If there was a result that announced to the Premier League – sod it, the football world – that Wolves have arrived in the big time it was beating Tottenham 3-1 at Wembley Stadium.
The victory will go down as one of the great ‘where were you when…?’ moments, something in 2018 Wolves fans have been spoiled to choose from. In fact perhaps the question we’ll be asking ourselves in the future will be ‘just how good were Wolves in 2018?’.
There’s a sense we’re watching history in the making, ‘Wolves have left Wembley in ruins’ said one commentator while one headline read ‘Ravenous Wolves feast on Tottenham title challenge’.
The narrative was all set for a Harry Kane MBE led victory followed by column inches falling over the boy wonder and New Year honored England captain. Likewise a victory for Spurs would have been further excuse for the media to size-up Mauricio Pochettino for a Manchester United club blazer – either way Wolves were to be a support role in this script.
But what has been Wolves’ modus operandi ever since the Fosun takeover in 2016 is to be what is known in business as being a ‘disruptor brand’ or on the terraces as ‘sh*thousing’.
Our promotion from the Championship (which still causes people to huff and puff) created a new pathway for success and which has already seen Nottingham Forest implement a similar strategy. And yet while our Midland neighbours lie in 10th be sure they won’t be the only club to replicate our model in seasons to come.
Little is made of Wolves as a newly promoted side with much of this due to the level of investment in our squad. The title of the underdog is still saved for the likes of Fulham (who were only trumped by Liverpool and Chelsea for spending this summer), Cardiff, Huddersfield, Burnley (who qualified for Europe) and Bournemouth (who are in their fourth season in the Premier League). Wolves as a new side to the top flight is a fact frequently – but more likely consciously – overlooked and Gary Neville’s commentary of the draw against Fulham summed it up perfectly.
Neville- who I believe is the best on TV for analysis of the game- has a habit of going two footed on a subject then attempting to justify the means later regardless of credibility. An example was his suggestion Wolves players only raise their game against top sides to engineer a move away from Molineux. This went unchallenged and there was no mention that 19 of the 25 points accumulated before Fulham had been collected from sides below us in the table.
But regardless of Neville’s view, a team promoted from the Championship doesn’t sit 7th in the table by New Year’s Day without committing to the cause for the good of the team. An under peforming Man United, easily or maybe an established Premier League side, yes, but a team that a year ago was snatching a victory away at Bristol City, this is not common place.
So where is the credit? Our draw against Man City was put down to the Champions’ early season rust and our point at Old Trafford no longer credible considering their current plight. Even victory against Chelsea was reported as a win ‘snatched from a tiring Maurizo Sarri team’. So what mitigation is there for the defeated Spurs?
I’ll answer that. None.
It’s what makes the victory all the sweeter. A full strength Tottenham team at Wembley off the back of nine wins out of 10 in the league and 11 goals in two matches and Wolves went and hammered them in their own back yard. To put it into context only Barcelona have beaten Spurs by that margin at home this season. Christ! These are the levels.
Just listen to the roar from our lot as Costa makes it three, find it somewhere and listen back then listen again, and one more for good measure. The stage, the opposition, the level of performance all contributed to without question our greatest Premier League away victory.
We’ve been waiting for that one statement, that one moment where we can stand arms out wide and calmly utter to the world ‘we told you so’. But then we’ve believed it was coming some day, at some point and it just so happened to fall into place at the home of football.
Of course, we shouldn’t get carried away. It was 3 points in a fixture that is as tough as they come but for teams to be successful they need a result from their enterprise and do what no team before them has done before. Has a Wolves team in modern times ever gone to Spurs and comprehensively dispatched them in this way? Has a recent Wolves beaten a side away from home in the big league in such a ruthless manner? No.
This is why Saturday’s victory was our true arrival on the scene and this is why these are the days my friends.
Cry Wolf is sponsored by A3 Barbers in Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton
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