Wolves are a team in trouble ahead of today's match with Blackburn, not just the sort of trouble that used to get you a slap across the back of the legs at school, but the sort of trouble that used to get you sent to the headmaster for a good sound thrashing. Since the capitulation at home to dear neighbours West Bromwich, they travelled to Craven Cottage and watched like extras from Madame Tussauds as Fulham put 5 goals past them without breaking sweat. Fortunately the Cottagers had obviously adopted ‘Easy like Sunday Morning’ as their tune of the day; otherwise it could have been a cricket score.
It would be fair to say Terry Connor has experienced a rocky start to his stewardship of the club, further compounded on the day after the Fulham drubbing by defender Roger Johnson turning up unfit for training. Johnson was disciplined and fined, but retained his position as club captain. He was an unused substitute at Craven Cottage, but despite the indiscretion he is in contention for a place against Blackburn at Molineux. The defender has not enjoyed the best of times since his multi-million pound move from Birmingham City and his form has been patchy to say the least.
Blackburn Rovers are also a club in trouble, floundering around in the lower reaches of English football’s Premier division, albeit a place higher than Wolves on goal difference going into Saturday’s Premiership meeting. Both clubs are founder members of the Football League and boast proud histories with plenty of success – Rovers are one of only four clubs to have won the Premier League since its inception and Wolves are the one club to have been champions of every division of the football league. Both have won the FA and League cups on numerous occasions.
Oh, and if you get a telephone call from someone called Rodge on Friday night asking if you fancy a swift half of shandy, do not be tempted to accept
Both sets of fans share a dislike of their Boards, with Blackburn fans protesting against owners Venky's – the Indian poultry processing group, on a regular basis. Various Wolves fan groups have been rumoured to be arranging a protest before Saturday’s game over the farcical goings on surrounding the sacking of Mick McCarthy and subsequent appointment of his assistant Terry Connor. If Wolves play, and I use the term loosely, like they did at Fulham then things will almost certainly get a tad more uncomfortable for owner and housing developer Steve Morgan.
So, with 3 points at a premium, how do Wolves beat Blackburn?
As Terry is new to this management lark, here’s my advice for whatever team Mick advises him to pick:
1) Stop backing off the opposition and close them down as quickly as you can and that doesn’t just mean flying into them willy nilly and getting yourself sent off.
2) Have a shot, go on any shot – just pull back your foot and welly the round white thing in the direction of the big oblong white thing with the netty-bit at the back. It doesn’t matter whether it’s from 3 yards or 30 yards, you never know, it might just end up in the back of the onion sack, and then how good will you feel?
3) If you suddenly find yourself with the ball at your feet, look around and see if you can spot a team mate in space, it will be fairly obvious that he is indeed part of the same team, as he will be wearing a similar incorrectly coloured shirt. When you have found one, pass the ball to him and move into space yourself.
4) Similarly, if you do find yourself with the football during the 90 or so minutes of combat, do not under any circumstances aimlessly hoof it, hoping that it will become someone else’s problem and you can continue with your afternoon nap before checking your pools coupon on Final Score.
5) If you see a colleague in trouble with several Blackburn players around him, have a look and see if you can move somewhere that will allow him to release the ball to you and you can then advance towards the opposition goal. This is called support and lots of successful teams do it.
6) That nippy little bloke with the number 17 on his back is actually trying to achieve the same thing as you – he’s trying to win a game of football, so it’s ok to pass the ball to him. His name is Matthew Jarvis.
7) If you see a ball bobbling around in the opposition penalty area, make sure you are close enough to smash it goal-wards, just on the off-chance. Do, however, make sure it is the opposition’s goal and not your own.
8) Remember – teams change ends at half-time and after your chummy chat with Terry at the mid-point, you will be playing towards the other end.
9) Look as if you are half interested. Most of you earn more in a month than a large proportion of the crowd earn in a year or a life time, is it any wonder they get a tiny bit miserable when you look like you’d rather be watching ‘T.O.W.I.E.’?
10) If you apply most of the above points from 3pm on Saturday, then all being well you will have the Molineux crowd behind you and you are well on the way to 3 points.
Oh, and if you get a telephone call from someone called Rodge on Friday night asking if you fancy a swift half of shandy, do not be tempted to accept. Merely set your alarm to ensure prompt arrival at the ground on match day, drink your camomile tea, and have an early night.
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