The Ballad of Colin Wanker

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Neil Warnock eh? Face like a plastic carrier bag full of plastic carrier bags. Today I have to watch out what I say or this match report will just be a page full of reasons I don’t like Warnock. He’s a bitter twisted thing old Warnock is. I imagine him in his palatial house football bought him. He’s burning leaves in his garden and poking the fire with a bit of branch. The clouds are dark and foreboding. In the distance a church bell tolls. A Crow shrieks in a barren field nearby, a skeleton held together by rotting flesh hangs from a nearby Oak…

‘Ugh bastard, ugh fuckers, fucking Wolves, fuckers, bastards’ he mumbles. There’s a Hedgehog in there escaping the cold nights and now trying to escape the oncoming flames of the Warnockian bonfire. Nose twitching it smells the smoke, it waddles for safety but Warnock sees it’s predicament, quickly getting the end of the stick under the poor wrinkly nosed mammal  he flicks it back into the flames…

He’s going to have a lot to say today and what he says will be negative, saddening and somewhat annoying. Even though he knows his football, I mean he’s been in the game long enough. But it has affected him in some way. For this is ‘The Warnock’ the perennial miserable old bastard squeezing the veg in Aldi and muttering under his breath at the ripeness of things, the expense. He doesn’t like expensive things and he looks at our team and his eyebrow twitches.

He brings us Cardiff today. What a strange place Cardiff is, what a strange Aldi like team too. Having spent much time in that city I can honestly say I enjoy my times there. It’s people are plain speaking and quick to make friends. You can also be sure that a punch up will happen at some point. Listen to the ripping sound as Warnock is unloaded from the Cardiff team coach in his travelling track suit. Don’t get your hands too close to him for fucks sake! and watch out in case he shits in his hand and throws it at you! I can feel his bitter power now spreading throughout the Molineux ether, poisoning the atmosphere. Walk past his cage with a cup of tea and the milk will curdle, dogs will put their tails between their legs, babies will utter a quiet cry and old people having a nap will feel a twinge in their hips and yearn for warmer better days.

On the bus again, for I feel I will have a beer today, maybe two or three. It has been a long time since I’ve been allowed in the Royal London after that Leeds thing a few years ago but all is forgiven I hope. The Royal London is also a strange place. Catering for students in the week on match days it is full of us. Holding beers, waxing about shit. The chat is all upbeat and positive as we survey the doughnuts walking around outside. Cardiff fans mill around looking like they’ve just fell out of bed. Hair uncombed, shirt tails hanging out, Lonsdale trainers, tattoos on their necks, big stumpy fingers, missing teeth, missing fingers…look here come their boyfriends too…. I guess the bar staff will put on the ‘football fan’ CD again. Oasis, Blur, Britpop bollocks with a smattering of Ska tunes and edgy alternative 90s stuff. Yawn. But a bit better than the Great Western, a pub filled with men that look like they grew there and if the Great Western was ever knocked down they would remain in place like street furniture, still holding pints of Rancid Golden Goblin 6.7% abv. But here I’ve had a smile off a beautiful woman already and things are looking very good.

So the Mexican something with ‘o’ on the end is the lager of choice and I will have a few, then it’s only a short amble to the back of the Southbank. Walking through the subway is an almost religious experience of course. Its all dark and musty, a light at the end which we aim for and then POP! We are out and everything is Golden and light and noisy, people milling around. Grabbed by the ankles and arse seriously slapped, get in the queue, get into the ground, quick piss and we’re off! I put my arm around my mate, we are excited but pull stern man faces even if we want to run down the steps and jump around like kids setting fire to things.

I don’t say much about Saiss. He’s the bloke that opens up the factory, jangling his keys. He’s the dude with the lease Audi because he’s clever enough to work out if it works for him. See if it saves him money. He knows how shit works. So he’s checking out the doors, switching the lights on as he walks through the emerald heaven of the Molineux pitch. Work will start at 3 O’Clock bang on. Bang on he does. Pressing the shit out of the Cardiffian Nexus…’They’ll be Bluebirds ooooover WHACK’ Saiss plays a tune that is full of pain and passion. French Moroccan flavours pulsating across the match, Hard bitter contact, sweet passing across the pure Honey of the whole midfield. Ok I stood there and was lost for a while. It was romantic and a little sweaty. I felt like I had fallen in love with the whole team again. I felt a little shy as Neves slid another melodious ball through to somebody, I looked away. Jota spins, Neves catches the ball under his right foot and switches it to his left then away. The whole team has me in it’s arms and for a moment I am lost, there’s a Celine Dion tune playing. But hold on, what’s going on here?

Warnock you little toad. You Hedgehog murderer. Prancing up and down the touchline moaning. I’m surprised he hasn’t put a road cone in his technical area.

‘It’s mine this is! You can’t step in here no, because it’s mine, that’s my cone. there’s a law ya know, stick to your own area! Go on! Fuck off up yer own end’ and for a moment I’m just watching him and I hear the soundtrack to ‘Omen’ Carl Orff. My knee starts to hurt and my scars start to ache and I feel old and tired and ugly and nobody loves me. Warnock is sucking the life out of me, his team is suddenly ascendant and I wonder for a second, was this all a dream? The tango with Neves? The recipes from Saiss? But what’s this? Coady? Again? The bloke from Beatles Land, operating the shit out of defence. Control and utter fucking control. The bloke who used to run like Ghosts were chasing him, he was concentrating like he was playing ‘Kerplunk’. He’s quiet, not saying much, i bite my bottom lip, the madness of it. I’m beside myself and I feel the blood returning to my heart and through the mists in my eyes I see sunlight again and through the rays of the sun a Black Samurai. My Black Samurai.

Bright Enkobahare rushes up to battle and reaches down to re energise me, me heart is beating and there he is slashing and cutting through the enemy, here now there, the Cardiffians confused and unsure, all they see are shadows that mock them. Ninja skills, shuriken balls. ThaDonk! Boosh! Killer martial arts moves. Hold on he’s fallen over again and he’s Jackie Chan BUT wait! Bruce Lee moves and he jinks past a Cardiffian who just sees what he thinks is an Eagles shadow in his vision and Bright is past. But alas…we have one of ‘those’ Referees. A little bald one. He looks like a towel boy at a Wife Swapping Orgy running around trying not to look what’s going on as Neves is getting constantly buttfucked by Cardiffians who look like they drive Vauxhalls. Bright stares at the grass as his feet are swept away. The Referee waves play on. South Wales are revitalised, they know the towel boy is a good towel boy. Our heads drop a little, we try not to look at the red rimmed eyes of Warnock. His hate has power.

Come on. We knew it was going to be a sanding the artex off the ceiling match. As the Colin Wanker virus  grew into the Cardiff team, they were infected. They ran around the pitch in a frenzy not with any plan but to annihilate the beautiful play we had instigated in matches previously. Poor Neves was Brad Pitt in World War Z….darting into alleys and stairwells, at every turn the gurning twisted face of a Cardiff player, teeth dripping with black saliva, grunting and snarling. Bright Enkobahare tumbled under the relentless press of rotted flesh, stud and elbow. Saiss taken out by the assault of a well directed elbow to the throat. Doherty and Douglas twisted here and there by the abstract and surreal tactics instigated by the sticky tendrils of the Warnock way. Goals, well they scored more which was why they won. But who was the winner today? The faux injured, the timewasting, the Jackson Pollock like spray of bootball? Warnock of course is the winner. Is it not the way of the world we live in that the deranged and the twisted football of the cursed enjoy victory over the beautiful and the divine? At least in this episode yes. As in all good dramas a defeat early on will in the end define the victory of the good and the beautiful football we play. No matter how many times you step over the security barrier and take a sharp knife to the Mona Lisa there will always be people who will repair and tend that beauty.

The defeat didn’t depress me at all. I half expected it. We are in a state of flux, a state of change. The development of a Nuno-esque Butterfly from the Caterpillar of the Clown Lamberto but now at the critical stage when our football is at a chrysalis stage we are most vulnerable. Soon we will erupt from the shell of our present and into the bright future, spread our beautiful footballing wings into the sun and take flight. We will of course look below as we pass the dark valleys of Cardiff and Warnock on his throne of skulls will shake his fist at us and berate his players to more aggressions, more anti-football.

The Balled of Colin Wanker will be, in the end a dirge. A lonely song of one violin and a moaning lyric. Let us wave farewell for now to Colin Wanker and his cohesive but mentally fractured troops as they drive up the Stafford Road to the Motorway. It is a two fingered wave and the assurance that yes, we will meet again and we will have your tears Colin Wanker, yes, we will have them.

 

 

Notes From A Mountain Somewhere

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Last week I gazed at a photo of Nuno and I swear I could feel my hair become thicker and a wind blew from somewhere and my hair was blowing back, I was like Robert Plant now and my locks were waving around. Nuno you Prophet, you Magician, your strong hand on the tiller observing the skies for bad weather, steering us to calmer more lucrative waters, barking orders, shaping events to your will.

What the fuck is going on? What is this particular experience? Derby choking at home to the footballing equivalent of a stranglefuck. Loud words I know but how else can one describe that show? The fluidity of passing and the sublime one touch here and there a cascade of sensuous passion, hair blowing in the wind football. Back in the day of course the whole ethos of Wolves style of play was always width, stretching the play out, attacking full backs. The pomp and circumstance of English football was Wolves in the 1950s, those monochrome warriors Flowers, Cullis, Billy Wright. So Doherty and Douglas these colossi of men, these gentlemen of the corner bits have risen to the task admirably dare I say like a Pig eatin’ a tayta. Woe betide any lollipop that dares to stand in the way of either of them as they ply their trade. Opposition players flung here and there as wet wipes on a layby on the A5. At the end of the season there will be two trenches either side of the pitch where they relentlessly advance the cause. It will be four foot deep. Douglas is the proverbial fucking bargain buy isn’t he? He’s a bit of a dark horse. Career locations like a Serbian people trafficker. Where you lived? Fucking hell. Cheap tho’. Both of them are the older brothers who stare at you when you call for their Sister. The way they stare at you makes your balls shrink a little.

But overall we are within our rights to say that this spontaneous creative football is expressed and in the scheme of things must be expressed. The ease in which this team plays football is endemic of the fact that we aren’t playing our football as ‘hard’ as we did. The football has become easier and more fluid because we aren’t thinking about it as hard. Contrast Dave Edwards relentless pursuit of the ball across the pitch compared to the effortless positioning of Neves. There has become an essence of enjoyment and competition between  team mates but not the competition to define the individual skill amongst his peers but the competition to see who may effortlessly mesh and integrate with the team as a whole? Last season the team (at times) was laboured and paranoid. This season of course they are fascinating and dynamic. Bright Enkobahare splashing huge swathes of colour across the pitch as he clicks into every available space is a joy, a pure passionate beauty. Nuno has unleashed him for now and he is like a pit pony released into a pasture after a life in the mine. He flicks his mane here and there, explores the green of the pitch and it becomes less a battleground and more like a canvas for the way he personally sees his world.

But how nice was it to see Derby given a solid kicking at home? Have we not tasted the bitter fruits of this tie in the past? The multiple dickings from a team that seemed to click when playing us? I sat at home packing my rucksack listening to the radio and the game, catching little bits here and there on social media. Smiling, and perhaps gloating a little too and I feel like getting a little bit drunk and maybe thinking about the team as ours apart from ‘theirs’. Think about Sir Jack on the bus smiling his tits off after we won promotion, the Waterloo road rammed with a sea of Gold and Black. The positive things and the happy moments when the windows of the shops up town didn’t seem as grimy and the pavements not as care worn. These little thoughts creep in after a few wins, after a little bit of ‘win love’ and I’m going to enjoy them. I know it’s a long road ahead and I know the vultures and the player pickers will be circling over the team to cherry pick our best players. There will be fume aplenty, some anger probably. Hope rises like a dawn hard on and can flicker out just as fast.

But we know what’s going on there on the pitch and we can wax lyrical over the wheres and whys all day. There are better men and women more qualified than me who can do it. Where one match can be Melissa Multipack can one be Wendy Waitrose? Can this Derby match be that? Nuno of course walks to the podium and grips the sides of it and looks at us with the eyes of a man who has held the gaze of God. And may we say God in it’s infinite abstract form has looked upon Nuno and our City with something akin to understanding? Even though the simple green shoots of the positive ethos Nuno has brought are still peeking above the dark fertile soil of Derby and Hull they are strong. Look at Nunos hands. They are strong and broad, a craftsmans hands, one who will find as much pleasure in manual labour as the construction of the ‘Great Project’.

Now with the platform provided by the Fosun global business ethos and the vast ‘friends’ list of Mendes I sit watching the posts on social media expound love and positivity as the away matches click on relentlessly, post after post Bright Enkobahare, Coady, Neves, Cavaleiro, Jota, Saiss and Dicko. I watch the Neves goal against Hull over and over again and it takes on the magic and beauty of the Kennedy assasination, The Zapruder film. Neves pulls his foot back and to the left. Smash, no multiple shooters just him coaxing the ball to find it’s path into the net. Rewind watch it again, watch the other players watch the ball float, spin, into the net, watch the goalkeeper flap. Rewind, take a sip of tea, watch the Hull team deflate. They knew that the Kwan was flowing across the pitch in an ever strengthening storm. They knew they were the bystanders on the grassy knoll destined to become witnesses as opposed to participants. The ten minutes added on was a mere post mortem to the rest of the match.

How maligned Dicko has been. Search for a striker here and there, names mentioned. We forget that we have a striker already. A leaner and fitter Dicko that looks a million miles away from the sensitivity of last season, the endless balls over his head, the fruitless lost loves scattered in front of him as another ball is spunked onto the moon head of the crisp munching byline. Nouha I never ever doubted you man. My footballing head as simple and bullet shaped as it is can’t comprehend the complexities of the modern game but ever since you joined us my heart has always beaten with your presence which I deemed right and just. My soul I think understands your football better than my brain. Nouha you showed bravery and honour last season and even though you are a little dude you stand as a giant among your team mates.

As I write this we have just performed a smash and grab on Hull. 2-3 to us and the excitement of a brilliant away win is a thing, a concrete feeling that maybe the Universe has looked at it’s ‘to do’ list and seen that we are well overdue a little glitter and pomp. It’s a crazy dream isn’t it? A demented hope that after all these years the team is channeling the hopes of the crowds, the fans, the great mass at the pitch edge. The zeitgeist is less a great hallucination or dream and is becoming a steam roller of intent and passion, the feeling that everything is in position to storm the plastic facades and frenzy of the Premier League. Now that freakazoid tight shirt mafia on Match Of The Day will soon have to discuss the golden juggernaut that’s going to smash their cosy fucking chats to shit. I can see it, I feel it in my bones, I hear it as I walk around the streets. I can see Gary Lineker choking as he is forced to discuss my team, my City and my players. I hope we don’t easily slip into the upper echelons of the Premier elite like we belong there, I hope we boot the fucking door down and put some noses out of joint immediately and we define ourselves not by how the Premier league has affected us but by how we have affected it.

Whatever….Cardiff next. Stack them up Nuno and knock them the fuck down.

 

 

YoYoville and the Melissa Experience

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Hey another day, another no dollars and before we know it the dawn of the cups, sponsored by some fucking doughnut company you’ve never heard of ‘The Bone &Sons Funeral Directors cup’ or the ‘Fresh Fred Kebab Trophy’. Whatever…league cup? Ar I know that one, we won it a few times. Andy Gray with the hair that seemed like it was styled by a monkey with a set of Aldi hedge trimmers. Apparently it’s sponsored by one of those weird Asian Energy drinks companies. Yeah, I don’t drink that stuff.

Yeovil ay it. Never played them before apparently. One of those clubs where the fans remind you ‘yeah we played you in 1985 and we battered you one nil’ and you nod and smile and wonder what the fucking hell they are on about. They came down to the Molineux the other night with the Beano Book of Football tactics, open on page one. Defend with eleven players or ‘defence as Mosh pit’. What do you expect from Somersetians? The Chellini gap 4-3-3 as beautifully presented by Juventus in the 70’s? They drink Cider all the time these lot. It was lumpy and ungainly, the last dance with an effalump in a Bilston nightclub, she’s had too many Malibus, you cant get your arms around her…Melissa Multipack. What fucking conclusions do we draw from this match?

Well from what I have gathered it was like taking Melissa Multipack back to her house for some half drunk jolly time. You know you’re going to hate yourself for watching it and thats why I didn’t go but…nah I didn’t have the cash to be fair but…Yeovil and the team we had out interlocks perfectly with Melissa taking her knickers off and you look at them on the floor draped over ‘Romellos’ electric 4×4 he had for xmas, draped or hung?

So our team grappled with the madness of Malibu Melissa and to be honest there’s no better team to put out than the old familiar faces, the dudes that have their own chair in the proverbial Wolves pub. Step forwards Jack Price and Dave Edwards. What better pairing to tackle the mountain of Melissa than them. Workman like and stoic I suppose, men that wouldn’t think about tongue tackling the alcoholic coconut breath of Yeovil, grappling with the bra that was welded together at Thompson Chassis in 1979, peeling the defensive Yeovil knickers over that massive hump of an arse, taking a deep breath and getting stuck in…

Jordan Graham and Young Ronan were like onlookers really, quite happy to let Dave and Jack deal with the problem of Multipack Mel. This is to be agreed with. Graham and Jordan are cut from a finer cloth and you can tell from the ten minutes I spent looking at the highlights that they were aghast at some of the things they were being forced to watch and a couple of moments there I was again on Cannock Chase when Stan Collymores willy comes through the car window and tickles me ear. Whoah and eek went Graham and Ronan, wahey! went Dave and Jack. So fair play to them, Graham is just coming back from injury but he has the knowledge and the flair, that slick Instagram presence on the pitch…Ronan is Irish so he has a romantic literary heart which comes out in his football….but they are watching Melissas big hairy arse going up and down as the Yeovillians hear the echo of their managers voice crying after their eight something dicking at the hands of Luton a few days before. ‘Euuuyyyoochoooork’ Melissa goes and Ronan is searching for that open window, a slick pass, escape from the Lunt experience of a cup match, of Melissa tearing out her hair weave in passionate farting madness.

Our poor Portugeezers. Tanned little athletes, yesterday they were in Monaco or Portugal, or a Turkish beach, playing with the tight body models on the beach, later on dinner at ‘Chagelle’ gently fried red snapper with fresh lemon and a divine cumin, tarragon flavoured rice with a sprig of dill as an afterthought, an amusing touch, a walk along the beach later in the cool of the evening……now? Chicagos on a Friday night, grab a granny, kebab and a punch in the face while waiting for a taxi. How can you torture these poor bastards with this Nuno? Have you no heart? Or is it a tactic? Here is Yeovil my young Jedis, this is the start of your war. Step forward young Salt’n’Vinagre, He’s only eighteen for fucks sake! Melissa will kill him! He’ll be scarred for life! Watch him struggle under the weight of Mel’s knickers, how will he do?? Well, he did ok and thats what fills me with a bit of love for him. Beating players he looks up to see what’s going on, not a lot. Dave and Jack are still going at it like a relentless Bank Holiday Steam Engine extravaganza, Graham and Ronan are trying to stay out of it so Vinagre does what he does, he takes the ball into space, beats a few dudes, shows us what the cut of his jib is, which is lovely to be honest and the sight of the Yeovillian/Lunt nexus going on in front of him isn’t upsetting too much. He thinks being there is enough and he’s right so he’s clapping and laughing at Jack and Dave knowing that yes, you can’t just walk into Mordor you can also fuck it to death and that’s exactly what our midfield looks like against Yeovil.

Nouha Nouha Nouha, what trials you have had my friend. When you collapsed in front of the Southbank with a crocked knee I could have cried. Now look at you, all trim, you’ve dropped some weight, you look strong, you are winning headers, what’s that all about? Goals, you’ve grabbed a couple. You looked in Melissas fridge while Dave and Jack did the Multipack dance, what was in there? Half a can of flat Coke, some chicken dinosaur shapes, an old lettuce and soldier that you are you had a swig of the coke, shoved a few dinosuar shapes in your gob and volleyed the Lettuce straight through the window and escaped. Thank You Nouha, I’ve never had a negative thought about you as you were playing…Nouha? Nouhas gone, through the window, legging it up the Willenhall road trying to phone Central Taxis before Dave and Jack have done what needs to be done….

So it was done. Yeovil awake to a sore head and go downstairs to get Romello, Jaden and Liam ready for the day which means throwing each of them a bag of Monster Munch for breakfast. Oh what days. I hope that these mixes Nuno provides us, ie the Latino hip pumping with the relentless gabba football we played most of last season will instigate an outbreak of beautiful football within the heads of our long standing players. Boly next to Danny Batth scared me a little, like the Yosemite Sam tattoo on Melissas tit, or the name of her dead Father inked on her neck. It will be ok though won’t it?

Derby Saturday. I’m not going. But I will provide some awful transcript to what has gone on there. Our team? They will shower themselves for a long time after the Yeovil experience, maybe the self loathing of what they had to do will mean a few tears curled up as they sit on the shower floor and later as they watch ‘Cash in the Attic’ on their 92″ HD Bludclaat Blu-ray surround sound TV and stretch out on the luxurious giraffe skin settee, they will think of Mel from the Lunt with some disgust but inside their hearts a little affection too.

You Can’t Fake Quality

Cup Tie

Well here we are. Saturday, brushing the sleep out of your eyes. Awake. With a face like a six year old kid at Xmas. You want to run down the subway behind the Southbank in your pyjamas smashing open the gates to see what ya got! What we gonna get?? Fuck knows. I’m old enough to know that running down the subway would be a brief knee crackling thing, a terrifying rush into the unknown. What we going to get? Beautiful jazzy slickness underpinned by a rhythmic and functional midfield? Or the disgruntled dysfunctional uninspired bootball? A defence that befits the description or a mosh pit of players running around like they have a bee in their quiff.

I don’t know. Here at the moment as a type this on my phone I’m in a pub in Wednesfield. It’s crowded with 11 am early starters. They ignore their fresh morning pints for a few minutes, glancing at it, unsure whether or not to have a drink and start that slippy slide into daytime incoherent beer buzz world. Few Wolves Dads too, fresh shirts, not very fresh shoes, elbows, bellys, loud a little, excited, an undercurrent of tension. I take a sip of cold lager but it doesn’t settle the nerves. Doesn’t settle the tension. Don’t forget in this world we live in it’s the fate of those that walk into  Molineux that they will end up sucking on either the honey from the Golden tit or the jug of despondency. I’m not sure what I’ll be choking on later but how often has that beautiful green lake in front of us turned into a pit of tar? How often do we have a wet wipe thrown at us and the demand that we ‘finish yourself off’? But I notice I’ve walked the long way into town and I’ve gathered three very violent friends around me that I want to lose if I can.

‘What the fuck were you on about? Kwan? You daft cunt’

In town, the men about town. The pubs will be rammed. Elbows, waving tenners at the bar staff in the vain hope that sexy lil thing with the pink hair and push up tits will glance at your hopeful little mush ‘yes can I help you?’ You forget what you want for a minute as it’s hot with the scent of aftershave and sweat and beer. New season, ‘Tabula rasa’ the blank slate. Everybody on nil points. Sunderland got a dicking last night. People talking about new players. Nuno, Neves, Jota, Boly and people nodding like they know who they are. But these players have yet to be coloured in with the crayons of an eventful match. They are abstract and strange, exotic. You don’t want to say too much so you nod at the statements of those who still actually play football, who do actually puke on the touchline of the pitches at Fowlers park for Sunday football. What do I know? She spills your beer on your hand a little. You smile but she doesn’t give a shit.

Carl. He sent me a message after the ‘Dear Carl’ post and I’m thinking of him walking down the subway. Slippy. It’s humid and the walls of it are slick. People are singing and bumping into me but it’s cool because it’s the start of the season and somebody blows smoke into my face, then a nose full of fruity vape. Beer stink, hotdogs. Mr Sizzle crackling away. Another song. Tap pocket for your season ticket, is it still there? Yeah. Cool. For fucks sake I’m shaking and the old agrophobia is kicking in a bit but there it is. The pitch shining emerald and bright and it’s open and my chest relaxes and I take a deep breath. Thank fuck for that. Carl was good, he sounded OK man.

Middlesbrough fans are filling the bottom of the Steve Bull. What they like? Grisly bunch. Some obviously not looking at the Southbank, some obviously looking at the Southbank. I had heard some of their fans walking up. Strange gargled accent without consonants it seemed. Confident their spending in the close season would do a job and it might, or it might not. This is a skirmish of course and by the end of this season, well, we’ll see where you am eh? Other than that I couldn’t give a shit about Boro, but I was getting local and angry and the teams were coming out.

I’ve written about Carl elsewhere on this blog so you know my views on it but there was palpable emotion yesterday, on mens faces who you would be hard pressed to get a whimper out of if you were hitting their balls with a mallet. I just held up my card, looked at the pitch, the only lump in my throat was Ruddy walking into the goal mouth and not Carl…..but we were off.

It took me ten minutes to work out that these fellas in Gold were actually our team. What? I hadn’t had a drink before the game apart from a shit lager…who? What? The ball flicked from player to player effortless. What? Slickness and skills in abundance. Brighty gets the ball from midfield he twists, spirals, ball back to Neves the architect…he builds transitions from midfield to front line, he doesn’t even look. The playbook from the short time he has been with us is rote and pure dogma. He knows very little about the players around him but he knows the academics of the whole thing, what the plan is. He slips another Boro defence splitting pass and Brighty gets confused again and is dispossessed.

Danny next to me elbows me in the neck again. Bright needs to chill the fuck out but he reminds me of me. Always making something easy into something hard. He is a slalomer, in and around, jinky and low centre of gravity moving himself into positions. I want to sit him down and say ‘just boot the fucking thing into the net’ but what do I know?

Michaelangelo is attributed to have said ‘what is this dance of colour and light if the plaster underneath is poor and soft’. I agree, Nuno grooves to defensive foundations at that was very much in evidence. Boly, Commander Coady, Miranda all had some dodgy as fuck moments but they were moments that flickered through the mind in seconds, ethereal really as the ball moved with speed out of defence and into midfield and once again we were making moves…..hang on….no bootball. This was quality shit. I felt myself calming down after Assambalonga or whatever his face is tried to dart into our box with either Coady or Boly chewing his head. Coady amazed me. This player who I accused of running like he had broken arms shut me the fuck up. Scouse sounds echoed around as he commanded people, he’s a Commander, a Captain. Now all of a sudden it’s all nailed down and ship shape. None of our defence looked massively troubled at the weight of a few million quids worth of team having a go. Boly rubbed Assambalongas head. I think Boly wanted to crush it

Was it 33 minutes? A back pass that led Bona into the gold dreams of scoring at the Molineux BOOM! 1 fucking Nil, crowd goes wild. Danny elbows me in the head again. I’m looking for the fat Boro fan in the Steve Bull waving the fiver. Hahahahahaha you fat bastard, but he’s not looking at the Southbank any more, he’s looking at his shoes, rubs his face and goes up the stairs for a beer or a burger. Boro fooligans gesticulate, mime their violence. One-Nil.

What happened after that? Football. Chances here and there for Boro, a few for us but it had to be Nunos day after all. His Zen like persona has gathered together some talent and the basis on which to build a lasting legacy. This! After the clown Lamberto. A dynamic and creative team with a pocket full of variables in Cav and Costa, a team who know how to pass (if you ignore the first day at school nerves). Crowd shout for Nuno. Nuno waves…the noise inside the Molineux at full time was not relief, it was hope again.

Walking to the bus stop I wondered about the whole day. There was tension there, you could feel it rippling through the stand at various points of the match. Expectation is a bloody dangerous thing and yet we always cling on to hope, always. The Kwan is flowing through the team, communications and the odd pat on the back or off the ball conversations between players. Watching Nuno…Generalissimo Nuno stoic and unmoved at least on the outside. People walking through the subway were upbeat and vocal. The Zeitgeist was positive, the feeling to me at least was a good one. Nuno is a strong hand on the tiller and while other managers pray and cry out to God in the storm, Nuno demands his crew row hard towards shore.

So I lean my head on the bus window and watch Heath Town frazzle past and I’m calm and that hope that my team are ascendant gives me a little tickle on my belly, makes my legs twitch as I put my foot through the ball as I’m replaying Bonas goal on an endless loop. I look down and notice a footprint on the suede of my Adidas. I don’t care.

 

 

Dear Carl

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I debated with myself for the last few weeks whether or not to post this. At first it was going to be a personal letter sent to the club but then I thought why not share it with everybody else. There’s a little bit too much of ‘my’ crap in it, my illness. But sometimes the only way you make sense of something like Cancer is by utilising other peoples experiences, which are all different at the end of the day. Some may think the whole ‘kwan’ thing is flippant and out of context but the more I think about it the whole idea of Kwan was what got me through the worst of times. Any way it’s here and done….it’s not entertainment but ya know…i took most of the swear words out and that’s really all the editing I’ve done.

Dear Carl,

What a load of shit eh? That moment they tell you that inside that body you have been looking after all these years is a whole bundle of Cancer bollocks. What goes through the mind? In those few seconds and minutes after? All the bad things, all the good things, and they are still talking but we are only half listening. All the fears we had of ‘that’ illness are playing through your head like a really shit film. But you know this so I won’t dwell on it only to say ‘fuck’ and ‘what the fuck’. Fuck. You’re one of us…when you’re defending the Southbank goal and the play is up the other end it’s like you are watching it with us…that’s how important you are to me and everybody else. You in trouble bruv? You want us to kick off? How the fuck do we find this illness and smash the fuck out of it when we can’t even see it?

I have history with Cancer. I actually died from Cancer. Weird isn’t it? In New Cross Hospital on the 20th March 2010. Intensive care unit. I had been rushed in by ambulance two days before with stomach pains and a massive infection, a deadly infection I suppose. They said I wouldn’t survive an exploratory operation to find out what that big lump was on my Colon. But they did and I didn’t. The Cancer had eaten through my gut and for a week I had been evacuating what was in my bowel through a massive tear in the gut wall. After the operation about 3am my blood pressure went ballistic and my heart stopped. By chance my Nurse Grace grabbed a passing Dr and he went into his training and brought me back, stabbed a whole load of needles in my neck, pumped more drugs in and I was back on the pitch. I’m not going to wax on about the operations and the treatments after. It’s gone and in the past.

But what about after diagnosis? I was alone, that much I knew. Despite the well wishers and the friends, the family and the phone calls. Alone because quite simply it is our battle. It’s a personal one. Cancer is an opponent with no fucking honour. It’s a back stabber in the alley, it’s the thief who steals in the dead of night, it is not an honourable opponent. So how did I look at it? This thing that has made everybody I love shed tears on my Hospital bed. Easy. I had some honour, a little bit any way. I was a good guy, I mean fair enough I’ve done some daft things but overall I was a good guy, like you. Why should good guys have to suffer? Questions bowl through your mind about the validity of the whole shebang but it’s all wasted energy, questioning it, energy needed for battle. I looked at it like that, a fight with the Bully at school, he’s bigger than us, hands like a joint of pork, big thick head, haircut like the council had fucking strimmed it, you know the type. But we always get him in the end, we always find him at his most vulnerable, we always defeat the bully, always. Carl? Cancer has a shit trim and shit two stripe shoes.

So as a man of honour and a ‘good bloke’ what are you supposed to do now faced with such a despicable enemy? Easy mate. Carry on with your life as if nothing had happened. Eat the same stuff, do the same things you always did. How much of a thought do we give Cancer? Fucking none at all mate. Forget it. Let the Doctors and the Nurses do their thing. Do the scans, the blood tests they want. Let them be empirical and quantitative, measure the blood cells and the T-cells and whatever they want. We shouldn’t allow one negative thought to enter our head because it’s like worrying over the bully at school, the unpaid bill, the rattle under the bonnet of your car. Pointless. You see the day they told you that you had Cancer was the day you started to beat it. Cancer hates nothing more than ignoring it totally.

Two months after my initial operation I was at Wednesfield Plaza skatepark with a colostomy bag and the chemo shakes. Skating around gently among the other lunatics. I would slip away behind the quarter pipe to puke every ten minutes. Later on I would fall over and squash the bag at my belly and the shit would cover my trousers. Dudes ran around me with wet wipes and paper towels they had got from the local cafe. Love totally.

Carl. In the future there are going to be some bad times when it’s going to be hard to lift your arm to get hold of that glass of water you want on the bedside table. Cancer has a voice and it wheezes on at you all day and night but fuck that shit. Fuck it right up. Ignore it. Put the TV on or babble at somebody about crap. Anything to shut that annoying little wanker up. Because what it says doesn’t make any sense at all. the same as the whole idea of it as an illness. We destroy it with laughter and carrying on doing the same shit we do every day. We know that there will come a day when you find Cancer lacking, when you have it on the back foot and the more you love and laugh the smaller that bully gets, in fact he crouches down under your laughter curling up into a ball that gets smaller and smaller until its just a speck and then boom it just fucks off out of the whole Ikeme world.

They said I had a 1% chance of survival. When my surgeon told me I laughed in her face (as well as I could). I discovered people making decisions for me while I was ill but soon grabbed the whole subject with both hands. YOU make the decisions here Carl, you and you only. You tell people what you’re going to do after you have beaten it to a fucking pulp. You will be the one laughing when the cancer skitters away down the gutter back to the darkness where it belongs. Make plans, book holidays far in the future, make those plans concrete and firm in your own mind.

On this blog I talk about Kwan a lot. Kwan is important. It’s not hope it’s a concrete and tangible thing. It’s what we use to get through our day and it can also be a potent weapon. Kwan is the love in the world, it’s your kids laughing, your dog chasing it’s tail, it’s the way your partner smiles when you’ve done something stupid. It’s sunsets, the last minute winner in an important match. It’s not ‘believing’ it’s knowing. It’s not ‘faith’ either it’s ‘real’. Kwan is a plan too.

Now when you think about how many people are supporting you (and it’s all of us trust me) you have to suck up that love, pull it into you and make it a weapon to use against this arsehole of an illness. You aren’t alone at all because as you face Cancer if you take a quick glance behind you then you will see all of us too. Every ugly mush you see as you run up to the Southbank goal to take your position is fighting with you, every gap tooth pisshead, every fucking lunatic who stumbled through the subway. Every clap of the hands is a slap around the face of your Cancer. There will be songs too, sung for you and you only and out of that energy is power and that power is for you too. Listen to us and use that love to destroy this thing. Songs have power, that’s why we have Hymns and our songs should be seen in the same light.

Be a good Warrior Carl, make every blow count against this thing, this disgrace of a thing and I will be honest, you will come out of it a different man. It’s not the disease that changes you, its the battle. When everybody has gone and you’re on your bed staring at the ceiling feeling that Chemo burn remember that you have all of us and if you decide to return to playing football the day you run out on that pitch there will be tears, laughter, and songs but right now our fists are clenched, fucking Wolves ay we mate.

Big Love

Buy The Ticket-Take The Ride

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‘You’re basically sports reporting’ she said. No, this blog isn’t about ‘sport’ it’s about Wolves, a subject far important than sport. But hey! A friendly against Crisptown. What a strange place Leicester is, so strange that I can actually spell it first try with right clicky red squigglies. Cool as fuck. A team full of strangers Leicester are. Like Walkers Crisps they promise (on the packaging) a taste sensation, a luxurious dip into the world of the thinly sliced deep fried potato. Until you open them and find a sad little collection of over flavoured, overpriced  spud. I never liked them since I was doubled over laughing in the 80’s when their fans ran down a dual carriageway (at our away support) dressed in dungarees. Mad Clampett fashions. Relegation for them this season. Their Kwan is gone.

So I’m engaged with other football fans of various teams over the whole financial fair play thing. Of course I am well versed in the complexities of the regulatory initiative of European…..ok i’m not, but if you type loudly and offer perfunctory violence then the steam and fume from these strangely dressed social media-er-rers becomes muted and unsure, they start to nibble their finger nails, they start to question their own knowledge. Money is King in football, chuck enough money into a club and they will gather the necessary players to do that. 20 squillion squids on Alberto Nicetan from some sun drenched shit hole in France or Spain will be good. He sprays passes around as an afterthought, he runs like a man possessed. Welcome Alberto and the media team go ‘say Wolves ay we’ so the freaks on Facebook get semis. Alberto doesn’t give a fuck and to be honest neither do I. What I want is Alberto to lash a few goals in, make the plays, listen to Nuno who seems like he has a fervour, or Fosun showed him videos of what happens when the third Dragon Tong from Honk Kong are called in.

The thing is, there’s no other club in the UK that deserves the thrills and spills of top quality football than Wolverhampton Wanderers. We invented football, we invented floodlit night games, we invented passion, we invented everything to do with football. So why aren’t we playing the likes of Barcelona and Madrid? Let those questions drop where they may. Scouse Mafia, Compton Mafia a cosa nostra of fuck ups and circle jerks. We deserve top flight football because simply put we really are the greatest team in the world. We may not have the trophies and the honours to prove it (lately) but trust me we are the fucking Godzilla of English football. Thus awake we trawl through the sludgy depths, eyes blinking at the bright lights and attention until announcing our arrival with a roar and a quick left jab at some high rise office building.

But what about the Kwan? What about the game? I had to skip between feeds, I had to phone people, I had to stitch together uploaded videos.

Douglas. I like the cut of his jib and at a million quid he looks like an absolute bargain. His link up play going forwards was a joy. Constantly watching the movement of players in front of him he has second sight when it comes to moving forward. No hesitation in him at all but a feeling, a metaphysical knowledge of when to move forward, when to hang back, constantly watching and probing.

Commander Coady. After being shifted around like a shit ornament last season he has grown. Grown or realisation? I’m not sure, but his voice booming over the pitch, shouting, giving out the orders reminded me of someone but I can’t remember who at the moment but it will come to me. Coady is a dude that will flourish under the tutelage of Nuno because A. He’s not daft and B. He’s not daft. Put Boly in there too and you have a unit. What is Boly? He’s not human that’s for sure. Playing against Boly must be like trying to wrestle telegraph poles or shuffling skips. What is Boly? Who knows so far but I tug my forelock at him. Same with Miranda, he didn’t look like he gave a shit. His undoubted knowledge of his position was amazing. All of a sudden a player that had an almost telepathic understanding of how an opposition player was going to move. Who were these people? Why weren’t they falling over like normal? Running into strange unthreatening positions making the defendable undefendable. I don’t know. Next week when Boro come down here I’m seriously thinking of staying sober so I can work out what in the fuck is going on. If only so I can watch Boro players arseholes squeak when the Bolynator comes out for a fifty-fifty. It must be like getting hit by a UPS van.

Neves was a thing. A thinker obviously, undoubted athletic ability, a quality and a breath of fresh air. Searching the variables of the midfield he had it sussed in minutes and thus as all greatest workmen he crafted a pass here and a run there, a little dink of the ball on his left foot, shift weight gently and he was off again, searching, looking for movement. Of course as he envelopes the whole team and understands how they move those passes will become as natural and unconscious as the greatest teams.

There are probably other players I should have mentioned but shout out to Jota, Cav, Saiss and a shout to Costa as well even though he’s injured because I love him too.

On a final note we are searching for a striker. I see that, we’ve had some misfires, misfits and misanthropes since Bully. This stage is set for a Hero so the picking has to be correct. What Pro striker wouldn’t love to be at the sharp end of those foot juggling lunatics from Portugal. Mate, you’ll be shouting for the ball running full tilt towards the Southbank and it will bonk you on the head before you get a word out. In fact I think the striker we are after should fucking pay to play with such a team.

Anyway. It’s a week away. Contain excitement, stop dancing around when you get up, stop acting like you’ve found a box of kittens. Time to get that stern face on. The Southbank is our Church and Saint Nuno our Holy bringer of joys, its a fucking long season, blood will fall, icons will be torn from their alcoves, new heroes, new villains, the madness is soon come.

Kwan of Wolves

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I don’t really know anything about football. I’ve been going to the Molineux since 1972. We were playing Leeds and Billy Bremner booted the ball into the Northbank and knocked my mate out who was standing right next to me. I was hooked. I hate Leeds and I still laugh when somebody gets a good whack in the face off a booted ball. This blog is not going to be coherent. A mix of Eastern Philosophy and English football will not be comfortable bedfellows. Neither will my analysis of games be comfortable. My mind wanders during games. People talk to me during dull periods. My views are often the views of others who have concentrated in the moments when my attention has lapsed. But I am an observer, of body language and of dynamics. A metaphysical view of performance and the greater subject of ownership and the relationships between the team and our mighty stand ‘The Southbank’.

This blog wont be about the intricacies of the tactical game and the complex variables that all fit together to make this great spectacle an occasion to laugh with joy….. or as I do most matchdays at the Molineux last season,  watch the fucking Seagulls flying around, great swooping circles in the blue sky above the John Ire…er Steve Bull stand. Underneath, on the pitch last season I didn’t feel the Kwan. Numerous players not doing their thing, a lack lustre Lambert fuck around and that in my infinite wisdom I knew it would happen. I didn’t like Lambert the day he turned up for the signing thing. His suit looked like a Bookies and the scruffy bastard was wearing trainers. I thought about Stan Cullis, impeccable, when the Board were made up of local well suited and booted local businessmen. These Monochrome men, stern faced, what would they think of this man? I think Lambert wouldn’t have got his foot on the first step of the stairs into the heart of the Waterloo Road stand. Those days we had a Commissionaire, ex Soldier, medals standing guard.

The new signing were cool. Costa could move about a bit, he looks quite normal, he says the right things to keep the Facebook knuckle biters happy albeit sounding like the kid who robs your camera while you’re sunbathing on a beach in Rio. I’ve never been to Rio.

Cavaleiro was a solid looking dude. Championship football was a fucking confusing thing to him. What were they doing? Why are my team mates running around aimlessly? Why does the ball keep flying over my head? Of course he got some neck. Maybe his heart dropped a little…..maybe I should concentrate on the metaphysical aspects of this great pantomime? I’m not sure.

Last season was a weirdly esoteric run around. The Cup run was strange as was Coady (against Liverpool) actually running without looking like he was trying to beat the flames out. I know it wasn’t his position but running is genetic not memetic. I would like to see more from him, I suspect his love and laughter may carry through to his playing if he allows his Kwan to flow. Don’t forget Conor Coady, you must leap over the barriers they have placed in your way. Concentrate and forge a path in harmony with the Kwan of the team.

Swapping Wallace for Jota fills me with love. Jota makes my nipples go hard, Wallace made me feel like my tit was caught in a mangle. What great things his fans said when he signed for us and then? Lacklustre and often pointless meanderings, unsure, no confidence displays peppered with a peek of potential. A sideboob of a player, Look! oh. Shit no.

Saville gets up from the golden throne and while still warm enter Neves. Oh sweet stroker of the ball, that ability, that silken touch. As Saville runs as if there is an earthquake happening see Neves glide and position himself. A touch here a touch there, a stroker a veritable positioner, a much finer artiste honed in the glaring desolation of the Portuguese desert where the only things of note are the ability to impress the Gods with a ball.

Willy Boly. What finer example of a defensive player does one need. As Xerxes he is. A giant among dwarves. His physical presence not yet defined but as many times last season when our defence collapsed to the ground under the shoulder of some low brow opposition team, i suspect this will not be the case under Boly. If we could put the heart of Stearman into the body of Boly there would be statues commissioned and kids starting school in five years time called Willy.

Jack Price. Wherefore art thou Jacko? This is your time my friend. A time to flourish and make that hallowed center ground your own. A General you could be, or a great artist, the tools you have to hand this season would make Picasso blush. These Portuguese signings are your brush to define how the team plays, to stroke those broad passes, to dab a splash here and there, to hold up your hand and tell the opposition ‘Thou shalt not pass’ and verily it would be so. It is your time and the great Wolves players of the past sit upon the golden stairs and hold out their hands to you. Will you take them? Will your Kwan flow?

Kwan yes. The best teams have a flowing Kwan but the Kwan is not a river it is the sparkling self belief and dare I say the telepathic ability to define your own play within the dynamics of a team. Last season we lacked Kwan. You could tell in Cavalieros face that he knew the Kwan was being diverted by the incessant dourness of the trainer wearing clown Lamberto. The style of play was the luxury sandwich they eat in the Billy Wright stand. It looked good on the menu but looking at it in your hands you wonder about the complexities of it, the strange new sauces you’ve never heard of. The weird bread. The way the waitresses tits jiggled as she brought it to you. The doughnuts in the other seats watching you eat it.

We resist of course. We in the Southbank, hence this blog is called ‘the resistance’. What does it resist? Everything. But the most important thing we resist is the idea of support as a commodity. I am inclined to believe at this moment that it is vitally important for anybody that buys a season ticket in that hallowed stand, that they keep it in the family. There are ghosts in that stand. Those ghosts bellow and sing even now and if you listen to the wind in the gaps between the songs and the plaintive wailing from the North bank you will hear them.

So this season what? What amazing things will we see from those acolytes of the demon Mendes? What delights will our jaded eyes be assailed with? There is an assemblage here, of players who understand Kwan better than Stan Hardknock ‘tackler’ and midfielder of cold English Winters will never fathom. From Compton our little funky brothers like Ronan and Enkobahare will flourish if they open their minds to the blue sky cocktails on the beach football of our new additions. There will be funky jazz chords underpinned by the relentless percussion of Ronans undoubted ability. The splash of vermillion activity across our hallowed green turf from Enkobahare…..maybe.

I have studied the I Ching for 30 years and use its poetic beauty to define what may happen this season. It’s a Chinese thing and I take my hat off to the owners the Fosun conglomeration. They have spent, but what does the ancient philosophy say? I of course deliberated on the new signings and the dynamics of the team as of now. I use Yarrow sticks to determine the Kwan of the team and the I Ching has spoken…

Hexagram 3 (Chun) Difficult beginnings. The receptive or us the fans, and to some degree the previous teams. All new endeavors encounter difficult beginnings but it is a beginning that was mean’t to be. It is the dream that is coming true by overcoming obstacles in its way. Chun is a seed which has sprouted and has to fight through the rocks and soil to reach the sunlight. It is a time to be fearless to examine your heart and see no barrier that is too tall and no enemy worth your time. With no enemies it is time to move forward with power. To be confident of our success. Eventually. There must be a power of commitment. Nuno must be given the time to flourish. The team must seek advice and not be afraid to utilise that advice as moving forward will provide barricades unless the advice is listened to.

Enjoy the Blog please. Don’t take it too seriously.