Brentford fans put the 3-0 drubbing last season behind us as we both got promoted together. It’s a clean sheet now and BillytheBee catches up with Peter Bartlett from London Wolves Supporters Club (@WWLSC) – Wolves oldest established supporters club (since 1966) celebrating their 50th anniversary at the end of next season.
Quite a lot has happened since we last played and you beat us 3-0. We beat Orient at their place and almost made Russell Slade cry. You went on to win the league. And we’ve both surprised the other sides in our division somewhat.
I don’t think any of us saw the 3-0 coming at your place – most thinking a draw would be ok given your strength in the 0-0 at the Golden Palace. We never really looked back after that (apart from slip ups at Crawley and Stevenage).
Kenny obviously had a stealth strategy by keeping in 3rd until it was time for the late run. He cleaned out most of the previous year’s first team – and lost some good players to make sure it was a clear out who are still doing ok in the Prem – Karl Henry at QPR and Stephen Ward now at Burnley (with 4 other Wolves!) Many of us thought we wouldn’t have gone down though if Danny Batth had been brought back in from Sheffield for the second half of the season.
You mentioned the Orient – a nice touch there – they had promotion congratulations posters in the away end. One of our young lads was mascot and they and Wolves really looked after him.
I expect Saturday will now be a black armband match as Malcolm Finlayson died today. He was a back to back League title winner in the 50s, and had a fantastic collection of classic cars.
On a brighter note it’s our Xmas lunch before the Cherries match next week. Among the former players joining us League Cup winners Mike Bailey and Mel Eves
You started the season really well with wins against Norwich, Blackburn, Cardiff and Boro. November has been a bit of a ‘mare for you with not a win under your belt. What’s been going down?
Some idiot gave Kenny Jackett manager of the month in August and it’s been downhill since. Only kidding, well deserved
Last season we had a fixed back 4 in front of Carl Ikeme; all seemed to know what each other was doing, whereas a few slips and injuries and there’s been a lot of change, and that’s coincided with the poorer results although the clean sheets really stopped in the second half at Millwall. We were 3-0 up at half time and hanging on to a 3-3 by the end.
I think the defence has been more assured when they feel the attack will either put us ahead or quickly regain parity. Although we’ve still had more of the possession the odd error is creeping in – true at Ipswich and if George Saville had put his early chance away at Derby that might have been a different story…. We had a good performance against Forest, who, as you say, you took apart, until the “after you” moment for Assombolonga’s goal. Heads really dropped then.
You’ve had three losses in a row. A loss on Saturday against the Bees will see you on your worst league match losing streak since Premier League relegation. So that’s 3 points to you guys then.
Some of the Wolves players have talked about regaining confidence but I don’t think they’ll be coming to Griffin Park expecting another thrashing. If the midfield contributes it can easily be a different story, We don’t have a real ballwinner like Jack Price was last season – he’s been out on loan – and Saville Rowe and McDonald create rather than get the ball back.
Lee Evans absence started the week he was called up for Wales and he hasn’t been at his best since through injury. If he’s on form Saturday it will make a big difference. But our biggest loss by a long way is Nouha Dicko. We chatted to him in his first spell at Wolves on loan and he said all he wants to do is get in the box and score. Which he is very good at. He has so much pace and strength he scares centre backs – even number 6s!
Danny Graham looked strong against Forest and I think will give us a different game with our wing strengths.
We bought quite a few players in to complement our Division 1 team. Top scorer Andre Gray from Luton cost £500k and is a trickily little forward. Midfielder Jota from Celta Vigo (£1.3m) oozes class. He will be a hero forever for scoring in the 90th minute against F*lham. Odubajo from Orient (£1m) has found himself to be a right danger man at right back – moved there after Alan McCormack got injured. Midfielder Alex Pritchard who was at Swindon last season is extremely skilful and on his day can again cause problems up front.
How different is your team than the one that conquered us at Griffin Park in February?
Yes, I watched the Fulham match – a gift goal like that – was that from Odubajo? – would be very nice thanks, but although Rodallega had another chance I thought you were really dominant and should have put it away.
Any team with an Andy Gray in it has to be a winner!
Well the real strength is in the squad who was at Griffin Park last season although I’d expect Duracell Dave (Edwards) to start. Assuming Dicko’s hamstring is still keeping him out then Danny Graham is very experienced at this level (he was meant to be coming to Brentford but it seemed to have fallen through very late – ed) and must be keen to make an impression.
Maybe Kenny will give George Saville an outing because of last season as an added incentive but he really hasn’t cemented his place yet. Tommy Rowe also looks a good prospect. Rajiv van La Parra made a storming (one game) start but is getting less and less time as a sub. He’s very fast and has a wicked cross – but missed a sitter from 5 yards last week though so will be an impact sub. As we discussed earlier Bakary Sako can turn the game, new boots or not, and he’s desparate to score
I think Mark Warburton, who I think is a brilliant manager, misplayed it last year by trying to muscle our players out in the first 20 minutes. Once Sako avoided retaliating I don’t think your players could get back to their normal game and by the time they did it was too late.
We both play the high tempo pressing game. It’s worked well for us for the most part this season. Do you think Jackett may be tempted to sit back and hit us on the break in this game??
The pundits have been saying we’ve been sussed out. Put two on Sako and two on McDonald and we’re stifled. What’s not happened is that our other 8 players haven’t capitalised on being up against 6! Actually Derby had two on Sako and three on McDonald.
I don’t think we can afford to sit back, but with Danny G on the pitch I think the ball might spend less time on the ground. We haven’t been pressing as much and winning the ball but that has to change.
I have to admit, I rate Jackett. He’s a ’think out the box’ manager. I was gutted when you employed him instead of one of the ‘conveyor belt’ managers who was touted for the job last season. We would have won the league if you had done what other ‘more established’ clubs do.
Proper football man I think is what everyone says… but old style – honest and unafraid. Superb commitment to bringing youth through and giving them a proper chance – but also dropping them if their application drops off. When they say “just have to work hard….” (like all footballers seem to be programmed to say nowadays) you do feel they mean it and will get a fair crack from Kenny.
We’ve suffered 7-8 years of managers with favourites and somewhat blinkered selections. They never had a plan B – up to now Kenny hasn’t needed one, but I think that test is not far away.
It seems, from a distance that all the players respect him, because, like under Glenn Hoddle, he gives the chance to and they do all improve.
I see you have recalled ex-Wycombe lad Kortney Hause from Gillingham to shore up your defence. He hasn’t played a first team game for Wolves as yet. Do you think he’s the answer to your defensive problems?
Hause is certainly one for the future. He’s impressed on loan and in the U21 he played. Saw him do great in a televised Gills match. Right now I’d prefer Ricketts on the right, Batth, Stearman, and if he’s fit now Golbourne on the left with Evans in front. It wouldn’t surprise me if Hause gets a start instead of Stearman though.
Kenny is good at not playing players out of position. Evans & McDonald have a great understanding and set up the play out from the back. Don’t know whether Danny lost a bit of confidence and Kenny brought Ricketts back to relieve him of captaincy pressure, but he’s going to be better than Lescott was. Stears makes one mistake a match… usually a slip, which sharpens him up, so if you don’t capitalise on it…..!
Interested to know, who is the best team you’ve played so far this season. And who is the worst?
And it was really nice at last to get one over on both the Rovers (Blackburn) and Bolton who’ve given us a torrid time last few years.
How do you think this league compares to Division 1?
It’s still the “division from Hell”. No change, (almost) anyone can beat anyone
Bees up … Fulham down … do you concur with that?
No, I think Fulham will get fixed and make that late run for the play-offs. Derby and Forest have the players and money and will take the two auto slots. Lottery – perm any 10 for the 4 play offs.
Eddie Howe might just be able to keep working miracles for the Cherries to scrape in, we’re outsiders now, but will improve. I’d think you were a shoe in for the play-offs on current form – can you keep it going until May?
Here’s our made in Wolves section
Legendary Wolves player Steve Bull or Legendary Wolves player Kenny Hibbett?
Ah that’s difficult – both great guys – but I guess 306 wins.
Noddy Holder or Frank Skinner?
Feel the Noyse! Frank effing Skinner has an auto switch-off on my tele
Jamelia or Beverley Knight?
Bev (Billy Wright connection)
Pint of Marstons or pint of Holdens?
Amanda? I prefer Bank’s Original up there or Young’s down here but the Pride in your pub is much better than my local. Mind you the Fuller’s head brewer is a Man United fan. His MD was, naturally, a Wolves fan.
The Three Degrees or The Three Amigos?
Head to head, Wolves are just shading it winning 9 games to the Bees’ 8 with 2 games drawn. Time for the Bees to tie things up???
A tie seems reasonable – so another draw
Give us a score prediction
2 goals apiece
Thanks to Peter from London Wolves Supporters Club (@WWLSC) for giving us the full SP on Wolves this season.