A Season of Two Halfs


Who remembers the days going into work on a Monday morning & not a single word from our B6 or Wolverhampton colleagues on Saturdays events. As we sat pretty in 7th place in the Championship, I really looked forward to going up St. Andrews. There was a real buzz around the place. Who’d have thought that was only 4 months ago? So here we are, currently 18th, 5 points off relegation, 2nd worst goal difference in the league & now my journey up to St. Andrews feels more of a ‘chore’ than the pleasure I once got. This is my take on the situation as a whole.

I don’t want to go on about Gary Rowett too much as they say ‘that ship has sailed’. I am however going to use him as a reference to how I see a football team should be managed. Now I don’t know the ins & outs of why Rowett was sacked, only like everyone else hearing things from social media etc. I also in a way understand that he was seen to be wasteful with the funds he was given in the transfer market & maybe Mr Suen didn’t want any more funds wasted so to speak.

At times under Rowett I’ve checked the team sheet at 2pm on the way to the ground & thought “what”?…..Haven’t we all?…

So let’s talk Gianfranco Zola & one of the main reasons I wanted to write this piece. Mr Pavlakis. I at first was quick to defend Panos when he was being bombarded for sacking Rowett. In a way I got his vision…we needed more attacking football. No doubt at times I was bored to tears with Rowett’s style. Long ball up field, Donaldson winning the flicks & looking for bits off that. Wasn’t pretty on the eye but this is where now 18 games under Zola everything for me is clear as day. Rowett looked at what we had. He looked at the strengths of the players at his disposal & made us into a tight unit. What we still have to remember that players like Morro – Charlton didn’t want. Davis – Wolves didn’t want. Glesson, Donaldson, League One freebies. I remember the game earlier in the season v Norwich when we won 3 – 0. I remember wondering why the hell David Davis was playing right wing? It all became clear when Robbie Brady was completely taken out the game. Little tactical strokes like that Gianfranco Zola just doesn’t have in his locker.

Birmingham City v Newcastle UnitedThe FA Cup7/01/2017.

I think as we started to see a bit of success everyone then thinks these players are actually better than what they are. In my eyes they are an average bunch. This is where Zola is now completely out his depth. That much so for me, I don’t think he’s actually cut out to be a football manager. I remember speaking to a Watford fan & he said when they were winning it was brilliant to watch. (Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m sure Zola had half the Udinese team on loan). Soon as he started losing he didn’t have a clue. Trying to play this way with an ‘average’ bunch of players is just not working. Jonathan Grounds is not bloody Paolo Maldini! Robert Tesche is not Andrea Pirlo…. This wing back system he insists on playing doesn’t work! Rowett wastes money!? Why have we now got a £2.2m player sat on the bench..Kerim Frei?

Now onto Panos. No doubt he has done good things for the club. Can’t deny that. I think sometimes though he gets a bit more credit for things that maybe others at the club are doing behind the scenes. I am sick though of him piping up on social media after we beat 10 man Fulham, scrape past Wolves, ’spirited’ draw with Newcastle yet get stuffed by QPR 4-1 or lose to Wigan 1-0 & not a peep.

I feel every time he pipes up its like he’s trying to justify appointing Zola in a sorry attempt to save his bacon as ultimately he was your choice. Look at the League table Panos… where are your #futherforward hashtags now? I’ve never quite seen a season like this. Under Lee Clark I sort of expected what was happening at the time with the whole Carson thing. What is Zola’s excuse? He has spent more money than anyone since Alex McLeish & for what? To take us into a relegation battle? I think you could give Zola £50m & the outcome would still be the same. You Mr Pavlakis know you’ve dropped a monumental clanger. So rather than trying to make things better with petty tweets how about being honest for once. Season ticket renewal is due soon. Can’t wait to hear your sales pitch for that one!

Now that’s off my chest all I can say fellow noses is we just get behind the lads for the remaining games as we always do (no matter how inept our manager is) & hopefully a new chapter next season that doesn’t involve Zola or Panos.

Keep Right On!

Words by Lee Hyden


  1. When I heard the news that Rowett had been sacked, my reaction was , we MUST be going to appoint a real top class manager. The reasoning behind that was, we are now in 8th position in the Championship, achieved with a group of players of average ability, so the new manager will, OBVIOUSLY, have had a VERY successful career in football management, who will now take us into the top 3. To appoint Zola, who has had, a VERY unsuccessful career in football management, was at best, naïve , at worst showing a complete lack of football knowledge. Was there an ulterior motive ,somewhere in his appointment ?

  2. spot on lee. i think the club is already looking to replace Zola. the way they replaced Rowett one day he was in the job a few hours later we had a new manager. i think the same will happen to Zola

  3. I give everybody a chance , before January i thought he had got no chance of staying but seeing the players he had signed play , and the way the players already hear adjusted ..Something looked good to me , it looked like with a couple more players we could go places ..I still think that ..We now seem to be settling into a system that suits many teams in the championship which was similar to GRs but this side has more skill in its toolbox when needed…We still need a striker though ….


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