I saw the tweet and I didn’t even get mad. It reminded me of those times you’d speak to lads who just passed their driving test.
“Well done, what car are you thinking of getting?”
“Subaru Impreza. My nan said she’d pay.”
Your heart sinks, your eyes roll and you force a polite smile – the same one you pull when they charge you £5 for a bottle of Carling in the South Bank.
You’ve no heart to remind the lad that the insurance alone would see him surviving on toast and Panda Pop for the foreseeable future but you can’t help think ‘what world are you living in?’
Back to the tweet.The tweet I’m referring to came from freelance sports reporter Freddie Paxton. The Arsenal leaning North London native found himself strolling into Wolf territory and poor Freddie wasn’t prepared.
@SportFreddie: Jorge Mendes really does have a firm grip on Wolves! After completing his transfer to the club, Rui Patricio switched from the Proleven Gestão agency to become Mendes’ client at Gestifute.
Something really sinister about it all
This is brand new information!
Jorge Mendes using his influence to land a player for Wolves and in the process earn himself a few quid! Why haven’t we been told about this before!?
After a season of having opposition fans (and owners) accuse Wolves of cheating their way to promotion it was hardly surprising the reaction old Fred got -I almost felt sorry for him…almost.
I too couldn’t help myself either, ‘here we go again’ I tweeted and pointed out a lack of knowledge of football outside the Premier League – it seems the form for national reporters.
In reality Freddie’s comments were just a flavour of things to come and he did offer a fair defence that his criticism wasn’t directed at Wolves but Mendes’ operations. But it’s something we must acclimatise to again, national journalists and opposition fans circling Wolves as if we’re prey and all while feigning expert analysis on the ins-and-outs of our club.
Ever since Ruben Neves scored that volley against Derby, Wolves had the world’s attention. Liverpool fans from Indonesia, hungry for retweets, manufactured rumours of Neves exiting Molineux and heading to Anfield. They blogged about him, they doctored photos of him in a Liverpool kit and even followed his sister to John Lennon Airport. Their source? Their imagination. Their evidence? He’s signed for them on Football Manager.
Even when our Ruben was interviewed about his future by numerous journalists it was a game of repetition.
Interviewer: ‘Ruben, you’ve attracted a lot of interest does your future still lie with Wolves?’
Ruben: ‘I love it here. I came here to evolve. Wolves is my team’.
Same questions, same answer all waiting for the moment Ruben hesitates one time so a thick yellow banner can march across Sky Sports News reading ‘Breaking News: Ruben Neves takes a second longer to confirm he’s staying with Wolves’ – now to Mozelos to hear the reaction from his home town.
This is just one example where a narrative has been set by the UK media – but we’ve had this before in the Premier League.
Remember Ollie Holt suggesting Wolves fans were racist for not being happy with the appointment of Terry Connor?
This was after fans were criticised for being unhappy with Mick McCarthy despite battling relegation three seasons in a row.
‘He’s a good bloke Mick. The fans should be careful what they wish for’. They said that when we replaced Paul Lambert with Nuno.
This year Wolves fans will have to be prepared to see every man and his dog have an opinion on us and pass themselves off as the expert. They’ll pretend to get us, our culture, our humour like a car salesman asking how many kids you have and what handicap you play off.
It has already begun with Sporting Lisbon reporting us to FIFA about the transfer of Rui Patricio with the complaint treated with the same respect it deserved – none. Did this stop the online experts? No. One comment included a full breakdown of FIFA law followed by ‘so Wolves could be deducted points for this’ – it was the most popular comment.
But this is just the start. Expect the Mendes card to be played when we shock one of the big boys. Expect the ‘Neves looking for a transfer’ line to come out when we lose a few games as will ‘Nuno attracting interest’ when we hit form.
They’ll do it for retweets, they’ll do it for web hits and they’ll snipe behind their Sunday paper columns, podcasts and big match previews – speculation is easier to write than the facts.
They’ll paint our club as easy pickings, undeserving of such players, undeserving of such a manager, and in the Premier League through luck not design.
Will we care? I already feel my fellow Wolves smiling, ready to embrace the scrap.
This is a different club to 2003 and 2009. This is a club more prepared for the Premier League than ever before and we’ve the scars and talent to prove it.
When August 11th comes around and the teams stroll out onto the Molineux pitch, take a short moment to remember that day in Brighton or at home to Burnley. Remember what the carcass of a team bullied and butchered by the Premier League (and Championship) looked like. Remember the poison that was allowed to infect our club and seep into the veins of our fans who had to carry the dead weight of a written-off Wolverhampton Wanderers into League One.
Those times strengthened us, our skins thickened and our voices were channeled. This is bad news for our critics who took advantage of our naivety in past campaigns. I some how feel it won’t take long for them to discover – as our Nuno has said – ‘the strength of the wolf is in the pack’…and that pack is back.