Wolves 1 Blackpool 2 - pictures and analysis

Three games in and it has not got any better. Wolves fans don’t even want to think about the consequences of it getting any worse.

But the ‘new manager’ bounce owner Steve Morgan was, at the very least, hoping the arrival of Dean Saunders would provide simply hasn’t materialised.

Two draws and now this defeat, from the very match all around Molineux had imagined would provide Saunders with his first victory, have reinforced and not eased the pressures around the club.

If the performance level has improved a touch, the quality remains elusive unlike the team’s ability to find trouble where none existed.

The calamitous first Blackpool goal, engineered out of thin air by a moment of rabbit-in-the-headlights defending from Roger Johnson and Carl Ikeme, punctured Wolves’ fragile confidence and gave the visitors the platform from which they would go on to win the game.

Johnson’s late red card was aggravating on the day but will save its real impact for the games Wolves must play without him now.

In short, the decline and fall of what looks increasingly like a bogus empire shows no sign of letting up and carries the genuine menace of a double relegation.

In the dying days of Stale Solbakken’s regime, it was possible to hear rationalists point out that Wolves were equidistant from the play-offs and the bottom three – nine points.  Now the maths tell a different story; Saunders’s team is double the distance from the play-offs (14) as it sits seven points clear of the relegation zone. That is a form curve arcing steadily in one direction and, without a major up-turn in performance, due to bottom out sometime around April in a jeopardy which does not bear thinking about.

More and more, Wolves fans find themselves looking at the remnants of the Premier League squad and wondering what on earth happened to them.

Mick McCarthy’s core figures never claimed to be the greatest players in the world – but surely they are better than 18th in the Championship with one win in eight or three wins from the last 17 games?

Against Blackpool, the Wolves squad included Henry, Doyle, Ebanks-Blake, Berra, Zubar, O’Hara, Hunt and, before a neck injury forced his late withdrawal, Ward. These are all players who figured in those second-season victories over Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Yes, they were games Wolves pilfered largely on the retreat towards their own area but, nevertheless, the club remains staffed by some battle-hardened heavyweights in Championship terms. To see another manager – the third since McCarthy – struggling to coax any kind of improvement from the group is to wonder what on earth can be done now to arrest a chronic decline.

With each passing failure, the conclusion screams ever more loudly that a group of players brought together on a ‘young and hungry’ ticket are neither young nor hungry any more. And without the furious energy and commitment which stifled the Premier League’s most powerful teams in those epic victories, they are hugely diminished.

As it is, Saunders has a bigger mountain to climb than he probably envisaged and has yet to reach the base camp of a first win.

He must have fancied his chances of breaking the duck for all but the final minutes of a first half his team controlled having struck a fine 16th-minute goal when the galloping Ronald Zubar delivered a precision cross expertly steered into the bottom corner by Sylvan Ebaks-Blake’s sideways header. Zubar and Slawomir Peszko were a threat down the right flank, Bakary Sako less so on the other side but nevertheless, Wolves were a team sensing an end to their miseries.

Oh dear. From a moment of frozen indecision, Johnson and Ikeme turned a routine clearance into an opportunistic equaliser from the best player on the pitch, Thomas Ince, which shattered the home side’s well-being.

And like Solbakken before him, Saunders is discovering that whatever team comes into the home dressing room for a half-time cuppa, a different and weaker version comes out the other side.

Ebanks-Blake missed Wolves’ one chance to regain the lead on 53 minutes, shooting straight at Matthew Gilks from 12 yards, and Ince would clinch victory against increasingly uncertain opponents with a 25-yard screamer, 12 minutes from time.

Whether fair or not, no figure symbolises the team’s collapse more than Johnson, who has tried to mend his first-year failings but thrust towards Saunders still more problems to resolve when a desperate tangle with Angel Martinez led to a red card in added time.

By Martin Swain

m.swain@expressandstar.co.uk

Comments for: "Wolves 1 Blackpool 2 - pictures and analysis"

NIC WOLF

I salute all those fans who went to the match but I fear gates will now fall. We must no show some fight to avoid our second relegation in 2 seasons... Butr where is that fight going to come from...Yes these are the players who got a handful of great results in the premier league but now with our 4th manager in change in almost a year and still they cannot perform.... Its the players fault they need to shut up and start to play, but to be honest I feel come May will be relegated....

Bunghoolioo Wolf

It is absolutely not the managers fault...It is however absolutely the players fault! These players have the ability within them to totally destroy other teams in this division. They simply haven't got the heart anymore. They should be shipped out now or at the very least in the summer. Bring through any promising youngsters and try and get a few DECENT signings in this week. We won't be any worse off. We won't seriously go down but things have simply GOT TO GET BETTER!

Those players who perform so poorly each week have said all the right things under 4 managers now and done precisely none of what they spouted. They got each one of them sacked as it's them that delivers (or not) after they walk on to the pitch.Not the manager, not Moxey and not Morgan.

They should be easily good enough to win or at least compete in this league! Instead they have:

No desire, no heart, no loyalty, no respect...no future in our club...

JOG ON BOYS!

UTW

DancesWithWolves

Even great teams at other clubs have had to be dismantled in the past. Even Man U are constantly rebuilding. The present Wolves team are irrevocably finished as a unit, a depressive defeatist mindset is firmly established. The better players should leave now and re-establish themselves elsewhere. The home defeat against Blackpool has a silver lining. Any lingering thoughts of just tinkering with the team must be banished. A win would actually have been a setback, as we would have taken heart and done little to change the team. The defeat must surely be the final wake-up call... Out with the old, in with the new.

The Flying Winger

So what words of comfort are we going to get from Henry, Ward, Edwards, Berra, Doyle.

My word is go now!!!

John De Wolf

I hope everyone now realises it wasn't Solbakken who was rubbish it was the players. Utter disgrace. Saunders is worse then Solbakken and poor mans McCarthy. I'd get Adkins in before it's too late. Morgan and Moxey are clueless and taking us down.

maltawolves

As can be seen the article where they are prepared to sell SEB for £1 million ( to add to the £18 million banked in August) the to M'S are only to happy to accept further misery being heaped on the long suffering fans.Saunders was brought in to plunder the loan market with more mis-firing BARGAINS.

Jez is buisily writing his REASONS WHY NOT SPEECH and the fans must accept that the manager needs more time( whilst i make more money) before things will start to improve.

Ballager

Agree completely and totally. Morgan ought to go down on bended knee and beg Stollbakken to come back after promising him to get rid rid of the crap and giving him £25M to bring in more of his own players.

Windsor Wolf

Most people say what a brilliant job McCarthy did in taking over the fiasco left by Hoddle, but in a lot of respects he was better off than either Solbakken and Saunders, in that because of the squad he inherited he had virtually a blank sheet to start with and very little expectations.

The last two managers have inherited an overblown squad, some on long term contracts that nobody else wants and who think they are now prima donnas having played in the Premiership and who were expected to take the Championship by storm.

Just look at the cup results this weekend and see how lower league teams are beating much higher positioned teams through hard work and dare I say playing good football. We do neither!

Solentwolves

Windsor Wolf - your post echoes my thoughts exactly.

Ye Olde South Bank

......and mine too, Solentwolves.

Alan Davis

Does anyone remember when on the day we werebeated 5-1 by the Albion last February that when asked if Wolves should sack Mick McCarthy, Roy Hodgson said "beware of what you wish for". Boy are those words haunting us know.

At least in appointing Solbakken Wolves tried to bring someone in to change the side and play some cultured football. Ultimately that wasn't working for whatever reason, but at a club like Swansea this did take 5 years.

Now we have Dean Saunders who may be suited for a 3rd tier type of football where the only tactic seems to be hit and hope someone gets on the end of it. From the dithering that lead to Terry Connor being appointed over better candidates like Curbishley and Bruce to the gamble on an unknown and then to the delights of Dean Saunders.

It's obvious that the whole club needs to pause to rethink what went from a club seemingly capable of being an established Premier League side to one unable to beat the likes of Peterborough. We need a proven manager who can push through the vision needed and blundering from one bad decision to another could well turn us into another Coventry, Leeds or Sheffield United.

Be brave Wolves, get rid of the clueless Saunders; wrong man for the wrong job and get in Nigel Adkins. We have become a laughing stock and I for one am sick of being the butt of everyone's jokes about my beloved club.

AYR WOLVES

Watch Torquay & Exeter tonight on Sky we will be playing them soon

Mike T

A very good summary of the situation.

Many people have been saying for weeks that this team should have been broken up and perhaps SS was doing that until

injuries and "walls" came into play. However I would now add that it appears the summer signings were poor quality. Even Sako cannot give 90 minutes and drifts in and out of games and cannot defend. Whatever happened to the star centre half from somewhere in Europe?

Saunders has to put together a "new team" based around the youth that has not been given a chance (Batth, Davis, Forde etc)

and some new signings. He has to be bold and ship out the old - If he persists with the present team we WILL go down - so give youth and new blood a chance, there is nothing to lose.

Albrightondek

Both a fair and rather depressing analysis.

I had already given up any hope of reaching the play-off's. Saturdays result will probably have killed off any lingering optimism amongst the loyal supporters. Saunders honeymoon period is already over. A nice bloke but he does'nt seem to be able to motivate the players.

The remainder of the season is all about ensuring survival and bringing on some of the youngsters. The club should sell or release the players who, like Ebanks-Blake, have no interest in signing new contracts. It maybe a case of damage limitation; get what we can for them now rather than nothing in the summer.

The chairman and the rest of the board are facing a looming dilemma. Even if Saunders manage's to stave off relegation, should they retain his services or look for someone with more experience to move the club forward? Unfortunately, they have made such a mess of firing and hiring managers over the last 12 months that they more than capable of making another mess of it.

Wolfhound

The senior management at Wolves have themselves to blame for our predicament a series of very poor decisions has led us to a point where another relegation is possible.

1)McCarthy should have gone in May 2011 when we narrowly avoided relegation

2)A respected director of football should have been bought in to advise the board on all footballing matters because they havent got a clue.

3)Waiting until February last year to sack McCarthy was disastererous.

4)We were told the managers job was not for a novice and we get Connor

5)Solbakken was recruited on the back of getting Colongne relegated and never having managed in the English League it was bound to end in tears.

These decisions in the main have been taken mainly for financial reasons rather than footballing logic the players have let the club down but not as much as the management.

Wolfie

This is the worst Wolves have been since the dark days of Colin Lee. Similar situation, bring in a manager and don't bother backing them. Unless the axe falls on at least 10 players, it is hard to see Wolves avoiding the drop.

Sad to say, that I don't feel I can justify the expense of funding dream lifestyles for Berra, Ward, Foley et.al......

Just remember everytime you go to Wolves you are funding them a life you can only dream of. Sickening....

mick the miller

Despite the terrible performances this season I had always thought that at some point we would get a grip on the situation. However it really struck home to me on saturday that relegation is becoming a distinct possibility. Every home game has the same feel about it. We have a go first half and even compete and on Saturday scored a well worked goal.Then we concede a typical error strewn equaliser on half time and the second half we just dont show up. Second half showings at Molineux are so predictable, we completely lose any shape so that we are constantly overrun in midfield, dont create any chances and you just wait for the opposition to turn their dominance into goals. Every team that comes to Molineux now seems to "boss" the game. They control the midfield, are first to the ball, defend and attack in numbers, keep their shape and always look as though they are going to win the game.

I have to say that Dean Saunders lifted my spirits when he was first appointed but his comments about these players being good enough makes me think that even at this early stage he is not the man that we need.

Mike Pearson

We really are In a sorry mess now, incapable of winning at home and giving away really poor goals courtesy of a defence that most fans have recognized for three years is simply not good enough.

And now it seems we will sell off Ebanks - Blake. Ordinarily, I would not be bothered as he has been poor for so long but despite that he remains our only goalscorer. To sell him off when we are in free fall with no apparent replacement seems the height of folly. None of the rumored"strikers" coming in fill me with any confidence whatsoever so what is the point?

Like many on here I fear the worst now as there seem to be more questions than answers. It will be a miracle if we stay up this season.

stubbz

The 3rd division looms for a 3rd tier team and a 3rd tier board. Over achieved under mad mick and still being paid the same today - wouldnt happen anywhere else - shocking I hope attendances fall below the 10,00 mark asap - financial loss is the only thing that matters to these money men at the helm of our beloved club..

Foxy

I can understand why Solbakken was sacked and thats because the players can't basically pass the ball so I fully understand why a hoofing manager like DS was brought in, but now Nigel Adkins is available and proven, I would sack DS quickly and install him, otherwise we will most likely be relegated, as the players are spent MM boys with little energy and lacking the fighting qualities to keep us in this division. if we were relegated the likes of edwards and co would still struggle in that division.

das wolf

No ones fault but the players and bad management, Saunders sounds like a yes man if we dont invest in some new

players it dont look good.No more matches for me.

Wolfhound is right

manc andy

Theres no confidence around wolves from the top down, Morgan must be scared to death of having to get in yet another manager if (WHEN} Deano fails.The dreams inploaded on itself so fast its took everyone by suprise, the players look uninterested and unable to change it round.Deano( capt Mannering } shouting out tactical orders for every situation, im now convinced hes trying to convince himself hes .in control, because he certainly is yet to convince me,Moxey, Morgan, missing in action, and we could have all the money in the world but the way things are at the club , nobody of any quality is going to come into this fiasco. How fars Morgan going to let it go before admitting hes clueless about running a football club but a genius at milking one dry , i wished he hold his hands up and just get sombody into advise him on the football side of things, or take his money and run back to liverpool.I now find myself questioning a decition made back in 1979, maybe i should have gone to Old Trafford with my mates instead of the Molinuex with my oldman,,,,,,,never,,UTW its all part of following a football team, i could,nt watch anybody else .At least in the old 4th division our players new they were crap but played like there lives depended onit, not like these wasters ,,,, i could rant on about loyalty, comitment and just pride as a footballer in a wolves shirt,, but i wont, i'll shout at my mrs instead about our current plight..

Old Gold Portion of Chips

Listening to talksport this morning , one pundit commented that football has moved on and so many of the lower teams now play a passing game on the ground starting from the back instead of hoof - ball . If only Wolves had defensive players with the skill to do that . Perhaps Stale had some lined up but was prevented before his sacking. Sadly ,we'll never know.

What's going on down there!!!

What I want to know is who the hell gives Mr Morgan these bright ideas to hire these 3rd tier managers!!!! If you want to get out this league and you have got a few quid, you get a man in who has a proven record of doing exactly that. So why are we messing about employing unheard of foreigners and no offence Dean but a guy who has managed Wrexham for 2 mins and been souness sidekick at Blackburn. You talk about ambition mr Morgan. I don't think you could spell it without moxeys hand up your backside. Curbishley is the man to do this job. Was 12 months ago and still is. Pay him what he wanted in the first place, this wouldn't be happening now!!!!

Ghost of Glen Hoddle

"Stephen Hunt: Wolves could go down again".

Give the boy a coconut !

reverbwolf

It makes me very sad to say this.

HELLO RELEGATION, HERE WE COME....AGAIN.

JUST HOW MUCH LONGER DO WE HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THE PREMIER LEAGUE NO HOPERS LIKE BERRA, DOYLE, WARD, AND HENRY ?.

EVERY MANAGER AT WOLVES FAILS.WHY ?........BECAUSE THE PLAYERS ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH AND PAID TOO MUCH MONEY.

mick brown

I shall not be reneiwing my season ticket next year, its the only way i can protest against the way my club is being taken apart . we are rotten to the core . As long as morgan & moxey remain the futures looking bleak.

doug bailey

I HAVE NOT SEEN A WOLVES SIDE WITH SO FEW IDEAS EVER SAUNDERS IS A JOKE GET READY FOR THE 1ST DIV WOLVES FANS THATS WHERE WE WILL BE NEXT SEASON FOR SURE AND I FOR ONE WONT BE WASTING MY MONEY WATCHING THEM ALONG WITH THOUSANDS OF OTHERS..

little nige

what makes you think these players are better than 18th in the championship? he has a core of players who are highly paid who know they will not earn better elsewhere - obvious by the lack of interest from other clubs. Unless either new players come in or younger players given a chance these MM old boys will take us down -this is 3 years of sturggling. Morgan has to take responsability in terms of his managerial choices - Deano very enthuastic but plays football like div 2 or Div 1 teams - hopeful long balls - our form is worst in the league and doesn't look like changing any time soon. Saturday was the worst perforamce footballing wise i have seen at moineux for years.

Westcott

Stearman, Foley, Ward, Berra, Henry, these knobbers would not get into Perth Glory first team, get the kids on, what's up with Sigurdson, Baath, Margaret, Ismail..

JHC give me a shot and would do it for free on a results basis, oh dear I fail and get sacked, would go down fighting and attacking.

Blooming heck when will it all end.

Bollox

All the best for the Leicesster game.

Henry my arse

Andy Pandy

Couldn't agree more with Mick Brown - WWFC is a great club with fantastic fans being run by a pair of clueless muppets. They are destroying Wolves through their complete lack of football knowledge. There was no need to start redeveloping the ground ahead of securing a foothold in the Premiership - as Fulham, Stoke & Albion have done.

McCarthy & TC should have been shown the door after we stayed up by default. Morgan can wear the scarf but he ain't a Wolf and never will be. His allegencies lie elsewhere - hence old boys' network gets ex-Pool man Saunders the job.

Moxey is only concerned about MONEY pure and simple. Nothing will change for the better whilst he remains at Molineux.

The players are well past their sell-by dates - little skill, no motivation, no commitment. Most of them need to be shipped out asap. They are beyond improvement - no matter who the manager is.

Bring back Sir Jack & Robert Plant (and get somebody with serious football nous on the board).

Even the Blues are above us now - we are not 'too good' to go down. We need help from somewhere before it's TOO LATE !