At the beginning of last week we were asked by the Express & Star to give our opinions ahead of the clash between Wolverhampton Wanders and Huddersfield Town. The paper wanted to get a fans’ perspective about the game and thus asked us for some Huddersfield Town insight.
We were asked to proffer our opinions on Wolves’ season so far, to which we provided the following answers;
What have you made of Wolves from afar? Do you think they have what it takes to finish in mid-table this season in the Premier League?
HONEST ANSWER: “I couldn’t care less about Wolves and their season so far as for me, the club embodies everything that is wrong with modern day football. There’s no glory in winning promotion from the Championship with a magnificent squad sourced through questionable means.
“Likewise there’s no glory in finishing mid-table with a squad such as Wolves’. I wholeheartedly feel any success Wolves have will feel hollow for the fans. Football is supposed to be a great leveller and a game for the people, unfortunately the ownership of Wolves, Man City and PSG make a mockery of that.”
FRIENDLY ANSWER: “It’s hard to gauge Wolves’ season so far as the media seem intent on sticking to the narrative that things are going brilliantly. On the face of it, you seem to have had a good start to the season.
“However with the quality of players at Santo’s disposal perhaps the team should be faring a bit better. Maybe that’s harsh to say, but as mentioned above, it’s incredibly hard to gauge Wolves at the moment.”
The journalist I was in contact with decided to use my first answer, which is fair enough. Perhaps he sympathised with my point of view, perhaps he shares that point of view, or more realistically, he knew that it would attract a lot of traffic – which it did.
On Friday afternoon I opened Twitter on my phone for the first time that day and was greeted by a plethora of notifications, mostly from angry Wolves fans. Since then I have had well over 150 tweets from irate Wanderers fans, who appear to have completely missed the point of my criticism.
So in the interest of fairness, I have decided to write this piece to address the most popular questions/criticisms my comments have received. If you’re not interested in reading about this, don’t worry we’ll return to Town news in the next blog.
If you’re a Wolves fan, make sure you read all of the article before tweeting me a GIF of Alan Partridge.
1. "You’d swap places with Wolves given half a chance"
This is probably the most common tweet that I have received and to be concise, this heading also includes tweets that have labelled me as ‘jealous’ or ‘green with envy’. Let’s lay it to rest right now, I am not jealous of Wolves, I wouldn’t swap places with them for any amount of money and I’m not green – in fact I’m ghostly white as my skin appears to have an aversion to even the most moderate of heat.
Here are just a few reasons I wouldn’t swap places with Wolves fans.
· Wolves aren’t particularly successful, by trading places with their fans I’d be swapping my entire allegiances for the sake of a few largely irrelevant Premier League places.
· I find their ownership structure deeply unsettling and I wouldn’t be able to get behind Town in the way that I currently do if there were so many question marks around our ownership.
· One of my biggest gripes with modern football is the lack of equality in the game, storming to Championship success with a loaded deck like Wolves’ did would feel hollow to me. Where’s the enjoyment?
· Of course, all of the flippant reasons as well; I don’t like their kit, I don’t want to live in Wolverhampton and it’s a bit of a drive for home games.
2. Why are you victimising Wolves when ‘INSERT CLUB NAME’ are just as bad?
This is by far the most simple answer I think I’ll ever have to give in my life. I wasn’t asked to give my views on Fulham, Man City, River Plate or the price of oil by the Express & Star.
That’s why I specifically mentioned Wolves, it would have been a little odd if I hadn’t. For the record, I have similar views towards a whole host of other clubs that I have for Wolves, and perhaps I’ll be asked for them in the future by another paper, until then you’ll just have to wait.
3. You’re just an old fashioned coal miner who hates the modern world
I’m writing a blog, which should be the first indicator that I don’t hate the modern world, I actually use a laptop to write this instead of scribbling it out on the walls of a long closed colliery.
I’ve never worked in a coal mine, although I did go on a school visit to one when I was in primary school, unfortunately I didn’t learn enough on that visit to become a coal miner. I’m 27, not 107.
I do not dislike the modern world, as by extension that means I hate everything in it including myself, which I certainly do not. However I do hate things such as deception, inequality and entitlement.
4. You don’t know anything about our club!
I don’t know the postcode of your stadium, I couldn’t reel of a list of players that have represented Wolves over the years, but I do know enough about your ownership structure to comment on it.
I know full well that you were acquired by Fosun International, a Chinese conglomerate who have been the subject of pharmaceutical scandals in China. I know that the club has links to super-agent Jorge Mendes, who actually advised Fosun International on their purchase of Wolves.
I know that the club has been investigated by the EFL and FA after allegations of wrongdoing from a number of sources within the game. I know that a high amount of players represented by Mendes have moved to Wolves, along with Mendes’ first ever client Nuno Espirito Santo as manager.
I know that it contravenes FA rules to ‘enter into an agreement with any part, other than the club itself to influence materially the club’s policies’, transfer dealings falls within those policies.
5. The EFL said we did nothing wrong, so shut up and accept it
The search for the truth isn’t always easy, especially when the parties under suspicion have status, authority or money to hide behind. The EFL may well have said that Wolves have done nothing wrong, the FA may well have approved the Fosun International acquisition of Wolves too.
That doesn’t mean Wolves did nothing wrong, it means that those organisations believe that rules were not broken. However no rules were contravened when Portsmouth and Leeds United were subject to disastrous takeovers. In fact in the eyes of the FA, the chairmen that ruined those clubs were deemed to be ‘fit and proper’.
To wholeheartedly put our faith in the EFL and the FA that Wolves have done nothing wrong would be naïve and foolish. Liverpool fans did not do that when the Hillsborough disaster happened, despite several investigatory bodies saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing by South Yorkshire Police.
Until it eventually came out and justice was finally allowed to emerge from beneath a pyre of deception, lies and corruption.
The EFL may well say you have done nothing wrong Wolverhampton, but that does not mean you are clear of wrongdoing. At best it means that you have operated perilously close to the borders of acceptability and legality.
Wolves’ operations have been thoroughly distasteful, perniciously deceitful and incongruous to the principles of football.
6. Huddersfield Town have done X,Y,Z
A lot of Wolves’ fans have been quick to inform me of all the ‘bad’ things that Huddersfield Town have done over the years. The simplest way to respond to this would be by directing those fans to heading 2.
For further clarification, I was asked for my thoughts on Wolves, not on Huddersfield Town’s net spend, academy, ownership model or balance of English/Foreign players. I have opinions on all of those things, and would be more than happy to address them at a relevant time, unfortunately that time isn’t when I’m asked what I think about Wolves.
Also, nothing that Huddersfield Town have ever done or ever will do has any relevance to my views on Wolves, which are completely independent of everything else. Yes they may have done bad things, they may have done great things but none of that bears any significance on my disdain of Fosun International and Jorge Mendes.
After almost 1,500 words I am now signing off on this debate. I’m sure I will continue to receive abusive and nonsensical correspondents from Wolverhampton fans, but I’ll simply ignore them from now on.
Above are my views, backed up and individually discussed and addressed, if you disagree with them good on you. However, I think most people reading this will relate with my point of view regarding Wolves.
Before you compose an abusive tweet to me, ask yourself one simple question, “why am I being so defensive about this?” I’d guess it’s because you know, deep down that there’s more than a modicum of truth in what I say. If you thought it was wildly inaccurate and off the mark, you probably wouldn’t bother reading it let alone responding to it passionately.