Last night my wife was very restless. When, in the morning, I asked her the reason why, she said that she was really concerned about the prospect for world peace and the problem of poverty in the Third World. That`s nothing, I replied, I couldn`t sleep for worrying about the composition of our midfield against West Ham United this Saturday. She only understood the depth of my anxiety when I likened our manager`s selection policy to Cheryl Cole`s choices for the final of X-Factor.
I am not the only person, who is giving the matter some thought (the Wolves line-up, that is, not Mrs. Cole`s choices: she must have a regret or two!). The loss of Henry and Guedioura has provoked a barrage of blogs, all suggesting the names of players, who should get the nod. It must be serious because Mick and supporters alike are extolling the merits of Milijas and Edwards and even considering putting them in the same team. If only we had a player called Miliwards, a midfielder who combined the silky skills of the Serb with the enthusiasm and energy of the Welshman (silky skills = a talented player with a laid-back approach to running around; enthusiasm and energy = a player with the opposite attributes).
At least, everyone agrees that Hunt should play, his imminent arrival on the scene being viewed by the faithful as akin to the Second Coming (although, in his case it would be the First Coming). I, too, think that Hunt`s appearance on the pitch will materially improve our chances of survival. Even so, we should not expect too much of him too soon (for Mick the probation period appears to be two matches – except for his favourites, of course). Hunt has been recovering from injury for months and even a player as ‘punchy` as he is (clearly, our type of player!) will require time to adjust.
I expect MM to start with a 4-4-2 formation because it`s a match we must win. With Hunt and Jarvis out wide and Doyle and Fletcher up front (Doyle`s knee willing) we have the men to make it work. Perhaps, we`ll actually see them playing in their proper positions. As both ‘wingers` do not shirk the task of dropping back to help out in defence, they tick the manager`s ‘putting in a shift` box too. With Berra and Ward in the back four we certainly need divine intervention, so let`s hope that Hunt is truly the Messiah. No pressure then, Stephen.
To pursue the theological analogy further, I shall be following the star to his birthplace (as a Wolves player) this Saturday. I will be sitting in … err … the gods, at the top of the Billy Wright stand, cheering on the team. It`s my first home game since 1960 and I am viewing the prospect with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. I`ve not felt this nervous about the outcome of a match since Glenn Hoddle managed the club (even with his direct line to the Almighty).
I will hardly recognize the ground either. The only time I have visited the new Molineux was to park the car when I took my mum shopping in the town seven years ago. As it was the summer of 2003, I popped into the club shop to buy a replica shirt. Hmm! How many other fans have hidden their Doritos strip in the far recesses of the wardrobe or even in the car tool-box? It`s a little embarrassing walking along the streets of suburban Surrey clad in a shirt emblazoned with the logo of a cardboard-flavoured crisp. I prefer my Welsh rugby shirt. Even so, I would accept abject Welsh failure in the Six Nations rugby tournament for the foreseeable future in return for a Wolves survival in the Premiership this season.
I am also worrying about how I am going to travel to Molineux. Should I drive up and, if I do, where will I park the car? In the late 1950s my dad took me on his BSA Bantam motorbike to West Park and we walked from there, aware that 100,000 other people would be converging on the ground (that`s what it seemed like to a twelve-year old). If I catch the train, I may get mixed up with the WHU crowd. Surely, this will not present a problem on the way up, as long as I keep my mouth shut, but it might be difficult on the return journey (let`s hope so but in a peaceful way … and as long as I avoid a celebratory whoop or two). It would be ironic if the police forced me to march through the streets of the town with the rival lot, suffering the jeers of my fellow-supporters. Note, should you see a rather distracted, detached ‘WHU` fan, give him the thumbs-up, it will probably be me!
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