seamlessly as we possibly can.
  7. Poke it in the eye. Our mind Virus isn’t doing too well. It’s leaking a bit and is totally blind now. Time to sort your shit out. This means a number of things and it’s all you. Forget about all the wrongs in the world and all the negative shit. This is the mind virus affecting how you see the world. A good way to deal with this is to halt negative shit from entering your mind. Social Media is a good place to start this process. Block people and accounts that make you feel crap. It’s simple. Just block, remove and mute. Get rid of them. Turn off the TV News. Stop reading about Politics and World events. Start following positive people, people who create things, people who laugh often. Start thinking of the information you absorb as bad fast food crawling in maggots. You wouldn’t eat it so stop chewing over it. Your body and mind is really a beautiful place. Clean it out. Extrapolate that to your personal space. Tidy your house as you would your mind. Sort your crap out. Put it back in it’s place. Get a duster and some polish and go on a mad cleaning spree. Don’t leave anything untouched or uncleaned. Your mind is affected by environment. The Mind Virus thrives on mental and physical disorder. Do not give it an environment in which it will be strong.
  8. Rip it’s tentacle off. It’s a little hard and slimy you can’t quite get a grip. But hold tight and pull. Then ‘pop’ it comes off. Chuck it away. Now the little fucker can’t escape. Honesty. It’s a fucking hard road. The mind virus thrives on your personal fictions, your bullshit. It gives the virus a fertile bed to grow. People should love you for being just yourself. You may not have a glamour job, you may be broke most the time, your car is a bit shit, you don’t have the latest Wolves shirt. No one fucking cares. Really, honestly, no one gives a shit. If they judge you by what you own and do for a living them they are people you shouldn’t be throwing your energy at. True positive people will love you for what you are not what you have or have planned for your life. So stop the lies and bollocks you spout. It’s time for being honest. The mind virus thrives in the darkness of your bullshit. Deprive it of this energy.
  9. Boot it up the wall. Drag your leg back and fucking Ruben Neves that thing off the wall. You hit it, it’s a sweet shot, toe bunter. It shrieks as it flies through the air and squidges up the wall. It’s fucking wailing now this mind virus. Have a laugh at it. You see you are fucking brilliant really. That little depressing voice is something we all have. We all have a mind virus inside us and it is part of us whether we like it or not. Some peoples Virus is a quiet timid thing with a voice that weedy it sounds like the Ultras section at Palace away. The way we deal with that voice depends on the tools we have to deal with it. But we all have it. As it is part of us we can also utilise the mind virus for good positive things. You see it always lies. It can never tell the truth. So you can look in the mirror and when that Tshirt you bought looks a bit tight and your tits are sticking out it will call you a fat useless bastard. Perhaps you are a bit overweight, but that can be sorted out by eating a bit healthier. It can be sorted out by going for a short jog around the park. Perhaps you are a scruffy bastard but that’s ok too. Put a shirt on, wear some shoes instead of trainers, comb your hair. Be nice to people and you will be shocked how nice people are back. It doesn’t matter if they are ignorant back because they are on their own journey and that journey isn’t yours. Don’t let peoples negativity affect you. They are Vampires, they use your energy for their own nefarious purposes. Don’t give them your energy. Pass them by, be the water not the rock. Rocks get worn away by the fact they are immobile and in one place. Be the water instead and flow around problems by being flexible and honest in the way you deal with the world.

That’s my toolkit for my depression. That is how I get on in the world. This mad insane world. Some of you might find something useful in this blog. I hope so. It breaks my heart when people struggle, I don’t like it. You all have something to give in this world. I want to find out what it is. I want to know your world so I can make mine a better place and one less person to talk with and share experiences is a loss I don’t want. The Mind Virus is shivering in fear so I pick it up and put it back inside my head. There will be times when it is strong and it starts to peck away at my mind again because it is part of me and part of all of us. But when we know what it is that voice it has that wheezes at you in the early mornings will be quieter and not as loud. Share your fucking experiences, talk to people, if they don’t listen then find someone who will. Talk to me, I promise I will drop everything to help you and in turn for you to help me. We need each other to get through this mad life and no one gets through it without help. Be as strong as you can but when you can’t be strong then someone, somewhere will stretch out a hand I promise.

Bless