Farewell Mick

Brendan King comments on Mick McCarthy’s departure from Molineux.

Many pundits, unconnected directly with Wolves, have criticised the fans for their recent pillorying of Mick McCarthy which, no doubt, contributed to his sacking. And, also, the players for below par performances and capitulating when falling behind in recent matches.

I don’t agree with critics about the players being more to blame than the manager. I felt sorry for nearly all of the players on Sunday (except Roger Johnson) as they were suffering from a lack of competent coaching, direction or a coherent game plan. It was chaotic and Mick and Terry Conner must take the blame for that state of affairs. And Albion’s superb play showed the difference that a good coaching set up can make to a team of low cost footballers.

Often one fatal signing can be seen to reveal the flaws of a failing management / coaching / scouting set-up. With Glen Hoddle’s set-up it was Thomaz Frankowski — now back with his old Polish club and who has won the award for highest goal scorer in the Polish top league this season (he’s scored 14 goals this season). But he never scored a goal for Hoddle and it was left to McCarthy to end his high earning contract and send him packing. Hoddle described the player as “the final piece in the jigsaw”. How those words came to haunt him.

MM’s fatal signing was Roger Johnson and making him captain before he even kicked a ball for Wolves will surely haunt him as his big mistake. Johnson has been woeful and ended his time with McCarthy shouting the odds across the pitch in dispute with his manager during the loss to Albion. Johnson’s been a disgrace and should never wear a gold shirt again!

Critics of Wolves booing fans need reminding of when we lost 0-6 to Southampton several season’sago and yet we still cheered and applauded Mick all around the ground. So those that accuse Wolves fans of being particularly vitriolic and poisonous towards our manager’s have to remember that. We gave Mick a lot of slack and wholehearted support through thick and thin for most of his time with us. Any supporters would have reacted as we did after the recent performances -particularly the last two. The loss to Albion was impossible for any manager to survive or any supporters to tolerate. Nor could any chairman / owner to maintain faith with his manager considering our results this season.

I’ve always said I liked and admired Mick as a personality and in his proud and honest manner. And I’ve enjoyed much of his time at my club and he enriched and professionalised it in very many ways. But he has never really had the nous for the Premiership. Roy Hodgson exemplified the difference between Mick and a top class Premier League coach (Hodgson’s aptly described as ‘chief coach’ rather than ‘manager’) and we would be lucky if we could obtain a manager/coach of his calibre. It’s about a manager/coach having exceptional brain power and guile at this level and Mick and Terry Conner just couldn’t reach that optimum of exceptional competence.

Moxey’s aim to obtain an experienced/firefighter manager until the end of the season is okay in my view. There are a few veterans around who might be willing to take a short-term contract and Wolves fans will support whoever is appointed so long as it’s not Neil Warnock. But there must be a clear understanding that, in the close season, there will be the creation of a new progressive, young and modern coaching/scouting set-up. But, if a young, modern, manager can be recruited now, then why not take a gamble?

A left field tip from me would be the up and coming Crystal Palace manager, Dougie Freedman, top scorer at Wolves in 1994. Although he didn’t find great favour at Wolves with his independent and slightly arrogant approach and the fact that he didn’t run all over the pitch putting in a ‘tireless shift’ as has been unreasonably expected of Wolves players for far too long.

I feel both sad and glad at Mick’s departure, as will many Wolves fans and we all wish the best for Mick. But not too sorry for him, bearing in mind that he will take with him £1million in compensation to tide him over. Tide him over until he’s recruited by an aspiring Championship club where he will, no doubt, perform a brilliant job.

Farewell Mick, it’s the end of an era and we now look forward to a revamped set-up at Wolves. A set-up fit for the 21st century and fit for a permanent, established, place in the English Premier League.