Newcastle United  vs Wolverhampton Wanderers FC –Premiership.

Date: Friday 8 April2022 KO 8pm at a hopefully bouncing SJP.

Media: Sky, which is why this on a Friday.  Do I like Friday games? – I dunno.  Under the lights is fun, and there is always a rumour it’ll be a decent boozing session before and after, but in reality the pre-match is always hurried, dinner still settling, and after, it’s just too late to get going despite/because of stop-start drinking all sides of the kick-off whistles (well: showing my age perhaps, you young guns have fun).

Attendance: In February last year, also a night game, this was zero fans as behind closed doors due to COVID restrictions,which is so long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away.This Friday – will be a sell-out.

Quizzy Rascal: Two former England managers have also been head-honcho at Wolves – name them; and the years they were in post?

Football Trivia:Steve Bull is the only player to have won Wolves’ Player of the Season three times, and used to have a decent knack of scoring against the Mags back in the days of Paul Sweeney’s Shinpads (ask that troll-looking, middle-aged character, chuntering to himself in the corner of the pub, who stinks of piss and is wearing odd shoes).

Preview ramblings:

Once Nuno Espirito Santo left to start his ill-fated and very short tenure as the latest disappointing Spurs manager, the Molineux hierarchy kept it Portuguese and in June 2021 appointed the affable 45yo Bruno Lage, who after a bit of a slow start (first home win at fourth attempt – versus NUFC, natch) has moved Wolves to the upper echelons of mid-table (well bottom of the top lot, sitting currently in 8th) which is where or whereabouts NES had kept them for most of his reign.

I’ve said it before, I really don’t mind Wolves, due to the fast, expansive, counter-attacking way they play, which admittedly has become a tad more organised and dour under their‘crap Bond henchman lookalike’ manager.  They get results though – regularly, hence being 8th.

Wolves’ Portuguese players tend to be skilful, nippy, committed, forward thinking, comfortable on the ball and generally decent.  In my MotD experience of the Old Gold & Black, most of them have a good eye for goal as well – hence Wolves’ usual league position, which NUFC should aspire to match and better after the forthcoming Summer of Love (well, when I say ‘love’, I mean ‘spunking huge wodges of cash on excellent footballers’).

Would it be worth NUFC considering some of the battle-hardened foreigners currently keeping Wolves comfortably in the top half of the table?  For the last three seasons I would have said:‘yes, please, but nee chance’.  BUT – How things change, as for now, for me, that’s now a ‘NO’.

I actually think we can go better than what Wolves have, and should be able to attract players above their level – a la our new boy Bruno, who has to start this game.

Still, take Friday night as a scouting mission, as both players, and Wolves’ playing style/tactics are well worthy of examination in how to take a place further up the table.

In my preview for this match last season, I dissed Fábio Daniel Soares Silva”, their £35 million teenager who I said:“looks like a shit bass player in a sixth form indie band”.  From what I’ve seen, and his game minutes, he’s still crap.  But there will be plenty of decent playersout there to watch, especially little radge packet Podence, like a Portuguese Craig Bellamy, and others from the land of Fado music such as Neves (injured for this one), Neto and Moutinho; all able to tie Kevin Sheedy’s Bootlaces and then some.

We always seem to be 1-1 against these, but we’ve just taken a cuffing at White Hart Lane, Howe will be hurting, the players should have something to prove and we need to convert some home games into points after those three cruel away defeats – so a win perhaps? Nah! I think it’ll still be 1-1, but another point in the bag towards safety is nothing to sniff at with easier games to come at home in the next two (Leicester are below Wolves and flaky, and then,when we play Palace,the Eagles will be drained after losing an energy-sapping FA Cup semi-final versus Chelsea in the Wembley heat, the Sunday before).

Happy days anyway with football back at SJP after too many weeks of aways and internationals.  Enjoy the game!

Castle Farm Mag