If you had the misfortune to be anywhere near Molineux as an away fan for our last game of the 2009-2010 season, you could be forgiven for hoping a blast of snow will force the postponement of Saturday’s match. Not only were we rubbish on the field; West Midlands police combined with the city’s licensed trade to make it a snarling, unwelcoming experience for anyone in red and white or sounding as if they might be shouting for Sunderland. The Wolves fans are different, though, and many sympathised (as well as suggesting the few pubs we could head for). We extend an unsnarling welcome back to Andy Nicholls*, from the Molineuxmix fan site. Andy, an award-winner in last season’s Who Are You? series, is a man with serious Mackem connections …
Salut! Sunderland: Too close to the bottom for comfort, I imagine. A long way to go but how disappointed are you with the start
In a word – very. However, I am a Wolves fan and nothing surprises me any more! Money was spent before the season started- most fans would have agreed that at the time all buys seemed like good ones but for what ever reason not all of them have worked out. Now be that MM panic buying or not and then not liking what he sees – I’m not sure but something has gone wrong and it’s time to put it right – I still believe that we can but it needs to be some sooner rather than later.
Mick McCarthy retains a lot of goodwill on Wearside. What’s your own view and has it changed in any way since his arrival at Wolves?
Just like Mackems – I believe that MM has done a fantastic job here at Wolves. However, I do believe that whilst being a great man-manager he can be found wanting in the tactical department. Our coaching set up (in my opinion) is not as strong as other teams – we need greater depth but with MM captaining the ship. So to answer the question – great bloke just lacking in a little something – TACTICS!
Ditto Jody Craddock. A great servant to us and, so far as I can tell, to you. And a true gent, to the extent of doing one of these questionnaire for us last season. What are your thoughts on him?
Love Jody to bits – works hard and reads the game well. He has been injured this season and we have missed his calming influence. Great to have around the club and a super ambassador both on and off the field. As the song goes … he used to be shite, but now he’s alright – walking in a Craddock wonderland!
We were appalling against you on the last game of last season. Nothing was a stake but did that surprise you?
A little bit yes – one thing I always expect from a Sunderland team is a fight – A bit like us really a team that works hard for each other and when they want to capable of putting on a show. It didn’t happen at the end of last season – but maybe their minds were on World Cups etc!
You have Mackem connections in the family – what’s it like in the Nicholls household before and after one of these games?
Before? – Great – laughs and jokes all round! After? – Great for one half of the family (well either 3/4 of or 1/4 of) and not too great for the other. Saturday also coincides with my wife’s birthday! Yes I have been the old romantic and got her a ticket! The children and I will treat her to a pie and a glass of wine before the game and then the banter can start. We were in Sunderland for last season’s game and the car journey back was not a happy family affair- far too much gloating on her part – this time it’s our turn – there is a little wager on the game – the looser has to buy the birthday meal!
Name the greatest players you’ve seen in Wolves colours, any you think should never have been allowed near them.
I’ve seen a few on both sides of this question. The Greatest – King John Richards, Kenny Hibbit, Steve Bull, Robbie Keane and we also have one in the making at the moment – Matt Jarvis – great player – still learning and will only get better. As for the donkeys well like any fan of any team I could quite literally fill a shipping container full of them – but I’ll just give you one surname – EASTWOOD – for many many reasons!
Who from our own squad would be welcomed at Molyneux
I tell you what – let us have one from each area of the pitch and we could do really well this season – I’ll take (presuming that they are fully fit) Gordon, Turner, Zenden and Gyan – what a great buy he is – a few eyebrows were raised at the time but seems like a great bit of business!
What would Billy Wright and Stan Cullis make of the game – the diving, the feigning of injury, the cynical attempts to get opponents booked or sent off – as it is today?
Billy would be disgusted with the way the game is played at the moment. Not being the tallest of defenders his game was all about tackles, pace and distributing he ball – all great attributes but his greatest was the fact that he was a real gentleman and played the game the way i feel the majority of fans want to see it played. Stan too had his own ideas at to how the game should be played – he was very much his own man and got his teams to play to their strengths and pin point the weaknesses of the opposition. I can’t believe that he would have supported any player who tried to con a referee into any of the above – and the sooner it is some how dealt with the better!
Name this season’s top four in order, and the bottom three. If Wolves and Sunderland are in neither (!) list, where will each of our clubs finish?
Top – Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs – sorry Man City but not for me – too much infighting and it will be difficult when you change manager mid season.
Bottom (You will like this!) – West Ham, Wigan and Newcastle!! Wolves will survive (just) and Sunderland will finish comfortably mid-table – and I’ll have a close season of earache from the gloating!
The World Cup. Already forgotten it or yearning for the next one?
The what? On to the next question!
What have been your best and worst moments as a Wolves supporters?
Worst – 18/4/89 – Wolves v Torquay (Sherpa Van trophy area final 2nd leg – Wolves have a 2 – 1 lead from the first leg) – We lost 2 – 0, their goal keeper played a blinder and kept us out all night – we could not find a way pat him – I have a completely irrational hatred of Torquay Utd because of that one game of football – I would never like to see a team go out of business but don’t come asking me to help bail them out if the need ever arises!!
Best – There are a few like they play off final v Sheffield Utd and the final few games of two seasons ago when we gained promotion but there are 2 stand out games for me.
There is the Sherpa Van Trophy final v Burnley in 1988 – 80,000 fans watching 2 lower division clubs play for a tin pot trophy that no one outside the relevant two sets of supporters gave a flying fig about – what a great day – supporters of the clubs filled wembley that day and not a prawn sandwich in sight – fantastic.
But the greatest game I have ever seen was on the 18/11/1972 Wolves v Ipswich Town – we lost 1-0 and I was hooked – my first game, sat in the old north bank on the wall of the child’s enclosure and as a small child discovered what this wonderful game is all about – cricky that’s 38 years of pain, hurt and ecstasy all rolled into one!
And if the worst did come to the worst, could you do a Newcastle and bounce straight back in style or would you be back in the doldrums for a while?
Yes I do believe we would – as long as we kept the same manager – that’s one thing we all know about MM he knows how to get out of that division – both sets of supporters owe him their thanks for that!
Will you be at our game/ What will be the score?
Yes we’ll all be there! As for the score I hope Jo will be buying the meal – however, my head says that we will be sharing the bill and the banter over that table!
* Andy Nicholls on Andy Nicholls:
Still teaching in Walsall – enjoying every minute of it! I ‘m still moderating but I am now also a member of the Wolves Fans’ Parliament representing the Molineuxmix site. – We’ve had our ups and downs over that past year but still going strong! Why not come on over and join our merry crew – all are welcome – in fact it would be good to have more fans from other clubs sharing a bit of banter and gossip. Visit us here www.molineuxmix.co.uk – I’m “andy-in-seat-190” – come and say hi!
The photo is of the whole family – because after all this is just football – some things are mush more important!