There are two ways to lose a football match and Wolves did it the good way at Manchester City. We found glory in defeat by giving everything at the City of Manchester Stadium. In the end, we came up just a little short against a team bursting with stellar names including the brilliant Carlos Tevez.
It was a close thing on the field, but the fixture and the days before it highlighted just how big the gap is in resources between the clubs at the top of the league and the bottom.
It’s going to be a bit galling for City fans from now on that whenever they win a match, people will simply point to the money they have spent. If they win, they should win. If they lose, it’s a disaster. I don’t want to do that here but I think it’s interesting to point out the differences in the playing field we find ourselves on in fixtures like this.
City had £109.5 million worth of players on the bench at the weekend, plus a free transfer of Patrick Vierra. They had a new striker up front who cost them £27.5 million. He was paired up with one of the best strikers in world football and together they kept a Brazilian international, an England international and a Spanish World Cup winner on the sidelines.
In the week that they splashed out on Dzeko, Wolves decided a defender who was valued at less than one tenth of that price was a little too expensive to gamble on. David Wheater now looks likely to sign for Bolton for £2.5 million. Also that week, Steve Sidwell was in Wolverhampton having a medical when he got a phone call from Fulham. The London club offered him £5,000 a week more and he immediately left Molineux for Craven Cottage. Now the club is considering a £500,000 move for a Championship winger Adam Hammill.
The disparity between those two scenarios is incredible. That Wolves can go to City and run them so close is a great achievement.
As I said before, there are two ways to lose a game and no Wolves fan would have been disappointed with the performance on Saturday. It made us proud to be supporters and I’ve met two City fans this week who say they hope we stay up after showing such spirit.
The other way to lose a game is to surrender as West Ham did against Arsenal.
It’s no good pointing to injuries because you can look at our casualty list and say it’s just as bad. The Hammers just capitulated in the face of such dangerous opposition and none more so than debutant Wayne Bridge. He’s a good player but it was crazy to put him against Theo Walcott when he has only played 90 minutes of football in the last 12 months. West Ham are apparently paying his £90,000 wages. What must the people who signed that deal have thought as he was repeatedly shredded by Theo?
I felt sorry for Avram Grant because he has got no chance of getting the best out of what he has got when after just six months in the job he is under such pressure from the people who employed him. It must be overwhelming and I’m amazed that he has remained so dignified through it all.
What all this shows is the importance of stability. Give a good manager time, be reasonable in your expectations and stay off his back when times are hard and even with limited resources he will deliver a team that can compete with the very best.
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