Cheer up Mick, it might never happen! Oh...wait...so where now for Wolves?
As we sat in the darkest corner we could find in Wolverhampton’s Electricity Club at 15:35 on Sunday 13 February 2012, we just knew it was all over for Mick McCarthy after nearly 6 years at Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. I nursed the last bottle of Oxford Gold in the club and stared blankly at Sky Sports News waiting for the inevitable strap line to appear across the bottom of the screen.
The mood in the place was unusually sombre; it wasn’t that we had lost to the second biggest club with a Birmingham post code and telephone area code, but the abject cluelessness of the ‘performance’.
Actually, pantomime would have been more accurate.
Unlike a lot of my colleagues, I don’t hate the Albion – far from it, they play good football and a lot of my friends are Baggies fans. But what I do loathe is losing 1-5 to any club. At home.
It is unacceptable.
I cannot remember ever having seen the ground start to empty so quickly or so early before the end of a game. Not even when we were sliding down the divisions in the 1980s and the club secretary used to ring me from a call box on the Waterloo Road to ask what time I would like the game to start.
I cannot remember ever having seen the ground start to empty so quickly or so early before the end of a game
My wife, who usually shares my Molineux misery, was at home in bed with a bad bout of ‘flu, so I was in the Steve Bull stand with Olly. We were both numb as former Wolves ‘crab’ Keith Andrews drove in the 4th and aped Bully’s famous aeroplane celebration, becoming uncomfortably numb-er when Odem-thingy made it 5.
Mick the Postie had already walked out in disgust, off to self-medicate with some trays full of msg from his local take-away.
Beneath us, the travelling fans were beside themselves with glee, and why shouldn’t they have been? They had played us off the park, spanked our bottoms, sent us to bed without any tea and let the tyres down on our car. Yet our blunt-talking Yorkshire boss seemed to have no response, nor any clue as to what to do. Later in the evening, Mick apologised for the result, something I have rarely heard before, let alone from someone with such self-belief as McCarthy.
Michael Joseph McCarthy is a manager who divided the fans. I hold my hands up to the fact that I did not want him at the club when he arrived in WV1. Slowly, however, he started to change my opinion with results…but then he’d go and blow it with a completely bonkers team-selection.
On his appointment he claimed his initials did not stand for Merlin the Magician and a couple of times I actually thought he was, but unfortunately they were too few and far between.
Mick put some pride back into a Wolverhampton Wanderers seemingly lobotomised by Glenn Hoddle. We gained players under the young and hungry policy who would seemingly run through a brick wall for the shirt and we started to win games in the old second division.
Mick put some pride back into a Wolverhampton Wanderers seemingly lobotomised by Glenn Hoddle
However, I was absolutely livid when he capitulated to Manchester United before a ball had even been kicked – how any manager can admit to not trying to win every game is utterly beyond me. It was always going to be downhill for me and Mick after that. Despite the fact that during his tenure we won the Championship and he managed to get us into the Premiership.
He struck me as a thoroughly decent bloke, a fact confirmed by several of my former Sports reporting chums, knowledgeable about these things. He spent a fair wedge of money, but our defence is still utterly shocking (no clean sheet in 22 games), as has been most of our play this season.
There is plenty of talent at Wolves, but for some reason it just hasn’t gelled this season. These players must take some of the blame for so many non-performances and ultimately the dismissal of the guy who brought them to the club. Things reached a new low following January’s Liverpool game in which we were given a footballing lesson by Steve Morgan’s boyhood team. Our Liverpudlian owner stormed into the dressing room and apparently went ballistic following the debacle. Did this undermine ‘Super Mick’s’ authority over his players? I doubt we will ever know for sure.
Wolves won the next game, albeit against 10 man QPR at Loftus Road, but on Sunday we would have been given a sound thrashing by East Sheen reserves. Mick has enjoyed unstinting backing from Morgan, but his position was untenable from the final whistle, as booing sadly filled the ground.
Generally the Wolves fans have also backed Mick, despite a severely narked McCarthy offering to fight anyone following the game against newly-promoted Swansea in October, when chants of ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ rang around the ground.
Where do we go from here? The usual suspects (Bruce, Warnock etc) are being touted in the media, but surely it would be folly to appoint someone who is essentially a Mick clone? Chris Hughton has done a sterling job at Birmingham City under difficult circumstances. Swansea and Norwich have managers who have moulded second division teams into exciting ball-playing units that win games.
Our humiliation by the Baggies demonstrated what an excellent job Roy Hodgson is doing at the Hawthorns. Alan Curbishley may have been out of the game for a few years, but could maybe come in until the end of the season and see how it goes.
The name Ole Gunnar Solskjær has been bandied about in some circles. The ‘baby-faced assassin’ is currently in his first managerial role at Molde in Norway and last season guided them to their first league trophy in 100 years. You don’t do that in any league if you haven’t got something special.
the axe has fallen and it is up to the club to make a suitable appointment to stabilise one of England’s oldest clubs
It is a curious time to sack a manager; we have 13 games to retain our hard-won Premiership status, the blinds have been drawn on the transfer window and we are in the relegation zone. But the axe has fallen and it is up to the club to make a suitable appointment to stabilise one of England’s oldest clubs.
In a bizarre piece of symmetry, West Brom were one place above where Wanderers find themselves and had 13 games to save their backfiring season when they appointed Roy Hodgson almost exactly a year ago and he guided them to safety; so maybe, just maybe I can put my map of football league grounds back in the attic.
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