Black Country Bugle
Wolves’ late surge nowhere near enough to get them up
Season 2004-05 Part Two
IF the truth be known, Wolves never looked a promotion-seeking team this season – at least until late on.
They drew five and lost two of their opening seven games; won only two of the first 15 and from early December through to early March they collected only 16 points out of a possible 42, winning just two out of 14 matches.
Admittedly they improved towards the end of the campaign, remaining unbeaten in their last 18 matches while amassing 34 points … but as the fans know it was all too late!
Their full record for the season was played 46, won 15, drew 21 (a club record high) and lost 10, scoring 72 goals while conceding 69.
A scoreline of 4-1, achieved twice
Under-pressure Walsall manager Paul Merson called on 37 players
versus Reading (h) and Crewe Alexandra (a) was the team’s best win, while their heaviest loss was a 3-1 reverse at Sunderland in early November. Kenny Miller, with 19 goals, was Wolves’ top-scorer; Carl Cort netted 15 while Leon Clarke weighed in with seven. As for Walsall … they were virtually always in the bottom half of League One, eventually finished 14th, a massive 38 points behind the champions Luton Town, yet only nine off the drop-zone. Under manager Paul Merson, the Saddlers struggled for long periods, having their best spell of the campaign either side of Christmas when they won five games out of ten, moving up to 11th in the process, their highest placing of the season. They also had the pleasure of winning their last five games, scoring 13 goals as they lifted themselves up from 19th to 14th.
The Saddlers’ full record this term was played 46, won 16, drew 12 and lost 18, with a goal count of 65-69 for a points tally of 60.
Their best win was 4-3 at home versus Huddersfield, while the heaviest defeat was a 5-3 beating at Oldham.
Matty Fryatt top-scored with 15 goals (4 penalties) while Jorge Leitao grabbed another 8. And under-pressure manager Merson called on the services of no less than 37 players.
In the two domestic knockout competitions, Albion crashed out of the FA Cup in round 4, beaten in a replay by Tottenham Hotspur, and they lost to lowly Colchester United in the 2nd round of the League Cup.
Wolves went out of the FA Cup in round four (beaten 2-0 by eventual winners Arsenal) and were ousted by Burnley in the second round of the League Cup.
Walsall were eliminated by nonleague side Slough Town in the first round of the FA Cup, and by Sheffield Wednesday in round one of the League Cup, while Leyton Orient ended their run in the quarter-finals of the LDV Vans Trophy competition.
Checking inside the clubs … Hungarian international team captain Zoltan Gera joined Albion from Ferencvaros for £1.5 million; goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was signed from Hertha Berlin; Nigerian forward Kanu arrived at The Hawthorns from Arsenal; Jonathan Greening was signed from Middlesbrough, Robert Earnshaw cost £3.6 million from Cardiff City and also recruited were Kevin Campbell from Everton, Darren Purse from Birmingham, Martin Albrechtsen from FC Copenhagen, and Japanese star Junichi Inamoto and Kevin Richardson on loan from Gamba Osaka.
Out of the camp went Lee Hughes (who was sent to prison for a serious driving offence), Sean Gregan and Swiss defender Bernt Haas.
Wolves fielded four overseas players in 2004-05 – the Dane Mikkel Bishoff, the Swede Joachim Bjorkland, Nigerian Seyi Olofinjana and South Korean Ki-hyeon Seol.
Walsall’s Ian Roper was red-carded twice in five matches right at the start of the season versus Port Vale at home and Torquay United away while Saddlers’ goalkeeper Joe Murphy was sent off in the 2-0 League defeat at Blackpool in March.
And just to give Kidderminster Harriers a mention … they were relegated back to the Conference after finishing 23rd in Coca Cola League Two. They had been in the Football League for five seasons and went out with Cambridge United. Barnet subsequently replaced the Harriers in the fourth tier.