A simple memo to all those having their say on the current negativity and goings-on at Molineux.
Mick McCarthy and his Wolverhampton Wanderers side have come in for dogs abuse recently, some of it maybe justified, the majority perhaps not. The atmosphere during the match against Swansea was certainly Molineux at it’s hostile worst, no question.
After a run of successive defeats, and successive poor performances (it is here where the manager and supporters differ, McCarthy believing some defeats to have been unfortunate – Newcastle at home) whilst supporters have seen disappointing performances from key, albeit out-of-form, individuals – Jamie O’Hara, Roger Johnson and Matt Jarvis stand up – play a big part in the sides recent poor run.
Combined this has played a big part in creating a negative atmosphere around the place so far this season, after a summer where the talk emanating from the club was of a top-10 finish, a decent cup run, and an ever-improving stadium rather than a relegation dogfight.
But now, the signs are of struggle and a section – for it remains only a section, even though it has become increasingly more vocal – of fans are venting their frustrations. The way they are going about doing so is seen as idiotic in some quarters. It certainly won’t prove helpful to the team, of that I am in agreement.
But then again, neither will the manager’s two big summer purchases, Johnson and O’Hara, both having played nowhere near their best of late, laying into supporters through the media either. Nor will McCarthy’s attitude of being up for a fight with just about anyone – his press conference post Swansea had a touch of Kevin Keegan’s infamous “Love it” rant back in 1996. Players are sniping at fans, fans are verbally abusing players. It’s all very tit-for-tat, and its just adding to the unseemly atmosphere about the club, which were they around today would have club legends Stan Cullis and Billy Wright left utterly bewildered.
There are many questions about why Molineux has become such a cauldron of negativity, a place where the home side fears making a mistake, a vitriol of abuse should something go wrong, all of a sudden?
However, these questions are not new.
For it has always, as far as I can remember – the last 18 years then – been like this.
Wolves fans can get upset all they want at the following statement, but they are amongst the most fickle supporters in the country. Exceptionally quick to turn as soon as something goes wrong, whether it be in one match or in a succession of matches, always ready to summon some kind of quick fix.
I must say the only time it hasn’t been this way was during McCarthy’s early tenure at the club, when Wolves supporters were just happy to have a team on the pitch putting in the necessary effort after the disaster that was the Glenn Hoddle era. They were very vocal in their backing of a side put together for peanuts, after years of throwing Sir Jack Hayward’s chequebook at just about anything it could be thrown at, and for McCarthy, a manager given a new lease of life after things had gone wrong at Sunderland.
The vicious abuse when things go wrong from a vocal minority of supporters at Molineux isn’t new. It’s always been there. Graham Taylor experienced it as Wolves were beaten in the play-offs by Bolton Wanderers – despite finishing in second place that season. He was soon hounded out the following year (before taking Watford, into the top-flight). Mark McGhee, though hardly helped by his own demeanour, was on a hiding to nothing straight away as his face simply didn’t fit. Dave Jones was on death’s row with the club in mid-table obscurity before an FA Cup third round match against Premier League Newcastle in 2003. Wolves won 3-2, went on a tremendous run of form and were promoted through the play-offs come May. Hoddle, well don’t get me started on just how wrong that went.
The point is it isn’t new. And it isn’t all supporters. There are many that will defend their team to the hilt, will get behind them and be supportive no matter the struggles. They’d be called naive, blinded by their own sides failings. There are those that will always moan, no matter how good things are, supporters who will always see the glass as half empty and think that the grass is always greener somewhere else.
Whether change at Molineux would be for the better is completely irrelevant at the moment as it has not happened. To speculate would be to undermine, if supporters and club staff aren’t already undermining one another enough at the moment anyway.
“You don’t know what you’re doing” was the cry from the South Bank on Saturday. Where this constant stream of distain going back and forth is concerned, I’m not sure anyone does anymore.