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Kingy’s Wolves Blog

SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY 1

09-02-2010

Two very different sides of the same Sunday afternoon St Andrews coin. The first comes from Wolves fan Brendan King.

It was a blast from the past when I arrived at St Andrews, home of Birmingham City, with my Brummie-supporting brother. At Molineux, I’m used to a pristine football ground with modern designed, matching, stands, surrounded on three sides by massive parking spaces and clear concourses for visitors to move around and socialise freely.

To reach the Gil Merrick (Railway) Stand entrance, we drove up a narrow, semi-residential, dead-end street and parked (with permission) on double yellows by dint of displaying my disabled drivers parking badge. People in houses were actually living tooth and jowl alongside a massively crowded Premiership football club!

It reminded me of when Wolves were in the third and fourth divisions and I visited many similar grounds that had changed little since the 1930s. I’d last watched a match at St Andrews in the seventies and little seemed to have changed since then.

And, after entering the ground, I found my Wolves heroes following me, as they seemed to be using the same entrance pathway to get from their dressing rooms onto the pitch. As we left, I mingled with the dejected Wolves players that had just let a 70 minute-long 0-1 lead slip to a 2-1 defeat in the last ten minutes of the match.

Since first scoring against Wolves when playing for Watford over 20 years ago, 36 year old veteran, Kevin Phillips, has routinely scored devastatingly against the Molineux men,usually turning the tables and mortifying Wolves fans with his cold blooded winners, as he did most cruelly on this occasion.

My most seared memories of Kevin were whenever Sunderland came to Molineux in the late nineties, early 2000’s, but also when he played for Southampton and then, recently, in deadly local derbies with our biggest rivals West Bromwich Albion.

So when, with Wolves holding determinedly onto a first half lead struck by our superb Kevin Doyle, Phillips was brought on in the last 20 minutes (following his recovery from groin injury) a tremor of dread ran amongst the Wolves faithful in the Gil Merrick stand (a Blues goalkeeping and manager hero, sadly deceased this week, prompting a memorial applause ceremony, carried out poignantly before kick-off).

That fear, that Phillips would once again prove our nemesis, became devastatingly true, as ‘Super-Kev’ (as Baggies fans used to refer to him) rattled in two goals in the last 10 minutes -- two goals that may well be remembered as the terminal nail in our Premiership coffin.

Wolves fans, as they dejectedly funnelled down the cramped residential streets of Small Heath, from the untidy blue blob that is St Andrews, looked resigned to life in the Championship next season.

The mutterings I overheard, as I waited for the throngs to disperse before attempting to drive my car out of town in the direction of Wolverhampton, were all about Mick McCarthy not having the nous or gumption to be a Premiership manager. And that he should have been sacked in mid-December, when he disgracefully waved the white flag against Manchester United.

The shock of Sunday’s result, on visiting a club with many empty seats around an old and tired stadium and who could only muster 24,000 subdued supporters ( the most vocal, until the last ten minutes, being from Wolves) for a local derby with the team in a brilliant eighth position in the table, has dispirited Wolves supporters beyond all measure. “We should be able to do better than these lot”, must have been the thoughts in our dispirited fans’ minds. It certainly was in mine.

Our last home match had been an electrifying floodlight glory of an evening match against Liverpool, with virtually 29,000 spectators and not an empty seat in sight. The same full attendance and fervour will be evident when the next three quick succession of home matches finds us facing first Spurs (next Wednesday) and then Chelsea, followed by Manchester United, all before this winter of Wolves discontent is barely out.

In between is an away fixture with Bolton Wanderers, followed by another away mach against Burnley. As spring ‘Marches’ in, I reckon, by then, Wolves will know their fate for sure. Can we get any points at home against the top teams? Can we do the double over the other Wanderers? And what will those other teams around us achieve over the next several weeks?

Wolves not only have to get several very difficult points from top teams, with a lack lustre squad of Championship quality players (excepting super Kevin Doyle) but they are now in the hands of other clubs who can’t in any way muster the huge fan base and fervent support generated by the faithful Wolves followers.

Do the Wolves ill-starred board and management deserve such a huge and loyal following as that delivered by the fans of Wolverhampton Wanderers? A club that should really by now have become established and thriving within the Premiership!

The answer ringing out from all Wolves fans with whom I communicate, is that they certainly do not! And that, in the end, those who run and finance Wolves and sign up and select the players, will be put to the sword by those very same loyal fans, unless this great and illustrious football club finds a way to maintain long term, successful, Premiership football. The writing is now on the wall and matters at Wolves are very, very serious indeed.

Read Sunday Bloody Sunday 2 here

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