Why Wolves farce shows all fans should be careful what they wish for
In the normal sense of the term, I stand opposed to the concept of supporting a ‘second team’. I don’t have a Premier League favourite. I don’t have an overseas favourite.
I do have a team that I would support if the team I do support went out of business, and that team would be Millwall. But given that the team I do support, Barnsley, aren’t going anywhere, not even out of business, then the point is purely hypothetical.
So there you have it. I support Barnsley Football Club, and that’s enough for me.
In fact, most weekends it’s too much for me.
But as with all rules, there is an exception. And my exception is this: I always want teams managed by Mick McCarthy to win.
I should at this stage point out that when it comes to this I suffer from a massive emotional bias. As a child I used to go to Oakwell when Barnsley born McCarthy played in the team’s defence.
My mind may be playing tricks on me, but I swear I remember one occasion when he tackled an opposing forward with such force that the player went ballooning over the roof of the Pontefract Road End, finally landing in Wakefield.
But you don’t need to be a sentimental tyke to understand that in an age of interchangeable soundbites and player power, Mick McCarthy offers solid value for money.
There are least a dozen of his pearls of wisdom that could happily nestle alongside Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde in any dictionary of quotations.
My favourite comes from the time when he played for Celtic. In Glasgow a Rangers fan shouted at Mick that he was “a Fenian bastard.” The defender said that he had to go home and look the word up in the dictionary – “Fenian, obviously.”
And now, of course, Big Mick is out of a job.
Whether or not the earthy Barnsley boy would have kept Wolverhampton Wanderers in the top flight is a moot point. But what is as plain as the nose on Mick McCarthy’s cheek is that 10 days on from his firing, the team who play in Old Gold are in as big a jam now as they were when they limped off the field following their harrowing 5-1 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion.
It seems odd from the outside, but it might be that Wolves thought that finding a replacement manager would be easy.
How wrong that now seems.
Neil Warnock went to Leeds. Alan Curbishley was interviewed and then ruled himself out. Having been fired from Sunderland in much the same way that McCarthy was fired from Wolves, Steve Bruce appears not to have made the grade.
Then, after saying that the job was not one for a novice, the Molineux side made overtures to Reading’s Brian McDermott, a novice at Premier League level.
Evem Walter Smith, a 63 year old who has known only success at Glasgow Rangers but who was fired 10 years ago by Everton, his only Premier League side, didn't fancy the gig.
This morning Wolves appointed Terry Connor for the remainder of the season. Mick McCarthy's former assistant, of course, and therefore a man who just two weeks ago was adjudged not be as good a manager as the man he's now replaceing.
There is no real moral to this story, other than the firing of a figurehead is never as simple a solution as angry fans and a panicked board invariably seem to think that this is.
Wolves may stay up, and they may go down; just the same as if Mick McCarthy were still at the club.
And fans of Chelsea and Arsenal should take note, and be careful what they wish for.
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