Championship reasons for Wolves fans to be cheerful

It may feel like purgatory at times but sometimes you’ve just got to love the Championship haven’t you, writes Wolves blogger Tim Spiers.


Last month, after a pitiful performance and a convincing defeat in Cardiff, things weren’t looking too clever for us.

We had two points from four games, new signings were struggling for fitness and yet to bed in, while there seemed to be no coherent tactical plan as to what we were trying to do.

At Cardiff we were comprehensively blown away and two weeks later were slumped perilously in 23rd position.

Cue five wins from six matches – with four clean sheets to boot – and here we are in the dizzy heights of third, three points behind the leaders who just so happen to be Cardiff.

It seems that Solbakken’s work on the training ground is starting to bear fruit.

But although it’s nice to be winning games and in a lofty position, you won’t find many Wolves fans shouting from the rooftops about how well we’re doing.

Why? Well it’s a bit early for that for a start. Also, we’ve been here before and have far too much cynicism to get carried away after ten games.

But also, the football has hardly been akin to Brazil in 1970. Or dare I say, Wolves in 2008/09.

It’s been effective. Not cavalier, not bold and certainly not too exciting. But, in the past six games, it’s been effective.

We haven’t been creating chances galore and have relied heavily on three players – Carl Ikeme, Roger Johnson and in particular Bakary Sako – to get us through.

There have been little glimpses and titbits of what might be to come should everything click into place, like against Crystal Palace for example when a couple of gorgeous, flowing, technical passing moves could have resulted in goals.

But on the whole it’s been fairly pedestrian, with priority given – rightly I might add – to protecting our flimsy defence.

Tongo Doumbia looked like he could be the Championship’s answer to Yaya Toure in the first few games but you wouldn’t know it now, for he is being asked to sit and protect.

Likewise Slawomir Peszko – before his unfortunate injury – was doing more than his fair share of defensive work down the right flank and Sako earned a bit of stick for not doing the same.

And when we have the ball it’s imperative to Solbakken that we keep it, particularly if we have the lead, at all costs.

Now this doesn’t make for fascinating viewing, but what it does do is ensure our chances of victory are greater, and it’s true there haven’t been many hairy moments in those victories.

The question is, would you settle for this for the rest of the season? Effective – mostly dull – football, but winning football at that?

After the three years of struggle we’ve endured I think we should be grateful to be winning matches again and it’s to Solbakken’s credit that we are.

Perhaps most importantly it seems the squad’s team spirit – lost in the turgid final months of our Premier League farewell – is returning.

But while the football continues to be more akin to Glenn Hoddle’s reign rather than Mick McCarthy’s, the supporters may not flock back in their droves.

However I’m inclined to believe that as the weeks and months pass the new philosophy will seep through and we’ll see some dynamic, technique-based football that’s good enough to grace the top flight.

That was always the problem with McCarthy’s team – they were limited in what they could produce and came unstuck against technically gifted opposition.

But with Solbakken flair and technique compare favourably with graft and work ethic, and ultimately that should make for a more watchable team.

It may not be televised, but the revolution is coming.

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Comments for: "Championship reasons for Wolves fans to be cheerful"


Sorting the defence out was always going to be the manager's priority after last season's shambles.

Now the team are competantly organised at the back and we have a bit of confidence, I would expect a few more risks to be taken when attacking.

Of course, it's worth remembering that our first choice midfield bar Karl Henry is all change, it was going to take some time for players to gel.

I'm optimistic, i've been saying since day one that we will play our best football in the 2nd half of the season. If we can stay in the hunt until then, well, woof.


Can I just make the observation that at no point does this article suggest that you have got to love the Championship? It suggests that the league is attritional, that the style of football required to prosper in it is ugly - both of which we'd all agree with - but there's no suggestion anywhere that we have to love it. Very peculiar.

Kevin Rowland circa 1980 Ohh Geno

Some valid points Tim but i don't think you can compare ståles style to 'draw specialist' hoddle. He looks an impressive appointment so far, though the football is a little drab at times, the results are all that matters. I think fans understand that Wolves are still a working progress, but we have certainly got one of the best teams in the league. Its still to early to say but im more than pleased with what i have seen so far. Still if we lose on Saturday im sure the neg- heads will be on here spouting there usual spiel. At the moment im chuffed and proud to be a Wolves fan again. Long may it continue.








Unless I missed it when were we exciting under McCarthy?

Moxey's hair gel

we definitely were when we were promoted.

Kightly and Jarvis on the wings.

Ebanks Blake and big Chris knocking them in.

it was exciting

we soon found that we couldn't play like that in the Prem and never were able to adapt. If Stale is bringing a style that will endure a promotion i am all for it

Bunghoolioo Wolf

Watch the Season review DVD we were immense that season. Didn't quite happen in the Prem the same way though alas.


Llinda- I think you're being a little unfair to Mick we did have quite a few games that were exciting,Man U, Chelsea,Man City, Liverpool ,Tottenham to name a few.


i am happy just knowing we arent going to ship three or more goals a game - means we always have a chance to win

not really exciting football but at the mo i will take it- being solid is a wonderful change

and as for our manager - have great belief in him...even if we dont go up this year - i think we will be mid table when we do

happy days...well happier days !!

Tom S

I hate to nit pick but we had 4 points from 4 games having beaten Barnsley at home.

Otherwise I agree on your points, we are playing a far more compact game. Personally I think as the players get used to playing with each other more and more we will see the pace of the football increase, but it will take time.

I like Doumbia but I thought he was fairly anonymous against Blackburn playing behind SEB and I think only when O'Hara returns will we have a player who is a natural in an advanced midfield role.


Well written piece and I totally agree with the sentiment - good one!


This is the trouble. The continuous flogging of the dead horse that the football we are playing now is dull compared to Mick's team is going to persuade the fans who stay away to continue to do so.

To me the games feel much less like the fortnightly exercise in futility that they had become under Mick because it became certain that even if we did score first the opposition would score many more in reply. Instead the games NOW are the more enjoyable ones because there isn't the sickening expectation of an opposition goal to look forward to.

Those who hark back to the 2008/09 season seem to perceive that every game was like the 5-1 v Forest, 4-0 v Wednesday and the 3-0 v Preston. The reality was that these games were when the front four were Kightly, Iwelumo, SEB and Jarvis which only played together for the first few games before at least one of them was injured or suspended during the rest of the season. The rest of the time wasn’t so spectacular. Another point is that McCarthy was at the height of his popularity towards the end of the first Prem season when we were winning “dull” 1-0s.

Ye Olde South Bank

Can't say I disagree with much you say, Tim. Restoring confidence surely had to be Solbakken's primary objective -and that could only be achieved by winning games and stopping the tidal wave of goals conceded.

The style may be unspectacular for the moment, but the team -particularly McCarthy's boys- need time to adjust. In the long run, it could well reap dividends once Wolves regain their Premier League status because retaining possession in that division is crucial. Besides, we'd inevitably see players with greater ability brought in who are more easily able to adapt to the style. So, long term we should expect a more exciting look and feel.

Once again, you omitted those gushing metaphors and similes that I mentioned, Tim. Accordingly, once again the article was easy on the eye so please stick to your new-found style. Your article is simple but highly 'effective', Tim...

...just like Solbakken's football ;-)


A fair appraisal of the situation to date.

Solbakkens approach seems to be far more measured and consequently less flambouyant than that of his predesessor. But as has been said many times on this site by various posters, it's work in progress. It would be churlish to criticize especially when we are winning games and climbing up the league.

By now Solbakken has had enough time to analyse all the players and will know what they are capable of, or not as the case maybe. I fully expect more changes to the squad when the transfer window re-opens in January, with some departures and some further recruits.

Revolution or evolution? Take your pick.


I will take Solbakkens' style evey time over MM's ! This is a results driven business and as long as we keep winning and at the same time gain more confidence as a result I am sure we will be there or there abouts come the end of the season.

I much prefer a more technical way that a McCarthy way! On wards and upwards the Stale way!


A good review of where we are and i agree with most points raised. With Pennant now on the books we will have that bit extra in the tank but we still need extra up front. We need someone who is a reputable goalscorer to compliment SEB & Doyle. Kenwyn Jones maybe? We do miss Fletch in this degree is it clear but so far we have held our own. Slowly but surely we are biting back. I do hope that IF we do win promotion this season we/Moxey/Morgan have LEARNT that major player investment is

THE main priority before a glittering Stadium. As stated above, Wolves fans have been burnt bbefore and we are sceptical and have a damn right to be with regard the money we have forked out.

If they want the gates bulging they know what it takes!

In Staale we trust!


Boris the Wolf

I love the championship.

The premiership may be the best league in the world, and it may well be an honour to play in it, but realistically, unless we sprout Billionaire buying power from somewhere, we are always going to struggle there. Mid-table mediocrity may be an admirable target for some, but in this league, well, every single game is realistically winnable, and the title is winnable too. I would have no worries whatever if the premiership split completely and left us to it.

I have been watching Wolves for 45 years now, and it galls me to consider mere survival in a league an ambition. The championship is REAL guts football, and it's teams usually have real local fans.

Tim has it right. Come ON you Wolves!


I would take winning over eye-catching football any day of the week! However, I do think that come Christmas time the quality of the football will also improve - once the players properly get used to the system.

This type of football will definitely serve better in the Premier League, when we get promoted!


"We had two points from four games"

funny, thought we would have got 3 points for the win Vs Barnsley which was the 2nd game of the season?!

We got solbakken the club

Good job you added them last four paragraphs Tim cos I was ready to throw meself under the next 79 bus. I'm luvvin this possession footy we,re playin , and you're right, it does need a degree of patience, but I think Solbakken sees it as the way to promotion and ultimately bigger things. We're nowhere near ready for prem football yet though, and I think the gaffa,s biggest test will be acquiring players good enough to bridge a very large gap, and IF we do get there, hold our own. I've said many times before, give Stale Solbakken the funding to build a new team, new stands come later.

Au revoir our kid...

wolves fan

tunnell vision time will tell ......

Wolfman Jack

Good piece. I would say tho' that we (collectively) have very negative memories of Hoddle's reign. But I recall that at the start of his time we played some good, open adventurous football. I recall us winning 3-1 at Stoke and then 4-0 at Crewe a couple of days later ? Quite why, how or where it all went wrong I'll never know.


You lot make me smile.

In 2009 we won the league by 7 points, winning 4 more games than 2nd place and scoring 26 more goals.

Some of you are praising Stale (rightly so) but having a dig at "Mick's way" in the same breath. If Stale's record is anywhere near Mick's in 08/09 you'll be calling him a genius, so lets not bash Mick too easily.

Good article. Stale's start has been perfect - building a solid base and getting us in contention.


Glad it's not just me with a memory longer than a goldfish!


well said guys

Sedgley Slayer

Good article, Tim. I think that with victories comes confidence, and with time and confidence the team with no doubt improve further and become more fluid in the final third.

I must say that Solbakken has done a fantastic job so far, hopefully he can keep it going!


bill south africa

keep it up we will get there

The Flying Winger

Stale has done what many of us were calling for, change of tactics, as much as possible play a settled side and players in their best positions, try to keep the ball and pass to a wolves player.

Sort out the backroom staff, still more to do here.

Yes the defence is playing better it couldn't get any worse, however he still needs a couple of new players in the defence or I think this will again be our undoing.

Son of Sue

Nice to see you taking the credit! So players in their best positions? Foley's being right midfield, right back and centre midfield vs. Blackburn. Didn't MM always get slagged off this. Funny the difference the odd goal makes isn't it?

The Flying Winger

I did say many of us, and as much as possible, please read and not assume, Sue would have done better.

MM had lost the plot on this long ago

Son of Sue

I agree Mick had lost the plot but that had nothing to playing players out of position. As far as I'm aware footballers aren't branded with a position when they take up the sport. This is one of the problems the English game has. Spain and Barcelona basically play with a goalkeeper and ten outfield players. Adaptability and being able to cover other positions should be a prerequisite of being a professional footballer!

Sorry for the assumptions!


He didn't have a pop at Karl Henry Flying Whinger going soft on us ?


now now my son don't fall out with the flying winger that's my job! now be a good

Vic Wolf

At least you don't have to watch the Hyundia A league rubbish here in Australia.

Wherever you are

Whatever you do

We are The Wolves

VIC 3187


Just spitballing here but... do you live in Australia by any chance?


agree with most of the article and most of the posts, but stale is killing two bird with one stone, in as much as educating his playing staff in relation to continental football and also educating the fans with patient effective football as opposed to end to end more exciting football but which results in more defeats than wins.

at the moment we do not have the players to play a mixture of both styles, but when and if we do, i am confident the glory and trophies will return to molinuex.



Apparently according to the press a London club won the Cahmpions League last year playing "dull" football..........

The football under Stale compared to MM is already technically far superior. We have a shape to the team and play together more cohesively, despite the fact of the number of new signings. And slowly but surely the sideways and backwards passing is falling out of our game, particularly since Connor left.

It is work in progress and I am over the moon we are in contention at the top so early in the season, as I can only see us getting better.

But one swallow doesn't make a summer so I'm keeping the proverbial feet squarely on the ground. Good solid start and keep up the good work boys. UTW and here's to Tuesday night.

Paul The Wolf

Can anyone remember "One Nil to the Albion" a few seasons ago? No, it may not be very pretty at the moment but if it wins us games and we go up I will take it. Also, can we leave Mick out of it, I have great memories of his reign and will always be thankful after the fool called Hoddle but that was then and this is now.


While i am pleased with Wolves' progress up to press,the fact of the matter is that the defence is not good enough.That's the main reason we are watching Wolves play Championship rather than Premier League football.Stale is going to have to address this problem sooner or later.

English Exile

My concern is our defence. It has been recognised for the last 3 seasons that this is our ''Achilles Heel'', but we are no buying defenders. Why?

Lord Molineux

Easy. The last three years was spent in the Premiership. The current defence is more than good enough for the Championship, in fact it will turn out to be one of the better ones. If we are challenging for promotion Premiership class defenders will have to brought in, either in January or more likely in the summer.

Thought most Molineux regulars could see that.


Good article but sadly missing the maths??? We got 2 points from 4 games... when this season exactly? Yes it has not been the best football but things I am sure will improve on that front. The worst performance this season was Cardiff but that was down to a poor midfield - lacking Henry, who is out tomorrow concerningly - and a shocker from Zubar. Ikeme, Johnson and Sako are at present, in the Championship team of the year - 10 games in!

Tough game tomorrow but although Bolton have some very good players, I expect 6 points from the next 2 home games. Great start and salute Solbakken!!!

Farmer Ted

This constant comparison of the Solbakken style to McCarthy's is tedious, but, inevitable I suppose. There were some very good times under McCarthy's tenure as well as the oft mentioned bad times, but, he's gone now. Move on.

The Stale plan is coming together, but, still some way to go.

A few things to wish for tomorrow.

David Davis to raise his game and cover well for Karl Henry.

Johnson and Berra to continue their great (so far) defensive partnership, but, to get on the end of some of those wonderful corners from Sako (al a Collins !)

Jermaine Pennant to show his Premiership class from day one.

A couple of goals from open play, preferably from SEB and Doyle.

A warm welcoming victory for Patrick Weiser.


Agreed, I second everything you have said, Farmer Ted.

gold n black on me back

I couldn't agree more, looking forward to going up there tomorrow and cheering the lads on. Anyone drinking in the yorkshire rose before the game tomorrow?


Solbakken looks to be just what Wolves needed a manager that picks the team on performance rather than favouritism,I predict we will get promoted this season and will have the neccersary technical skills to cement us in the premiership,the only fly in the oitment could be Moxey if he fails to back Solbakken with enough funds.


I have to agree with Boris the Wolf, i too like the championship,having watched them in it for many years. I know most people think the PL is the be all and end all of football, but in the three years we played in the PL, i cant remember to many exciting times being a Wolve fan of ( 53yrs ), watching my team getting a thumping most weeks, and it was killing me to watch it. As he said unless someone with multi-millions comes and buys our club, then if/when we return to the PL, it will be much the same as before. Because we simply cant compete with most of the clubs in it. But in the championship, we are clearly a top six-team, who given time under SS/Coaches we will win far more matches than we lose. Yes we all know its not excitng free flowing football, and most of the time we are having to grind out results, but at the end of the day, i go to see my team win matches, and go home HAPPY, not fed up and moaning to the wife and dog etc etc, after getting another thumping off the likes of Chelsea,Man Utd, Man C,Arsenal etc etc in the so called best league in football, if not the world according to some people. GOOD LUCK TOMORROW LADS: UTW:

Farmer Ted

I always find this argument confusing. Yes, I understand winning is important and we all enjoy the weekends so much more, but, competing in The Championship, as we are, means we want to win more than we lose or draw, and to try to be the best team in the division, or, if not, the second best, or, if not to get to the play off final. So what happens then ? Throw the Play off final, or refuse to take automatic promotion ?

Of course not.

Unless a Sheik Mansour comes along (heaven forbid) most fans outside the top four, and remember even Liverpool can't get in that club, know that consolidation and improvement is the name of the game. We failed last time, but, like Stoke and Albion, we fight hard in the Championship to give it another go.

Incidentally, we beat Man U, Chelsea and Man City. That was exciting and we should have built upon it, but, we failed.

We just have to pray that lessons have been learned if we earn our selves another chance next May.

Peace in the Valley

Excellant. I concur entirely. If we finish third and/or fail to win the Play Off Final we won't find it very exciting then no matter how many happy weekends we've enjoyed during the season !

Dingle Dave

We can't compare Stale to Mick until we are in the premier league, When we won the championship it was awesome free flowing play with wingers and strikers battering teams. Our problem came when we was promoted and MM limitations became clear straight away to most fans.

If we get promoted then yes lets see how Stale does and i think he will do a btter job than MM.

Listen i am no MM fan but to keep battering him is unfair because he did an outstanding job, it wasn't his fault our leaders lacked bottle and vision not to sack him earlier. If MM takes over Bolton or Blackburn they are a threat straight away trust me, MM just can't manage in the premier league.

Ok rant over, My opinion is our new regime is starting something very special so lets enjoy the ride.

Windsor Wolf

The majority on here are concerned about the defence.

The defence will be fine, they have premier league experience and can more than hold their own in this league as clean sheets show.

The problem is that if we are promoted they are not good enough for the premier league and that will need to be addressed.

chris h

It comes to something when our own fans prefer Wolverhampton Wanderers to be playing in a second rate league,because we can win more games against second rate opposition. Where is the ambition?We know the Board lack ambition they have proved that in failing to re establish our club in top flight football,every year in the Premier they have made profits,paid out big bonuses to you know who,but failed to attract sufficient quality footballers to keep us playing against the best sides. Fans who want better for our football club are called moaners on here.I bet these comments on prefering second rate football is music to the ears of Jez Moxey.


chris your bang on m8 with this comment,we had donkeys years of playing in this league and i for one hated it the opposition never improved so we never improved,but now we have a great chance to change all this under staale we can already see the difference in the quality of players compared to micks buys,come january no matter where we are in the league the board have got to show ambition and back the manager with money,ive said it before and i'll say it again if staale is backed wolves will be playing european football within five years now thats abition for ya i just hope the board feel the same,IN STAALE WE TRUST,/wwfc/

We got solbakken the club

I gotta agree with ya aswell Chris. The sole aim of any proffesional football club should be to win every game that the said club takes part in. Take the bull by the horns and solve promotion puzzles if and when they come. The negativity worries me sometimes.

Au revoir our kid...

Why the long face and droopy tash?

The new coach's Barnet is the Ying to Stale's Yang ... can only mean one thing Fengshui Football ... make mine a large!

Up the MIGHTY Wolves

50 Years Gold & Black

Hasn`t anyone noticed that we`ve stopped shipping goals and started winning games since our great ex-first team coach (haha)Connor got the boot? Coincidence? I think not !

serbian fair play league

We played good attacking football in the championship with mick but the defence was a problem even then. We still conceded too many goals, especially very early, or late on and were abysmal at defending corners. The problem of the defence was never addressed and was obviously going to be a huge weakness in the EPL. At least SS has tried to sort it out and is also trying to develop our style of football. SS and his backroom staff should have the tactical nous to make us competetive if we go up at least.

astraltrader [Terry]

You say SS has tried to sort out our defence but unless I have lost the plot it is with the same numpties who were the worst defence in the PL last season!!

If we are to be promoted then we need to add quality to the defence starting in January. No more talk of further ground improvements until that has happened and we have begun to fill the copius number of empty seats at the Mol!


the only defender? who needs replacing is wardy. push him up to midfield. the rest are now playing in their rightful places.foley is never a midfielder, and for some reason, berra only plays well alongside roger.NEW LEFT BACK PLEASE.