Blog: Wolves' effort and skill with Hunt and Sako

There's a constant debate in my household about what the archetypal footballer should be, writes Wolves blogger Tim Spiers.

Football - nPower Football League Championship - Millwall v Wolverhampton Wanderers

This is usually split into two easily-defined camps - hard working rugged, agricultural, old-school players who get their foot in, versus work-shy but technically gifted tiki-taka merchants.

Granted this argument often descends into petty name-calling after a several bevvies and few games of FIFA.

But with English football - unlike Spain for example - such an eclectic and vibrant mix of styles and philosophies, it's a pertinent subject amongst football fans in this country.

And never was the balance between the two more perfectly illustrated last weekend when a first-half substitution was made at Molineux.

Bakary Sako - Mr Creativity - who couldn't defend if his haircut depended on it - a 100 per cent flair player, part genius, part maverick, purveyor of conceding penalties but scorer of beautiful goals and creator of countless chances, was injured and substituted.

Sako, a different breed of footballer to what we have been used to in recent years - Mick McCarthy would never have signed him, he thought sending a scout to Brighton was exotic - has shone brightly in this awful season and his loss was a huge blow.

On his place came the yin to his yang, the night to his day, the Tennent's super-strength to his fine French wine, the Janet Street-Porter to his Mila Kunis - Stephen Hunt. Now this wasn't your average substitution.

Seven minutes earlier, David Davis and Carl Ikeme contrived to make Laurel and Hardy look like sophisticated aristocrats when they combined to score the most embarrassing own goal at Molineux in living memory.

Another fine mess. Resentment filled the Molineux air and, when Sako pulled up clutching his hamstring, the groan around the stadium told you all you needed to know - most of us believed League One football was on its way.

But when it was shaggy-haired Hunt who took off his tracksuit top and not the in-form Bjorn Sigurdarson to replace Sako, the atmosphere turned nasty.

Loud boos greeted Hunt's arrival - albeit mixed with hearty applause in response to the booing.

But the initial booing was a cringeworthy, embarrassing and petulant greeting to a man who has never shirked his responsibilities in a Wolves shirt.

Hunt had been booed off on his last appearance at Molineux after a clunky 64-minute appearance full of misplaced passes, constant fouls and second touches being sliding tackles.

It was his first start for yonks and he'd barely even appeared from the bench, so he was clearly unfit, but to boo him off was extremely harsh and uncalled for considering the effort he was putting in.

Hunt duly - in his refreshingly outspoken manner - had a pop back at the fans, calling their reaction "embarrassing."

Now if a man publicly castigated by a few thousand people can't tell them what he thinks of them - and don't get me started on the wages argument, he doesn't decide how much he gets paid - then we might as well all go home and take up tiddlywinks.

But his words riled a few people and so the reaction when he came on against Bristol City was even more venomous.

The vast majority of players would have shrunk when presented with this abuse, but Hunt's mind does not work like your average footballer.

After a middling - but no worse than his struggling team mates - performance, lit up by a few meaty challenges and interceptions - Hunt came to life in minutes 76 and 78, setting up two goals and winning us three points.

In short, a brief but match-winning contribution, much like those seen by, oh I don't know, Bakary Sako on countless occasions this season.

It's an odd one because the Molineux hordes normally love a trier. But, in recent seasons, work ethic just hasn't been enough.

I'm thinking of Karl Henry, Stephen Ward and Andy Keogh, all hard workers but all booed for...well...I'm not exactly sure, a lack of talent perhaps.

Which if true is a ridiculous notion - if someone turns up to my workplace on Monday and starts booing me for one typo too many, I would be pretty miffed.

Contrarily the misdemeanors of the likes of George Elokobi, Ronald Zubar and yes, Sako, are forgiven because of their quirky, loveable nature.

Anyway, at the end of it all we're left without Sako, probably for the rest of the season. What's indisputable is that losing him is a tremendous blow.

His goals and assists have carried us through several games this year. So can Hunt - his most likely replacement in the side - make up for the shortfall?

In skill, obviously not. But in attitude, effort, commitment and endeavour? Undoubtedly, yes. As fans, we should never ask for any more from him.

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Comments for: "Blog: Wolves' effort and skill with Hunt and Sako"


Unfortunately Sako will probably never play for WWFC again

Jon The Pope

Never say Never


You just did twice


Fortunately Ward, Henry, Foley, Edwards and Berra won't at well. Hope hope. Hopefully after this season shambles won't manager us as well!

The Voice of Reason

Dean Downders prefers "enthoosiasm" to skill. Get him out of here.


Sako is an prem League player next season Ståle wantet to build the team with that type of skills Modern type of players


Nothing to do with Sako, very little to do with any single player.

With regard to the playing staff, let's concentrate on the quality players we threw away for peanuts when we had turned them into Premiership level ( if surrounded by equally good players !) : Fletch, Kightley, Jarvis ( not many win an England cap from a team in the relegation zone).

But the whole problem is that we got rid of a good manager in MM ---ManUtd didn't do that during Ferguson's first fruitless 5 years .....and look what he turned into ! Now we have the ex-manager of Doncaster Rovers--struth !!!!! Oh, and we ALWAYS have the worst news Wolves have had since the Bhatti Bros : Jaz Mixey !!!!


I think it's a tad unfair to compare Stephen Hunt to a fortified lager favoured by tramps and homeless people. I think "a bottle of Blue Nun" would have done. But then, what do I know about writing*?

* Everything.


I can tell you are a person that reads your own posts over and over and laughs.... To yourself.

If only the E&S printed tumbleweeds.

Pork chop

Thats what you must do to even think of that.


Who asked u??


It's ironic, but if Sako hadn't got injured we may not have won that match.

Dan Wolves

I guess sometimes you just need to make the best out of what you have got, our best players have gone or have past their best.

We are not the big team we were, the board have made bad decisions at critical points over the past four years or so and we are where we are.

Theres no quick fix, theres no dream solution, we just start again, start rebuilding and keep supporting!

paul davo

Good Blog, totally agree, and yes Sako will leave in the summer as Moxey gets 10m for him so Bridgemere Group can stay in the black,


very true but hopefully we can get a lot of money from his sale to fill areas that need covering like the strikers and people to set up the goals, will be a shame for him to leave though!


Happens all the while at the Wolves . . sell a player, make some money, reinvest it in strengthening the team.


i would to have seen sako and boukari play this season i think if they had solbakken would still be manager wolves would not be in the mess they are now


I agree with you Rob. Boukari looked a good player along side Sako.


spot on rob

Winchester Wolf

Totally agree, along with Doumbia. If only Stale had brought in an English coach to bridge the gap with the players and sorted out the back four............Cest la vie.


"There's a constant debate in my household about what the archetypal footballer should be"

Tim you need to get out more mate perhaps get yourself a hobby


One of the main reasons we're in this mess is we have too many Hunt's and not enough Sako's.

Sako: fast, strong, skillful, creator and scorer of goals

Hunt: slow, average skill, runs around alot


Same applies to supporters too many negatives and not enough


Negatives: moaning,whinging,abusing everything that goes on.

Positives-trying to back the boys, renewing and getting it it in the neck.

I think you'll find Hunt help to creator 2 goals last week, just saying!


whole blog point ruined by comparing zubar and elokobi to sako


Good discussion! Ye Hunty did his talking on the pitch and is a shining example to most of the under-performers. If Sako is sidelined for a while we will definately miss him. Yet what has happened to Peszko? Anyone know! He is a very similar ilk to Hunt and has not put a foot wrong when he has played so why is he not on the bench? Very puzzling!

It defies thinking about why Deano has NOT bought in more loanees other than a GK! Wolves must be the only club in the entire

football association that is having problems getting players in!

I'm afraid that if they don't and we do go down again Molinuex will be a very quiet place next season.



rumour has it that if peszko plays again it triggers a payment to his parent club just a rumour though dont know if its true,but if it is then moxey and morgan should be ashamed of thereselves putting paying out a few quid over trying to stay in this league?,,,,/\/\wwfc/\/\,,,,


Nah - that's crap mate. Totally untrue.

Don't believe everything you're told.

The Unhappy Wanderer

For the last 20 minutes on Saturday, Stephen Hunt demonstrated where we have been going wrong all season. When we didn't have the ball he did his best to make life as uncomfortable as he could for the opposition. Compare that with most matches, when we have been content to let the opposition play almost without challenge, and you have the biggest single reason why our home record is so awful. Thankfully a few players began to follow Hunt's lead, and you have to hope that the penny will drop and for the rest of the season they will actually make life uncomfortable for visiting teams at Molineux.

None of that means you can't accommodate an obviously talented player like Sako, but the rest of the players do need to be prepared to put the work in to cover for his shortcomings.

True that we may never see him in a Wolves shirt again, but with or without him, it's suicide to make life too easy for the opposition. And if we do go down, we'll find it's just as true in League One.


spot on tim

Tipton Wolves

If Sako not fit for Middlebrougth game then I hope Hunt can play in his more favourable left midfield position.

Gornal Wolf

I didnt boo Hunt but i disagree with your comments, If i turned up to my job and week in, week out failed to perform and continued to do a rubbish job, i would love to just get booed, however that would happen, i would get the sack and be shown the door, something which should of happened to many of our players a long time ago.


In a nutshell son a sheet metal worker is slightly different than being a professional footballer.

john doe

I Agree sako will be gone at the end of the season and should make wolves a good profit but will the money go back into team rebuild?probley not.

pete 44

hunt will give his all battler


"Which if true is a ridiculous notion - if someone turns up to my workplace on Monday and starts booing me for one typo too many, I would be pretty miffed"

The difference is that people don't pay to watch you type.


From my seat in the Steve Bull the booing was related to the substitution...we all thought it should have been Siggy...and Hunt came on to applause!!! I never boo, curse,hang my head in shame etc but never boo.

Ben Armstrong

"Sako pulled up clutching his hamstring the groin around the stadium told you all you needed to know".

Boooooo! Spires out... Surely you mean GROAN not GROIN.

AJ Wolf

Tim, you put groin instead of groan . . .



And said Sako would be out for "the reason of the season"


Where's your sub-editor mate? Being paid millions no doubt!



Firstly BOOOOOOOOO to you for the typos, "the groin around the stadium" and "reason of the season". :D

Secondly, if somebody turned up at you place of work and preceded to smash their face in to the keyboard for an hour, and still got published each day, you might consider booing them.

If all you want from a Wolves team is grafters and 100%'ers, then pick any 11 men out of the South Bank and give them a game, they'll give more than any footballer ever could in terms of effort. We'd lose 40-0, but at least they tried.

Football is a game of skill, gone are the days when being able to run around for 90 minutes could hide a lack of talent. More to the point, when was it decide that skill and effort were mutually exclusive? Messi, Xavi and Iniesta seem to be able to marry to two quite effectively.

Saunders Foot

Good blog mate, but I just keep on getting the urge to defend our fantastic supporters. I also cringe when the boos ring out, but sometimes , after watching season after season of forgetable dross, I can understand why I seem surrounded by a few thousand kettles waiting to boil over. It's Frustration mate, Frustration with a capital 'F', and after 3 long seasons of relegation battles, another one is difficult to take. I think most of us would have settled for some consolidation around the play-off zone, while in the background some steady recruitment was underway, but guess what, we've had neither,nothin,nixies,nowt......all the people who compare us with Pompey, Rangers e.c.t miss the main point, they were skint, we got a very good chance of gettin relegated with money in the bank. That in a nutshell sums up the total mis-management of this club and why I will always stick up for the 20,000 who turn up every week, to boo or to clap, they all deserve better. Wolves ay we....


Saunders Foot, brilliant, absolutely brilliant.


The effectiveness and success of Hunt's playing style depends wholly upon peak fitness...something unfortunately for him that has been missing for 4/5 years now. Doubt he will see the season out.

Stafford Wolf

We have had five years of have a go at them players like Hunt, Elokobi, Henry Edwards etc. They are simply not good enough anymore and we are bored of that type of player. Buying cheap British type players of this quality just doesnt work long term. The two M's should have put their money where their mouth was in the summer and got rid and given SS another 8 - 10m to buy 3 or 4 players in. Long term it would have been best for us. The 2m's and the McCarthy players stitched SS up! He was given a long term project but then had the rug pulled from under him within 6 months. A bit like Graham Taylor all those years ago not given enough time and had bad luck with injury to his key players. We have been crying out for Sako's for the past five years! I for one dont want to go back to the McCarthy/Saunderes type players thats why i havnt renewed.

Never mind McCarthy not wanting Sako. Sako wouldn't of wanted to come if McCarthy was in charge. That goes for Siggy as well. What overseas talent are we going to get with DS?

None. We'll end up with plodders like Kaspars "no better than Berra" Gorkss.

Realistic Wolf

Reckon that is the last we will see of Sako. Hunt is OK but no contest. As for Saunders saying Edwards is an important player, well it explains fully why we are where we are. Even saying Foley can play midfield, beggars belief. Totally clueless and the sooner he goes the better. As for fresh loan signings, no chance. See the early birds are doing well. On a positive note, at least we can't lose this weekend.

Sad Face Panda Wolf

One typo hmm that would be forgivable but the wolves players would end up presenting a pile of incomprehensible garbage if you comparing there playing performances to your job.

Very Old Gold

Always remember that when you read that a manager - any manager - has told a journalist that one of his players is "important" or indeed, any other praise of that sort, he is merely saying what he has to say. He may or may not mean it. He can't say, "Joe Bloggs is useless and only plays because the rest are even worse", even if that's what he thinks. Always be careful when reading a manager's comments or a chairman's or chief executive's comments. They have to be careful what they say otherwise the press would have a field day accusing them of undermining their employees.


hunt hasnt done a thing in the near on 3 years he has been here,so people to go over the top on one performance is maddness.we were playing a team one place below us,BOTTOM. yes he had a say in both goals,but one game doesnt erase the waste of money he has turned out to be. for some strange reason when he is fit and able to play,managers have made better wingers move to the right to accomodate his,and there fore nulifyning that player. in a list of recent wingers that have been at the club he wouldnt be in my top 5 never mind first choice left winger. his comments in the last few weeks sum the bloke up.he thinks one performance justyfies his wages. well i dont need to tell anybody, if i had performed as well as he hasnt over the last 3 years ,i would of been sacked.


The fact that we came back to win after Sako (and Edwards) went off suggests to me that Hunt may be more the kind of guy we need right now on the field of play, if I had to choose between them. His crosses for the goals came one each from the right and left side, saying to me that he's up with play, hungry and can make the telling delivery. I suppose what can get lost among the boos, the groans and applause is that forwards appreciate that kind of work rate and service and, if they can read it, then they will get into positions to finish, Blake and Doyle last Saturday. Both well taken goals, both the product of teamwork and a gutsy determination to get the ball into the danger zone in the first place.

If this indicates that we're getting a balance in the side and that players (at least the forward ones) can play as a team - and deliver results accordingly - then under the circumstances we may have found something which we've been missing for some time and which offers some compensation for the loss of individual star quality - teamwork.

That said, we need all players back to fitness asap, so a speedy recovery to all those injured parties - get well soon.


sako is a loss, but what we need is battlers because that is what may keep us in the championship, I carn't believe I am thinking about staying up in the championship!!! How bad have things become, also lets have a look at Adam Hammil, he owes the club some big performances.

Sad Wolf

Interesting comment that Mcarthy would not have signed Sako that was our problem in the Premier he never signed skilfull players Sako is the first player we have had for along time who could score from outside the box .


Thousands of Wolves fans could run around and try hard like Hunt. What SHOULD seperate a professional footballer from those on the terraces is technical ability. Just being a workhorse should not constitute getting paid 20 grand a week. It's the skill factor that should seperate the players from the spectators. When did a team of tryers last win the World cup, the champions league or the Premeir league? Top class competitions are won by top class players, not a team of headless chickens. If we as a club have any aspirations to one day compete at the top end of English football, we should wave goodbye to the likes of Hunt, Henry, Ward, Edwards etc and replace them with players who have technical ability. Solbakken knew this but wasn't given the necessay time to execute his plans bacause the results and performances had gotten so bad - and why was this? Because that team full of honest hardworkers we've got could'nt adapt to a style of football where by we keep the ball reather than chase it!!!!!


I think it's a little unfair to compare Hunt with Sako. There probably isn't another player in the championship that you could compare with Sako. He's very much a one off. I think he deserves to play in a team at a higher level, and for that reason I believe he will be sold at the end of this season.

Hunt may also be sold at the end of the season as part of the clear out. That will be partly because of the fact that he seems to be injury prone, and partly because of his wages. Not his fault, but we never not got full value out of him. However, while he's still here he should play his part in trying to keep us up.

Depending on which division we find ourselvers in next term, there may well be many more senior players departing the scene. The rebuilding of our team is likely to centre around the younger players, some of whom have already begun to establish themselves in the first team squad: Davis, Doherty, Batth, Forde. These and others such as Ismail, Price and McAlindon are possibly the way forward for our club.


How true Boz, sensible comments from the dark side!

You've got to leave behind the hoof it and press mentality. It won't even work In the championship. It might not work in league 1. Can see you playing with a team of kids in league 2

Crying up the South Bank

We could all see the playing staff ie those players who got us relegated, were in need of culling. Appointing a Manager, not Caretaker Connor, in February 2012 would at least have let the new Manager identify who was to stay and who was to go. By not moving on the failed and still failing squad of about 13 players we have continued to slide alarmingly. Mr Morgan you will reap little return on your "young and hungry" investments. this is a very poor squad - mediocre talent, gutlesss, lacking in belief, losing mentality, unable to adapt and a sorry set men. What galls e is knowing something is seriously wrong withe team spirit/squad mentality.Is is cliques, squabbling, a few bad apples, defeatists or what. We really should be told and the WW spin-led veil of silence is patronising to us. Watching WW has not been a lot of fun for 2 seasons. Playing Div 1 footy when, with careful management, we would be a stabilising Prem club, is hard to take. Morgan has got EVERY major decision wrong for 2 years now. If he is "pig sick" he ought to be. I have little confidence in his decisions and he should listen others than his ex-Liverpool buddies. 12 months ago we could have had Curbishley, Bruce or Butch Wilkins. Dean will now do a Doncaster - relegate us and then have us winning Div1 to get the happy clappy chappies cheering. Team full of Welshboys, we'll be a team full of Welsh boys!

Gordon Bennett

I have just read the comments about Hammill. Does Deano really think that Edwards or Foley make better right wingers than Hammill or Peszko? Was Hammill really man of the match when we lost 2-1 to Chelsea? How many years ago was that when we were competing with the likes of Chelsea? Oh less than 2. Less than 2 years to ruin a club.

Where is the evidence that anyone is doing anything to save our club. Why are the E&S not challenging Deano about lack of activity in the loan market? He is thinking about a goalie, Walsall get one in the day after. He is after various players but no-one comes. He has tried 25 players and he is still tinkering and doesn't know who to play.

The fans parliament. What was that about? Just a window dressing exercise to boost the early birds.

We will never see the likes of Sako recruited to the Mol, I know Solbakken made some mistakes but he had a plan which we clearly don't have at the moment and if we are relegated I fear years in the wilderness.

I doubt whether you are as pig sick as we are Morgan at least you have the power to do something, we don't.


We will miss Sako's shooting and scoring, we will not miss his giving the ball away, defending and giving away the odd penalty. A player of his tremendous skill take on defenders when he was close to the penalty box, i am sure he would have won a lot of penalties instead of taking them on 40 yards out getting tied up and loosing the ball.

Just read in the Sunday People we are trying to sign Sordell from Bolton on loan for the rest of the season. COME ON WOLVES.