DAVE PORTER TALKS ABOUT WHAT WE LEARNT FROM WOLVES DEFEAT TO MANCHESTER UNITED
1. This is a really difficult period for players and fans.
The hard work has been done. Premier League status has been secured, and regardless of how much professionalism or engagement you have for the club, it is really hard to maintain enthusiasm. There was effort on the pitch, but the game felt like one that we were turning up to, knowing that defeat was, to an extent, inevitable. Put us out of our misery so we can all go home. Everyone knows that the club is going into its cocoon. The caterpillar is at the end of its life, and what appears after the summer will be very different. It is the end of the cycle. What emerges in August will have undergone its metamorphic change into something very different. The manager knows it, the players know it, and the fans know it. Maintaining investment in something that has served it’s purpose is difficult. The new car is on order and due to be delivered. We remember when our now overused banger was shiny and new and all the fond memories we have had with it, but we aren’t going to put more than a fiver in the petrol tank. Maybe we will take it on one last drive to say goodbye next week. It’s the least it deserves. It’s on its last legs but it’s been the best bloomin’ car most of us have ever had, and we will miss it.
2. Dan Bentley is all right, isn't he?
Whilst on paper, this was one of the most regulation 2-0 wins you are ever likely to see, we were, in reality, spared a Brighton repeat because of the debutant. Three stunning low saves kept the scoreline sensible. There were some early nerves with the ball at his feet. Sa has been much maligned about his distribution, and early signs were that this was more of the same. It wasn’t, though, and it improved. Comfortably man of the match, he can feel very proud of his Premier League debut. Some of his teammates probably owe him a pint after this one. Not sure this answers the goalkeeping problem. It’s too early to say. Bentley was a Championship goalkeeper who, whilst respected, is unlikely to nail down a number 1 spot over the longer term. Sa, in contrast, has been hugely unpredictable. A game winner one week, a Sunday league keeper the next. Whether this was Lopetegui just having a look at Bentley or the beginning of the end of Sa is unclear. It’s nice in the meantime to know that your backup keeper is capable of a performance like this one.
3. We can't pass the ball away from home.
Never mind not being able to win. Two away wins all season is an abysmal return that needs addressing fast. Put that to one side, though. Wolves give the ball away on their travels with such alarming frequency that it almost looks deliberate. Some of the examples in this game looked comedic. Give Danny Baker a call and get him to do a video. It wouldn’t take longer than a couple of games to fill a 90 min DVD. It can be called “Five Yard Passes Gone Wrong”. Frustration had turned to laughing by the time Neves boots the ball out for a corner.
4. This grey kit, can we actually see it?
Linked to the above point about passing, there is a serious question. Can the players see each other in this grey kit? Manchester United famously abandoned their grey kit at half-time at Southampton, and I would not have been surprised if we had done the same here. The grey kit looks hard to pick out, especially against teams and their supporters in red. Now, this might be linked to my 46-year-old age-related deterioration of eyesight, but genuinely, this feels like a problem. The rumoured black away shirt next season can’t come quickly enough. Put the grey shirt in the bin.
5. Drink in the memories.
That’s all that’s left to do this season. Time is almost up. No matter who has aged or gone off the boil, or whose family members have posted cryptic insta messages, these have been the days. Enjoy the sights of them all for what they have been and what they have given. We move into a new chapter, but enjoy the last dance.
ARTICLE BY DAVE PORTER
Wolverhampton born, East Sussex based supporter. Old enough to have seen the descent to the bottom, young enough to not have experienced the days my friend. Not many Wolves fans to celebrate or commiserate with round these parts, so had to find an outlet to discuss the enormous highs, crushing lows and share the frustrations that only come with following Wolves.