Following Wolverhampton Wanderers’ draw with Manchester United last weekend at Old Trafford, pundit and England Women’s manager Phil Neville made a comment on the BBC’s Match of the Day 2 programme that I really didn’t overthink.
Stumbling over the reaction to it on social media today, clearly others have more time on their hands and I can only assume some in the wider football world are running a little bit scared given our ambitions and our development in the last few seasons.
Neville stated simply:
“I think they’re the best side that has ever come up from the Championship. They’re brilliantly coached, Nuno has the balance right between defending with strength and numbers, and the attacking quality in midfield. They have spent money but they’ve got quality players.”
Some United fans took exception to that and they were joined by various others, and I’ll pick out a couple of comments to demonstrate their ire below.
— Steve Cross (@StevenCross81) September 25, 2018
Wolves have a first 11 and at least half have played champions league football ,Phil Neville is bang on ,BEST EVER ????
— lcooper (@jakaban) September 25, 2018
— Ollie Weaver (@ollieweaverx_) September 23, 2018
He’s such a poor pundit. Definitely the worst on the #MOTD panel
— Jamie Westwood (@westers_10) September 23, 2018
This is just ridiculous. After 6 games to make a comment like that. Forest finished 3rd 94-95 season. You can’t say best ever to come up after 6 bloody games. Christ almighty #MOTD2
— Paul Hennessy (@paulhennessy2) September 24, 2018
Blackburn finished 4th in their first Premier League season. Does he reckon Wolves will top that?!
— Joel Bellamy (@JoelBellamy) September 23, 2018
If wolves finished 7th and got a Europa spot then yes I agree with him, teams strength and quality is much higher than 5 years ago imo
— mark (@mark_forrester1) September 23, 2018
FFS pal yes it was an achievement but also Wimbledon finished 6th and Swindon, Sheff Utd & Oldham went down, although footy for a fan was great back then the standard isn't close to now in the PL.
You lost 12 games & finished 3rd. Doubt a top 4 side gets to double figures now?
— Steve Williams (@OddjobMacruna) September 25, 2018
Have a day off. Forest got promoted then finished 3rd in the prem.
Let’s see if wolves do the same
— Ross Whalin (@RossWhalin) September 23, 2018
You could say ‘you would’, but I think Neville is right. No-one is running down the sides others mentioned but we’re straying into the realms of is Diego (cheat) Maradona or Lionel Messi the better player?’ for me.
You can make comparisons with Ronaldo, stick to a strict position and debate whether Marco van Basten or Pele had the greater eye for a goal?
You’re debating football at the time vs football from a different time so it’s a circular opinion where nobody is right or wrong. It’s based on assumptions drawn from how you rate the players.
We are the best side to be promoted and come up from the Championship.
Technical skill, player quality, the range for potential growth of individual players – let alone as a team – as a club at all levels.
If the winds blow right and we get some luck on the way, we have the foundations to more quickly dominate and keep ourselves up there like Manchester City did all those years ago, Chelsea before them…Manchester United did it in a different way.
Do we have the best depth is a different question. Compared to the likes listed by opposition fans, again football was different and didn’t have the same pecking order we see in the Premier League now, so can we reach third this year, that is also a different question.
They aren’t comparable for me so it’s specious to even try and you’d only try and compare if you wanted to dig and were worried in my humble.
It appears some opposition fans may well have more faith in us storming the league this year than more level-headed Wolves fans do who appreciate it will take time.