John Rooney is a Wolves fan. He got in touch after reading Graham’s piece on Mick McCarthy’s dismissal. Here’s his take – welcome aboard John!
I like Mick McCarthy. I like his passion, I like his honesty and I like his dry Yorkshire wit. I particularly like his crooked and rather large nose which, when viewed from a certain angle, looks as though it’s trying to sneak off to a clandestine meeting with his left ear. As sad as I was to see him sacked last week it was absolutely the right decision. My only issue with it was the timing. An embarrassing 5-1 defeat by West Brom made it look like a knee-jerk reaction but, in truth, he could, and probably should, have gone sooner.
In the end, his lack of ambition was his undoing. This was demonstrated in several post-match interviews where he cheerfully admitted he’d be content to end the season one goal better off than the team in third bottom spot. Mere survival may balance the books but it does little to raise the spirit of the fans – I can’t be the only one who found myself yearning for the heady days of the Championship when we scored goals for fun and picked up three points as a matter of routine.
With wins over Chelsea, Liverpool and both Manchester clubs last season, the omens for this one were good, but, despite a promising start, things quickly unravelled and by early November it was clear we would once again find ourselves in a dogfight at the foot of the table. We survived the previous campaign by the skin of our teeth but we may not be as lucky this time around. Two of the three newly promoted teams are more than holding their own and the third, QPR, appears to be moving in the right direction with the appointment of Mark Hughes. The other relegation candidates – Wigan, Blackburn and Bolton – have all, at times, shown themselves to be better than the bare results would suggest and look a decent bet to finish above us regardless of whether they stay up or not.
The players gave their all for McCarthy but, with the exception of Steven Fletcher, who was at one time on the radar of Real Madrid, the rest of the squad is decidedly average. Jarvis shows flashes of brilliance but, more often than not, it lacks an end product. Doyle is honest and industrious but is never going to get you more than eight or nine goals a season. Hennessy, as we’ve seen all too often this season, is an excellent young goalkeeper but ‘keepers don’t win you games they merely keep you in them. And then there’s Karl Henry. With seven bookings and a red card already this season, he’s a liability whose performances have made Joey Barton’s semi-literate Twitter attacks on him read like the wisdom of Solomon. Why Mick made him captain is beyond my understanding.
In the early 70s, when my father bought me my first football strip, Wolves were a force in English football. Indeed, the strip in question was the European kit as worn in their UEFA cup run in 1972: a campaign that saw them score 25 goals on their way to the final only to lose 3-2 on aggregate to a Spurs side that boasted Pat Jennings, Alan Mullery, Alan Gilzean and Martin Peters. In those days, Wolves lived up to their name – hunting in packs, prowling their quarry’s penalty area hungry for goals. The current side is, by comparison, a timorous, toothless mongrel. In the 25 league games we’ve contested this season, the only occasion we’ve found the net more than twice was in a 3-1 win against bottom-placed Wigan. At this stage last season it was a similar story and in 2009/10 it was even worse with our one and only three goal haul coming at Upton Park a mere 31 games into the campaign.
With Mick in charge relegation felt inevitable. We could still go down, of course – time will tell – but, with a new man at the helm and every player fighting for his place, there is at least some hope, slim though it may be, that we might yet dodge the Championship bullet. Regardless of what happens, we should be grateful to Mick for getting us here in the first place.
I, for one, wish him well in his next venture.
If you, like John, want to have your say on Good Feet for a Big Man, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.