Whilst the dust settles on Wolves’ forth managerial appointment in two years, is there anything that the club can do to restore the connection with the fans that have lost faith with the off, and on field, members of the club?
The 27th April protests after the 2-1 loss to Burnley was an extremely clear sign of the dissatisfaction with the decisions made by Jez Moxey and Steve Morgan, the finger of blame was well and truly pointed in their direction for the choices they have made in the past two or three years. Obviously, it is not a hundred percent their fault but is there anything that the decision makers at the Molineux can do to make peace with the disgruntled supporters, below are five suggestions that could rekindle a once relatively happy relationship.
Be more transparent with major issues at the club
After that game against the club-that-must-not-be-named, Mick McCarthy was given his marching orders, the absolutely catastrophic search for a manager in the ensuing days was done behind closed doors, with rumours and speculation the only things for Wolves fans to look towards. Eventually an announcement was made that Terry ‘clipboard’ Connor was appointed as manager, something everyone knew would end in tears. It did.
One thing that was extremely apparent was that the club needed to be a lot more vocal about what they were doing. Just a statement, outlining their plans and thought process when important decisions arise, would suffice. It is little things, like this, that help mend wounds from past mistakes. Look at the most recent managerial search, the club were very good in releasing a short statement outlining what they were going to do and what sort of person they were looking for, it means a lot to fans to be given the inside track into decisions making processes, especially considering that they invest hundreds of pounds a year into season tickets.
More fan parliaments that feature Steve Morgan and Jez Moxey
The last fan parliament that featured the aforementioned (gruesome) twosome in February went a long way in restoring some faith in them. They managed to dispel a lot of bizarre and frankly ridiculous myths that surrounded them, such as the one about the profits from the club going into Steve Morgan’s Redrow business.
What the night showed though was that it does not take a lot, an apology and an explanation. The vast majority of Wolves fans are kind folk and know that people are human and make mistakes. Furthermore, just the very presence of the these two shows that they do actually care about the club. I have no doubt that Steve Morgan and Jez Moxey are just as annoyed as we are about what has happened over the past two years and will look back and think they could have done things differently.
In addition to them attending the fan parliament, the fact that it was “live streamed” over social media also made sure that their message was put across as much as possible. With Wolves having a large presence on social media, especially Twitter, reporting what goes on a minute-by-minute basis makes perfect sense.
Encourage the crowd and get the Molineux rocking
In the moments when Wolves’ free-flowing, expansive style of football was not carving open the crème de la crème of The Championship, I would occasionally cast an eye to my right and see The South Bank looking rather flat. I was sat there thinking, “if they can’t get us, and the players, motivated who will?”. The atmosphere these past nine months have been the worst I have ever seen in my seven years as a season ticket holder.
Obviously the counter argument to this is that the football on the pitch was about as turgid as it gets, an incredibly valid point. But still, the atmosphere when the game was at 0-0 or even 1-0 to the home side was still poor. I firmly believe that if the ground were as loud as it could potentially be then some of the ridiculous home results we suffered would have been averted.
The club as a whole need to get back that virulent, almost tangible, atmosphere back at the Molineux, once more. It makes game that more exciting and encourages people to go on the cold Tuesday nights or when we are playing one of the top six. One of my highlights of the season was that draw at home to Brighton, 3-3, a fantastic game. One, because Roger Johnson nodded the equaliser with minutes left, but two, because when Wolves went from being 2-1 up to 3-2 down with a minute plus injury time, to go, the crowd snapped and suddenly the atmosphere in the ground became something unique and exciting, I have never seen it like that before. It is almost like the crowd forced Roger Johnson into scoring that equaliser.
I would love it if the club supplied enough paraphernalia for us to make a right royal din, who would not love that? Making Molineux a cauldron could be a real advantage in League One, especially when you are scrapping for points and games come at such a fast pace.
Back Kenny Jackett as much as they can, whatever happens
With Wolves’ forth manager taking up the hot seat since King Mick left the club, lessons surely have to have been learnt. Successive relegations and hugely egotistical players on crazy wages will teach you something, right?
Over this coming transfer window and in the next nine months the board, the fans and the players have to support the manager 100%, all the time. No matter how bad it may get over the next season. There is no use in just calling for the manager’s head or booing the men in old gold, neither is it any good for the board to sack a manager every six months. Football is such a long-term game, I find it staggering that clubs, Wolves, go through managers like they do. It never works, Wolves have got to be a club that does things long term. There is not another choice. We need everyone to buy into this ethos of taking things slowly.
The board need to be strong, they need to, in the words of Tammy Wynette, stand by their man. They panicked with Solbakken and their knee was jerked after the loss to Luton, they sacked him after his six months in charge. I firmly believe he would not have relegated Wolves. Stale had a plan. As I am sure Jackett has, Morgan and Moxey should learn from this mistake, along with all the others, and give Jackett the time he needs to calm this storm in a gold and black teacup.
Win games of football
As simple as it sounds, winning and Wolverhampton Wanderers are two words that have not been in tandem for some time. The past three seasons have seen Wolves play 122 games, win 27, draw 25 and lose, a staggering, 70 games. That is a win ratio of 22%, less than a quarter of the games played. As much as we pine for attractive, expansive football from the team, in the short term, the objective should just be to win as many games as you can whether that be in the league, the cup of the Johnston’s Paint Trophy.
Wolves have got enough time to change the ethos of the club, two years, in theory, though I expect it to take a lot longer than that, before we can get back to the Premier League. Therefore, Wolves can, for now, focus on doing something they are not used to, beating other football teams and games of football. Sounds odd don’t it? In addition, winning games of football should help keep Jackett in the job, the reasons that Solbakken and Saunders were given their marching orders was because they did not win enough games, regardless of what they were trying to achieve, they just did not win enough. Solbakken had a win ratio of 31% and Saunders managed to win just a quarter of his games in charge. Not good enough, as much as we laud Solbakken for his ideas on football, he did not do the only thing that is important in a game of football, winning.
If Jackett, at a very basic level, can just get the team winning, or at the very least set the team up to win a game. This will no doubt strengthen his mandate for what he wants to do at the club, because he can back up his plan with results.
These are just five potential suggestions for what the club need to do reconnect with the fans. However, the Fancast wanted to get your opinion, as a Wolves fan, on what you thought needed to be done to strengthen the relationship between supporter and club. Below are a few suggestions we got.
Jake Devereux (@fuzzbuzz55) suggested that the club should introduce “A lottery like ticket for STH’s and who ever wins, them and a friend can sit in the dugout for the game”
Another suggestion came from Dan Heathcote (@DannyHeathcote1). He feels that the board is the problem, “The club should sack the arrogant, inept, pr disaster of a CEO who declared the fans fickle and has made mistake after mistake”
Andy McAulay (@andy_omac) said that the club should “stop treating us like a supporter number. Not even a thank you for renewing online. Just an order confirmation”
It is clear that Wolves need to do something over the next few days, months and years in order to restore faith with the disenchanted fans that trudge to the Molineux every other week or so. It should be, arguably, their most important priority, reconnecting with the fans, without them the club is nothing. The 20,000 or so fans are the only constant at the club. Players, managers, CEO’s, directors and coaches will come and go, but the fans, the fans will be there always, regardless of what goes on at the club. It is essential this link is rebuilt, and with the appointment of Jackett and the promise of a young and exciting squad who will go out to attack and win every game, this link is slowly being rebuilt.