Saturday, July 29, 2006
Rob Edwards for Wolves (vs Swansea), 22nd July 2006
"My initials stand for Mick McCarthy, not Merlin the Magician" Mick McCarthy realises that he wasn't the first-choice candidate for the job as manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
I go away for 8 measley days and this happens?
Actually, whisper it quietly, but I think this could actually be a very sensible decision. Wolves like to see themselves as a big club, a sleeping giant.... but the reality of it is that we are a solid Championship club: never likely to be seriously threatened with relegation, but never really likely to be any more than a long shot for promotion. Wolves were promoted back into the second-tier of English football in 1989, and in all the time since then we have only made it to the play-offs three times, finally gaining promotion (for a single season) in 2002/3. The expectation and the money invested in the team mean that we start every season as one of the favourites for automatic promotion. The simple truth though is that we just haven't been good enough or consistent enough to merit it. A succession of managers have thrown money at the problem, but instead of unearthing another Steve Bull (£64,000 from West Brom in 1986, 306 goals for Wolves in all competitions) we have been left with a squad full of big-time charlies who simply do not justify their salaries with their performances on the pitch.
It's high time that the club stopped pretending it is anything other than what it is: a Championship side that needs to build some solid foundations before it can seriously hope to achieve a place in the Premiership. The Premiership parachute payments have now finished and many of the stalwarts of the last few years have left the club: Kenny Miller, Colin Cameron, Paul Ince, Mark Kennedy, Jolean Lescott..... We need a pragmatic manager who can start again and build a side that will first and foremost be consistent and hard to beat - something that Wolves haven't been for many, many years. It's no good being able to beat the best sides in the division, as Wolves have long been able to do, if you also make a habit of losing to some of the worst.
So I for one welcome the dawning of the McCarthy era at Molineux. I would have loved for Glenn Hoddle to have have been able to build a side based on his own image as a player, but he simply wasn't able to do it in the rough and tumble of the Championship. If McCarthy is able to forge a side that displays some of his attributes as a player, then I will be a happy man. It will be far less flashy - sure - but it will also be determined, gritty and driven to squeeze the maximum return from the talent available (and with only 16 players in the first team squad, this could be tricky). McCarthy's plain speaking will also come as a breath of fresh air after Hoddle's gobbledy-gook.
Will this improve Wolves' chances of promotion in the coming season? Perhaps. Are we likely to challenge for an automatic promotion slot? well..... let's just say it's a shame that Merlin the Magician wasn't available.....
The goal? The first (and so far only) one scored for Wolves under the new management. 4 goals conceded.