Wolves prove fans should be ig­nored

BOO BOYS CARRY TOO MUCH SWAY

The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

FANS eh – where would foot­ball be with­out them? Well, a damn sight bet­ter off in some cases. That’s flip­pant, of course. With­out the pun­ters, the game would col­lapse. Chelsea and Man City might plod on but, with no­body to play, how long would they last? Whether your chair­man likes it or not, fans re­ally are the lifeblood of the game.

But that doesn’t mean you should pay them any at­ten­tion. Take, for in­stance, Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers and the hideous mess they be­came circa 2013.

Wolves sup­port­ers are nu­mer­ous, pas­sion­ate and friendly. They are also some of the most loyal in the coun­try. But in drum­ming Mick McCarthy out of the club in Fe­bru­ary 2012, a vo­cal mi­nor­ity pres­sured the own­ers into a sui­ci­dal de­ci­sion.

De­struc­tion

When McCarthy took over in 2006, he in­her­ited just ten play­ers and was handed a trans­fer budget of £1m. Two years later, they were in the Pre­mier League. Three years af­ter that, he had kept them up twice. For a club of Wolves limited re­sources, it was a re­mark­able achieve­ment, way above par for the course.

But with an­other rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle loom­ing, the boos started to rain down.“I al­most think some turn up hop­ing it is go­ing to be that way so they can have their whinge and get shot of the man­ager,” said McCarthy at the time.“They are not go­ing to get shot of the chair­man or the play­ers, so it’s a case of,‘Let’s give it to the gaffer’.

He fi­nally bit the dust af­ter a ran- corous 5-1 de­feat to West Brom, start­ing a spi­ral of de­struc­tion that saw Wolves come to rest in League One. Would they have ended up there with McCarthy at the helm? No chance.

Like Charl­ton, Wolves are an ob­ject les­son in be­ing care­ful what you wish for. In 2006, Ad­dicks chair­man Richard Mur­ray told Alan Cur­bish­ley to ‘sign a new con­tract or leave’.

Blus­ter

His bel­liger­ence was fu­elled in no small part by – once again – a mi­nor­ity of fans who had bom­barded mes­sage­boards and phone-ins with neg­a­tiv­ity.

It was the usual ill-in­formed blus­ter. Charl­ton should be push­ing for Europe. The foot­ball was an eye­sore. And that peren­nial favourite, Cur­bish­ley had “taken the club as far as he can”. They, too, ended up in League One.

Fans are en­ti­tled to vent their anger and frus­tra­tion. They are en­ti­tled to an opin­ion. But when ex­pe­ri­enced busi­ness­men place it above their own judge­ment, the con­se­quences are usu­ally dis­as­trous.

As Wolves cel­e­brate pro­mo­tion back to the Cham­pi­onship un­der the fab­u­lous stew­ard­ship of Kenny Jack­ett we may hope the les­son has been heeded.

Yet as Charl­ton con­tem­plate rel­e­ga­tion from the Cham­pi­onship af­ter sack­ing club stal­wart Chris Pow­ell, we should prob­a­bly ac­cept that it hasn’t.

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