I was in a quandary yesterday. I could either go to the match and risk divorce or I could accompany my wife to a family get-together in Derbyshire and, as a ‘numpty`, incur the wrath of our manager. In the end, I pleased no-one. On the one hand, I argued with my wife, having pointed out (reasonably, I thought) that she ought to have checked out the WWFC fixture list before making such arrangements. On the other hand, MM was not happy with me either, grumbling that because I had missed the match I was not a true fan.
Returning from lunch with my wife`s relations at 3.30 p.m., I managed to persuade my brother-in-law to allow me to use his laptop. I accessed the official blog transmission (I didn`t dare tune in to the Beacon broadcast) and was pleased to read that we had not given away a goal of any sort, never mind a soft one. It was probably too much to hope for a goal of our own. Hmm, now that I think about it, it`s is a little weird that the management should countenance such a site, given MM`s antipathy towards us bloggers.
All through the second half I alternated between cooing over pictures of grandchildren and sneaking off to the study for updates. My emotions turned several somersaults as I registered scores ticking over at 1-0, 1-2 and 3-2 … and then the tension of extra time (the screen froze just before the final whistle). The babies were uniformly cute though! Naturally, I did not watch Jeff Stelling or Football First and had to make do with Ann Widdecombe and Wagner for entertainment. Fortunately, I manged to watch the highlights on MOTD, even if I had to share them with a rather smug brother-in-law, a Manchester United fan.
This morning I was up at dawn (or so it seemed), excitedly trudging through the Derbyshire snow to the newsagent to read the reports in the Sunday papers. To my horror I saw myself publicly pilloried there: as far as I could see the Observer file comprised a rant from MM about us ‘numpties`. Sod the result and the fact that we are just as elated as the manager (undoubtedly more so since we have supported the team for far longer than he has, and will continue to do so after he has gone), let`s slag off those who dare to question my actions. We bloggers do attend the matches and I bet non-numpties were among those who recently booed the team posturing in front of them.
Once I had recovered from the feelings of shock, dismay and incredulity, I realised why MM hated us. As genuine fans, we told the unpalatable truth, as we saw it (and why shouldn`t we?). Although we should not have to emphasize the fact, we care about the team and would rather not criticize it. It`s just that, given the position we find ourselves in, someone has to own up, take responsibility and remedy the situation. Even bloggers who wanted to give him another chance were unhappy with the manager`s performance, querying his tactics and player selection. And he is not in the clear yet! Encouragingly, the outburst does reveal that he reads our posts!
Among Vital Wolves bloggers, at least, he couldn`t even claim that we were offensive and negative. The most abusive contributor is johnwolf, who has been slagging off us long-distance fans for some time. I even wrote a blog entitled ‘Cyber Fans` on the subject on Thursday 11 November. In it, I refuted the premise johnwolf put forward , which incidentally answers all MM`s objections. Hang on! Could it be? Is Mick McCarthy johnwolf … and how many other aliases has he assumed?
As for the game, I cannot comment on it in depth because I saw and heard so little of it (but I will travel up to Molineux for the Birmingham match). It was a great victory yesterday: a real boost, even if I am now a little reluctant to designate it a turning-point to our season. The year, so far, has featured more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie novel … and we are still no nearer finding out whodunit (rather, who will do it, if anyone can).
It was good to inflict a last minute defeat on another team for once: you see, the gods of soccer do not exist merely to punish us. While SEB is emerging as our very own Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it was also nice to see Hunt get a goal. It was particularly welcome to note the assured performance of Zubar, whose presence strengthened the defence, even if Stearman was still hell-bent on undoing the good work with his moments of madness. Milijas continues to impress. I applaud MM for the quiet word he had with him but I wonder whether he would have given him his chance, had circumstances not dictated it. I genuinely hope that our manager has found the key to our survival, as he did last year, but I will reserve judgement for the moment. We were lucky to meet a Sunderland side hampered by the absence of Turner and Bramble. Could we have scored two goals in the last ten minutes had they played? So, should the results take another nose-dive, no more complaints about bad luck, please.
I have calmed down now, warmed up by the cosy glow of a welcome three points. I still think MM has a bloody cheek though!