Wolves Deserve To Stay Up

Mick McCarthy’s Wolverhampton Wanderers climbed out of the relegation zone following a recent 1-0 win over reigning Premier League Champions Chelsea was fully deserved and Ger McCarthy hopes that result will be the catalyst to keeping Wolves up.

Most of the recent football headlines have centred on the removal of Roy Hogdson at struggling Liverpool, Gerard Houllier becoming embroiled in similar bother at Aston Villa and Carlo Ancelloti’s stuttering season as Chelsea look to retain their Premier League title. Were it not for the fact some of the England’s most toried clubs are in such a wretched run of form  then Wolves’ recent wins over Liverpool and Chelsea might not even have made the back pages.

But this is a Wolverhampton Wanderers side that is  producing some beautiful football in the face of an intense season-long relegation battle. Mick McCarthy’s side completely outplayed Liverpool at Anfield during the Christmas period, recording a richly deserved 1-0 win. Yet all the headlines the following morning were about Hodgson and Liverpool’s plight rather than the manner in which Wolves recorded a much needed win.

In a season of inconsistency in the top echelons of the Premier League it says a lot about the quality of English football on display when Wolves, Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers are producing the best and most fluid, passing game. For that reason alone you would hope that Mick McCarthy and Ian Holloway are still Premier League managers come August. Wolves’ pressing and harassing of their opponents during both the Chelsea and Liverpool victories was terrific, an invaluable trait that is often overlooked when even the likes of Manchester United eek out narrow wins.

Wolves possess pace and power in abundance but McCarthy has married those abilities with a fluid counter-attacking style that gets the best out of the raw material at his disposal.

Republic of Ireland international Stephen Hunt looks a player reborn since his arrival at Molinuex and is a perfect fit for McCarthy’s style of play. The work ethic of strikers Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Kevin Doyle and Stephen Ward clearly demonstrates the honesty of effort running throughout the whole squad as they automatically becomes the first line of defence. Marcus Hahnemann and Wayne Hennessy are proving astute purchases and neither goalkeeper has disgraced themselves this term. Wolves’ heaviest defeat so far is an acceptable 3-0 but their biggest victory remains 1-0 which suggests as long as the midlands club can keep a clean sheet they are capable of eking out victories.

“Their effort and endeavour is always there. They don’t leave a drop on the pitch and I’m hugely thankful and proud of that. Sometimes there’s a lack of quality and they make mistakes, but so do I. What they give me is fabulous.” Mick McCarthy following the 1-0 win over Chelsea.

If there is one thing which could cause Wolves to lose their battle for survival it is inconsistency. Sandwiched in between the recent Chelsea and Liverpool wins were crucial losses to fellow strugglers West Ham United and Wigan Athletic. Currently hovering just a point above the relegation zone Wolves desperately need to pick up points on a more consistent basis.

McCarthy has already intimated that the style of play will not change as the season progresses. This is admirable considering most relegation threatened sides tend to resort to a 4-5-1 and punt the ball long to the lone front man in the latter stages of the season for the simple reason they cannot afford to lose. Wolves play best when they are on the front foot and looking to link with their strikers using quick passes rather than hoofs out of defence. Matt Jarvis, Nenand Milijas and Michael Kightly (when fit) are best utilised with the ball at their feet and not looking up into the sky as their defence launch howitzers into the oppositions’ half.

McCarthy should be commended for sticking to his guns and practising the quick-passing game he has always preached as a manager. In his time as Republic of Ireland Coach he is best remembered for re-inventing an ageing squad an introducing a host of young stars. Saipan apart, those years as Irish manager McCarthy implemented a more attractive brand of football to that which he played as a centre back under Jack Charlton.

Wolves should stay up by virtue of the fact there are at least 3 teams worse off than they in terms of quality and squad size. If McCarthy’s side avoid the drop it will be major triumph but staying up having played such an attractive brand of football would constitute an even bigger achievement.

Once again a refreshing dose of the Wolves Manager’s realism says it best: “We might go up and down like a fiddler’s elbow but it is nice to be out of the bottom three. We’re probably going to have 10 good days out of 38. The rest of the time I go home feeling sh*te”.

Ger McCarthy is author of the book entitled ‘Off Centre Circle’ about a lifetime spent playing amateur football in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Author Details

Ger McCarthy
Ger McCarthy

Author of the book entitled 'Off Centre Circle'. Champions League correspondent for Back Page Football, contributor to the Hold The Back Page football podcast, also a contributor to the Irish Examiner Newspaper, SetantaSports Satellite TV Sports Network, NewsTalk National Radio station, Shoot! Magazine and Dangerhere websites.

10 thoughts on “Wolves Deserve To Stay Up

  1. Well Wolves has scored second least goals in premier league. So I can’t say I support your claim if our goal drought continue. We played some good football, passed the ball well around the ground. We fail to create 100% chances our strikers can score on. If we play as good as I know we’re capable of, with new attacking options after the january window closes and with players returning from long term injuries, I’m sure we’ll score more goals also.

  2. I agree about almost everything you say, Ger.

    And Wolves will get even better as the season rolls on. The youngsters will develop and the player will find each other better on the pitch.


      1. “But this is a Wolverhampton Wanderers side that is  producing some beautiful football”. When and where please? As a ST holder and regular away follower I’ve seen little of this, but a MOTD ST is always rosier tbf.

        “Wolves possess pace and power in abundance”. Again, is this serious? We have one quick player- Jarvis. Similarly we have one powerful player, George Elokobi. The latter is a Colchester reserve reject who can barely comprehend the rules as seen in the 3rd round.

        “Stephen Hunt look like a player reborn” He’s been quite simply appalling since he’s signed but he has scored a cpuple of goals. You seem to have fallen for that. Please watch more than MOTD.

        “Marcus Hahnemann and Wayne Hennessy are proving astute purchases” That will be two players we paid a combined zero pounds for, Hennessey’s our only youth product of the last 5 years and a full international, I’d expect any decent fan to know that.

        “McCarthy should be commended for sticking to his guns and practising the quick-passing game he has always preached as a manager. In his time as Republic of Ireland Coach he is best remembered for re-inventing an ageing squad an introducing a host of young stars”
        LOL. Too ridiculous to go further.

  3. K Wolf:

    Point 1
    First off I don’t watch MOTD but take your point as a season ticket holder with Wolves you have seen more of them than I. Watched full 90 minutes (online) of their games with Liverpool and Chelsea and based rest of my argument on highlights of other games seen this season. The quality of their passing and movement surprised me in both games considering their lowly league position.

    Point 2
    I would consider your strikers Doyle and Ebanks-Blake both powerful and quickk forwards. I would consider Jarvis and Hunt quick and Karl Henry (when he is not suspended) a powerful midfielder.

    Point 3
    Stephen Hunt IS a player reborn since returning from his injury and looks a completely different player since signing for Wolves as he is getting a regular run in the side. I have been to EVERY home international where Hunt was consistently ignored and used as an impact sub. The player is a bundle of energy and although his final ball can be wayward he brings enthusiasm, dedication and 100% effort every time he plays. He was constantly looking for the ball against pool and chelsea and never shirked a tackle.

    Point 4
    I stand corrected on my comments about your goalkeepers. I was under the impression both were bought in recent seasons.

    Point 5
    Why are you laughing out loud at my Mick McCarthy comments? How many Irish games under his tenure did you attend/ watch to back your childish LOL comment?

    Rafa Rant:
    He disbanded the old Jack Charlton brigade – FACT
    He removed the long ball tactic – FACT
    He introduced Richard Dunne, Robbie Keane and Damien Duff – FACT
    Granted he made a balls of things towards the end and dont get me started on Saipan but a simple LOL comment is typical of someone incapable of producing a counter-arguement.

    I have to say for a Wolves fan you are entitled to your opinion but you are very negative about the traits a neutral such as myself associates with your team.

    Is this the way all Wolves fans feel?

    I don’t watch MOTD

  4. Bunch of weirdos.

    “It’s nice, but it’s completely untrue. Let’s be honest, we don’t play beautiful passing football. We just don’t.”

    Quoting sites slagging off your blog claiming them to be agreeable to your viewpoint?

  5. Why hand pick that single quote?

    “Slowly but surely we are being recognized as a decent team. We can play very well at times, but also can be poor.
    Good article though”

    “good article, lifted my spirits!”

    “As you say, a nice positive article. Heart warming and encouraging to read through it.
    I hope a lot of folk on here take the time to read it too.”


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