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Wolverhampton Wanderers
Posted by Daniel Pountney on 02/14/2012

I can't remember what year it was when I started supporting Wolves but I reckon it was around 25 years ago.

For about 20 of those years, Wolves were awful. Not bottom of the football league awful, that was before my time, but a great many fans still remember it. Awful in the sense that they were terminally disappointing. The big old club in the wrong division, always falling short despite an expensive squad and a succession of big name-managers. At times, it was embarrassing.

Then along came Mick McCarthy and supporting Wolverhampton Wanderers became an entirely different experience. Super Mick made me proud to support Wolves again.

Even before we won promotion, I was so happy to see a team of hungry young players giving their all for the old gold cause, every week. I was amazed that we were finally a team that could unearth players that nobody had ever heard of and turn them in to something special - Kightley (Grays), Henry (Stoke reserves) and Ward (Bohemians) chief among them.

Big name players dropping down from the Premier League no longer saw Molineux as a place to collect their final pay cheque before going out to pasture. And on the field the football was great.

When Mick arrived, Wolves were still owned by Sir Jack. He had decided to pull the plug on his investment following the disastrous reign of Glenn Hoddle. We didn't have enough players on the books to field a full 11. For the first time I could remember, Wolves fans acknowledged that we weren’t chasing promotion any more.

But in that first season, Wolves reached the playoffs where we were beaten by a vastly more experienced and expensive West Brom side. In the following season we missed out on the playoffs by a single point. Then in the third year of Mick’s reign we were top of the table for 42 games. We won the Championship and were back in the Premier League.

Dave Jones had got us there a few years before using the old pros method - Ince, Irwin, Cameron and Rae. We were turned over almost every week in the top flight. In McCarthy's first season Wolves finished 15th. It was the highest league finish I had ever known.

Last season was hard, as second seasons in a higher league always are. We beat Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea but it was only on the last day of the season that we secured our top-flight status. However, we actually finished the season with two more points than in the previous campaign.

This year has been hard. Mick found a way for us to score goals - a problem that we had suffered with since winning promotion. It was at the expense of defence though. We haven't kept a clean sheet now in more than 20 games. The 5-1 defeat at Molineux at the weekend was humiliating for everyone associated with Wolves. It was clearly the final straw for Steve Morgan, who had already made it clear that the league position was unacceptable after a good level of investment in the last few seasons.

For me, I still thought Mick was the man for the job. We're 18th yes, but we're on the same number of points as both Blackburn and QPR in 17th and 16th. Relegation is a real risk but still not a certainty.

I'm gutted to be losing Mick - a man who the players clearly loved, who was always honest both in the way he got his teams to play and in how he conducted himself, who brought some of the best players I have seen to the club and who brought the most success to Molineux that I have ever known. He should be applauded by every corner of the ground every time he comes back. A modern Wolves legend.

As for who will take over - the early front runners are Alan Curbishley, Steve Bruce and Neil Warnock. None of them fill me with enthusiasm. Curbishley has been out of the game for a long time, Bruce spent a fortune at Sunderland and they plummeted to the bottom of the league (O'Neill has taken over and the same players are playing like champions), and Warnock is a Championship manager - a motivator - but a pretty repulsive one.

After five years in the sun, Wolves are on the verge of another winter. I just hope it's not as long as the last one.


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Comments

Posted by Josh on 02/14/2012

What more can you say about Mick, he's been terrific, the best Wolves manager in years. But sometimes it might be best to turn over a new leaf. I love Mick to pieces but I thought he'd taken us as far as he could. I just wish it had happened before January. I wouldn't be as worried as I am now... But Mick's been great, I'll miss him and I hope he finds a new club very, very soon. Leeds, perhaps?

I'm interested to see what Curbishley could do to save our season, I believe him to be capable of keeping us up and perhaps taking us beyond perennial relegation battle. But if we hire Bruce or Warnock I'd prepare for life in the Championship straightaway. I have absolutely no confidence in either of those two as managers. I guess the bright side to those is that if they couldn't keep us up, they'd be sacked. Which isn't saying much. Would have liked Holloway myself but that seems highly unlikely now. Whatever the case, Mick will be missed. Forever we are Wolves!

Posted by Mr Wolf.. on 02/15/2012

Excellen!!! couldnt agree more...

Posted by Ritchie on 02/15/2012

I'm not a Wolves fan, but i am very big McCarthy fan....i think the Old Gold are worse for his loss. Time and again Big Mick has taken teams further than could be reasonably be asked on outlays that make some league one clubs look like big spenders. Foley, Kightly, Ward, Hammill, and Vokes all arrived for pennies....the bulk of the squad having cost less than £1m a man on average.

Mick did the same thing a Sunderland a few years ago, the likes of Whitehead, Collins, and Lawrence became steady top flight players and yet not one cost as much as a weeks wages for most top flight players.

Sunderland were relegated that year, and now i fear Wolves will be too.....Ellis Short saved them by bank rolling Keane's massive spend, i cant see Morgan doing the same with Wolves if they slide. Happily though for Wolves, Mick leaves a low paid hard working squad that wont cripple the club if they're to leave the top flight in May.

Posted by Charlie on 02/15/2012

The most ironic thing about this season will be that we may have Albion to thank for keeping us up. The 5-1 loss forced Morgans hand and survival will now be attributed to the new manager and that awful Sunday.
Should we go down then the blame game will go into full force. Could Mick have turned it round?
When all is said and done, you cannot question Micks integrity or commitment to Wolves. The tearful interview as he left Molineux with his boxes stacked on his passenger seat is a lesson for todays game and managers/players.
Thanks Mick. You left a hero.

Posted by Vijay on 02/15/2012

I am a Arsenal fan but an admirer of Wolves and Mick McCarthy in particular.. It was a difficult task for him but I think he could have got Wolves to another PL season.. Like Arsene Wenger said, MM is a miracle worker and if there was a manager like O'Neill in the waiting, then it could have made sense.. For me, this seems to be a very bad time to sack McCarthy. Only time will tell whether Wolves do pay the ultimate price for that...

Posted by New York Wolves on 02/15/2012

Well said Dan. I am deeply upset about the departure of MM. However, by this seasons results the board had to let him go, but I think they may have left it too late to save the season.
I don’t see any names in a list of replacements that will do any better with the players we’ve got.
I think they should have stuck with Mick through May.
In my opinion a certain section of the fans killed off MM and demoralized the team on many occasions.
After the game on Sunday I knew it was coming.
He’ll do well somewhere else especially with a decent budget for players.
I’m afraid we might not be so lucky.
Moxey stated on Wolves Player that Mick did a great job, but the thought is that the players may respond to a different voice. Perhaps at the end of this season they’ll wish they bought Mick an artificial voice changer and kept the man.
Personally, I loved his Yorkshire twang, sense of humour and brutal honesty.
Thank you and best wishes to MM – He did us proud!

Posted by bigo1723 on 02/15/2012

I agree that Mick is the man for the job, but I can't understand why, if the players love him so much, they played so poorly in the last half-hour on Sunday. They didn't bother to go down fighting, and that was very depressing. Maybe they do need to hear a new voice, but, as Roy warned, "Be careful what you wish for!"

Posted by garvit on 02/15/2012

A shock really, to sack MICK...he had been great surviving on peanuts for investment, a shame ...i am going to miss his post-match interviews.

Posted by Godwin on 02/15/2012

Really touching post. Unfortunately things like this happen.Success has many brothers,failure is an orphan.

Posted by Charlie on 02/15/2012

I'm not a Wolves fan but it's hard to deny that, all PL pressures and tolls considered, Mick got the best out of his team and had them punching above their weight with regularity.
I know a lot of Wolves fans were frustrated but I just don't see who's going to be a better mgr for this team then he was.
Guess time will tell if one of the available options out there is a better fit ... but somehow I doubt it.

Posted by Thomas on 02/16/2012

I have never commented on this blog before, and I am not even really a wolves fan, but Mick was a great coach. His unflinching honesty at press conferences made him the only manager I would actually trust. What he has done at Wolverhampton is really nothing short of amazing. I hope that he will find another coaching job in the premier league because English football will not be the same without him.

Posted by Mike Buckmaster on 02/16/2012

I agree with all that Daniel has posted. I have supported Wolves for 60 years.The only time that bettered Mick McCarthy's reign was the Cullis years where I saw exciting football with Wolves scoring over a 100 goals in a season. I also saw the best player ever to put on a Wolves shirt, Peter Broadbent (We could do with him now). Mick is a thoroughly decent person and I am sorry his time as Manager is up. I do think we needed a change and I wish Mick all the very best and say thank you for all you did. I am sure he will appear a ano9ther club soon and they will enjoy his character and ability.

Posted by Molineux79 on 02/18/2012

The Manager must be blamed and got to go for allowing the defenders to defend so deep, week after week, leaking goals game after games.

Posted by Giovanni on 02/18/2012

I defended MM in my post some months ago and I did not change my idea. I thank him for these last years in the top flight. However I think that something brake down and there was no feeling more. I insist that the squad is very poor in technical and (this season) very unlucky.
We can avoid relegation, but believing in ourselves trying to forget the last humiliation and considering that Wigan, Blackburn and Bolton are worst.

Posted by downunderwolvesfan on 02/20/2012

After seeing the talk that both Curbs and Bruce have rejected short term contracts, i'm worrying whether we will find someone capable of keeping us up at all. In that case, we will need a coach with a proven track record of getting teams out of the Championship. Hey! What about Mick McCarthy?!

Posted by Alan Green on 02/21/2012

Why don't the Wolves board do a first and reinstate MM, seeing that there is no one right now with any certainty whatsoever who would do a better job at replacing MM. Wolves missed the boat with O'neil and other recently appointed managers, so let MM dictate at least until May. It seemed a very hasty decision to sack him. To fire MM with no forsight to who would take over seems a total lack of smarts to me and sends a message of blind panic! Never a wise time for good judgement.
Now that Wolves and MM have been shook up; reinstate MM for a new possible re-emergent era, Such a likeable and passionate character is Mick!
Believe me I feel the great Stan Cullis would have condoned this>

Posted by ian on 02/22/2012

MM may be a great person but he clearly is not a top manager.Wolves spent reasonable money in the past few seasons.Other than Fletcher and Doyle the rest are not premiership quality players.MM should have realised after escaping relegation last year by the nearest of margins that he needed more than 1 outfiels signing to add to his squad if Wolves were to survive.Unfortunately he did not and thus paid the price...next to go should be Jez moxley,
With MM gone he should have had plan b in motion or at least kept MM until he had plan b.As a long suffering Wolves fan I believe we will get relegated this year and maybe i should look at...a smaller yet well run team like Stoke to support in the premiership.wolves will be a mid table league one side for the forseeable future until they venture out and risk spending money on premiership quality plasyers

Posted by Amirul on 02/25/2012

It's an odd one isn't it?While shomoew Stearman hasn't made a choice whether to go for it or get back, Elokobi is beaten in the air and Ward leaves them offside. Only defender not to blame is Zubes who had a storming game!

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