In the week that someone paid £86million in return for one man to kick a ball around a field for them once a week, it’s fair to say there aren’t many players that us supporters can relate to these days, writes Wolves blogger Tim Spiers.
That man – a Welshman no less – is now being paid more money each and every day of his existence than the majority of us will take two years to earn.
Gareth Bale could be sitting at home today, watching Jeremy Kyle (or the Spanish equivalent, Jerónimo Cordero), eating maize-based snacks, drawing humorous pictures in the steam on his bathroom mirror and rearranging his furniture into a little fort.
And he’d get paid £43,000 to do it.
Yes, the sport we previously knew to be football has entered the realms of gluttonous fantasy.
Best not to think about it too much really, otherwise we’d all give up shelling out a sizeable percentage of our hard-earned wage on watching these spoilt multi-millionaires and actually do something productive with our Saturday afternoons, perish the thought.
But then who’d pay Jamie O’Hara’s wages, I ask you?
Talking of O’Hara and money, rightly or wrong he’s the figurehead for the resentment that Wolves fans have felt towards the team’s players earning shedloads of cash (£40,000 a week rather than a day, poor lamb) in recent years.
We can all accept that our club must pay its way to compete in a sport that has become more about money than Mr Money the moneybags moneylender from Moneytown who went to Money University and eats money for breakfast.
But when O’Hara, partner-in-crime Roger Johnson and their cohorts were playing football as badly as Louis Spence makes subtle understatements, their earnings became a serious issue.
And it’s an important issue generally in 2013, that supporters struggle to relate to the players they’re supposed to idolise.
When I was a youth this wasn’t really a problem, as players at Molineux earned good money but not obscene fortunes and were generally down-to-earth guys who were accessible to fans.
With my long flowing locks and devastating fashion sense, for example, I easily could relate to Paul Birch, while my style on the field was akin to that of Darren Simkin – i.e. absolutely useless.
Of course Steve Bull epitomised the positive relationship between fan and player.
The tatter from the streets of Tipton made good – a bostin working class hero we could all associate with.
And he genuinely was a true hero, a one-of-a-kind, who was no doubt on a fair whack but still remained true to his roots and fiercely loyal to his club and his people.
We’ve had no one like him since and probably never will again.
But there is rejuvenation in the stands this season as, in contrast to our recent Premier League exertions, there are a few more younger players or well grounded ‘pros’ on the pitch as we compete in the nitty gritty of League One.
And there are two in particularly – Danny Batth and Leigh Griffiths – whose names are being endlessly sung by the happy gold and black hordes and who represent the new-look Wolves.
In the fans’ eyes Batth is Johnson’s antithesis and the fact he has replaced the former Birmingham defender in the side is hugely symbolic in Kenny Jackett’s remodelling of the club’s psyche.
As the (craftily edited version of the) song goes, ‘Danny Batth’s from Brierley Hill, go away Johnson’ – the supporters have claimed Batth for their own, citing the fact he’s playing for his local team (conveniently neglecting to mention Dudley Town).
Aside from being a local lad Batth, a rugged young centre half who plays with wholehearted commitment, is precisely the type of player with which to help build long-term foundations.
Lord knows why he wasn’t a regular fixture in defence last season – if he was it’s conceivable we may not be where we are today.
The same goes for Griffiths, but in a way I’m glad they weren’t – sadly the club needed the devastation of relegation to act as a wake-up call, and of course the pair weren’t tainted with the losing mentality accrued by just about everyone else in the squad.
And the Scot is adapting to life in League One with consummate ease, so much so that he took on Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s goalscoring mantle (and song) in the first week of the season.
This may seem blasphemous but Griffiths shares a couple of similarities with Bully – he has a phenomenal desire to score goals and gets a kick out of constantly hassling and harrying defenders.
Like Bully he should be playing at a higher level but that doesn’t quell his work rate or commitment.
It might just be because like so many of our supporters Griffiths is going bald, but a welcome bond has been formed between player and supporter.
And mimicking Lee Hughes’ celebration at Vale Park last week, as well as nut-megging the former Albion striker, only endeared him further.
Batth and Griffiths may be figureheads, they might both be off to bigger and better things in 12 months time, but for now it’s nice to have two players to believe in and relate to.
If O’Hara and Johnson epitomised our downfall, then hopefully Batth and Griffiths are the poster boys for our renaissance.