How the mess at Wolves exemplifies why chairmen and women should exercise more patience:

Image for How the mess at Wolves exemplifies why chairmen and women should exercise more patience:

Mick McCarthyWhen the new fixtures were released for the 2013/2014 League One campaign, many Wolverhampton Wanderers fans must have been dreading it. Little over a year ago they were still playing Premiership football and here they were finding out exactly when they will be making trips to Crawley Town and Shrewsbury.

Some probably cannot wait to get stuck into the new season because the nearer they are to starting their fight in escaping from the division the better. However, it’s not a foregone conclusion that they will ease through the third tier despite having some players from those heady days of the top-flight still on their books. Just ask Nottingham Forest and Leeds United how hard it was to get out.

The club’s second successive relegation – the first through the top two divisions since Swindon Town ‘achieved’ it in the mid 1990s – serves to confirm that patience is a virtue when it comes to keeping faith in a manager, especially one that achieved a good deal with them. Enter Mick McCarthy.

The results in McCarthy’s final campaign were poor, but it is since his sacking in February of the 2011/2012 season where the rot truly started for the club. It was soon after their 5-1 defeat at home to their fellow Midlanders, West Bromwich Albion that the man who got them promoted and then kept up got his marching orders. It smacked of a knee-jerk reaction to an albeit heavy loss that seemed worse or embarrassing because it was by their local rivals.

The majority of chairmen and women (or 99 per cent of them most probably) cannot seem to get it into their heads that there are always going to be times when results do not go the way that you want them to go. If these businessmen and women were treated the same way as the managers they fire, then they would never have got to the top themselves.

Wolves’ chairman Steve Morgan and chief executive Jez Moxey were at the centre of the decision to get rid of McCarthy, but many of their supporters didn’t help matters with their booing of the Yorkshireman/Irishman/whatever he is (Barnsley born man would be a more accurate description). I wonder how those fans feel now. The sacking policies of chairmen and women seemed to have got into the minds of the fickle.

Supporters have always called for the head of bosses when things haven’t been going well, but there’s less tolerance these days. Maybe it’s the fast-food, I-want-it-now culture we live in. But you would think that successful businessmen and women would have more sense. Turns out that hardly any of them know much about football.

McCarthy took over Ipswich Town when they were bottom of the Championship with seven points from 13 matches last season. He ended up gaining 53 from the remaining 33 fixtures – an average of 1.60 points per game. Multiply that average by the number of matches each team plays in an entire campaign and you get 73.6, which would have been enough to finish in fifth position above newly promoted Crystal Palace.

That could have been Wolves, although if they had kept him on until at least the end of the 2011/2012 season, they may not have been relegated in the first place. The board deserve all the scorn they’ve been receiving.

The idiotic tendencies of them, and the Venky’s at one of the other relegated clubs from the Premiership in 2012, Blackburn Rovers, are prime examples of people coming into football without the right temperament for the game. But they are at virtually every club in the land.

Alan Pardew is the second longest serving manager in the Premiership having been at Newcastle United for a mind blowing 30 months behind Arsene Wenger’s near 17 years, although that now looks under threat with the arrival of Joe Kinnear on Tyneside. The longest serving boss throughout the three divisions below is Paul Tisdale who was appointed by Exeter City seven years ago.

Derby County’s Nigel Clough has been at the helm for the most amount of unbroken time in the Championship with four and a half years to his name. He was followed by Gustavo Poyet at Brighton & Hove Albion who had been at the club five months short of four years when he was sacked three days ago. Chris Powell of Charlton Athletic is next with two and a half years under his belt, and after him, it’s just a mishmash of stints below the two year mark. Even with the knowledge that clubs sack managers far too easily these days, it’s a real eye opener.

Some leave of their own accord, but many are forced out, while the vast majority are simply disregarded by inept chairmen and women. They are merely a strand connected to the woolly jumper of uncertainty most of us face in modern times (hope you all liked that metaphor). But with the amount of compensation they end up having to pay to their growing number of former employees, who needs a bleeding recession?

One only has to look at a list of the longest serving managers in England right now to know how precarious the job is under dictatorial board members. The situation that Wolverhampton Wanderers find themselves in should be an example to all those erratic business brains out there: patience is a virtue in football, and unless you’re a Chelsea or a Real Madrid, you’re going to get severely punished without it.

Feel free to leave me any comments on here and/or on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr or YouTube:,,, are seeking new writers to join the team! If you’re passionate about football, drop us a line at “” to learn more.

Share this article


  • Well Not Quite says:

    Disagree completely. Results and performances under MM had been on the slide for some time, culminating in a run of 2 wins in 22 and a total and utter humiliation at the hands of our local rivals (partly the result of tactical cluelessness of the highest order). Most chairmen would have sacked Mick sooner.

    Interestingly, almost exactly a year earlier, West Brom sacked Roberto Di Matteo at a time when they were above Wolves in the table and RDM had a better record in the Premier than MM ever has, despite having had significantly less to spend.

    The differences between the approaches of the two clubs?

    1. Steve Morgan stuck with McCarthy for much longer than Albion stuck with RDM.
    2. Jeremy Peace made sure that the decision to sack RDM was taken when Roy Hodgson and Chris Hughton were available so he knew he could bring in a better replacement.

    The decision to sack MM was correct, the timing and subsequent appointments were wrong.

    Sorry if that’s all a bit to complex a response for your oversimplified and biased article.

    • Steve says:

      That more or less sums up my thoughts perfectly.

    • Ricky Murray says:

      Your results have got a lot worse since McCarthy was sacked. Doesn’t that tell you something? You contradicted yourself throughout your supposedly ‘complex’ response. The appointments didn’t measure up to McCarthy. He got you promoted and look at what he’s done at Ipswich. I think the article was too complex for YOU to understand.

  • WV Wolf says:

    Spot on ‘Well Not quite’!
    Bloggers love writing about things they do not have first hand knowledge of and the report here is just another one of them.
    McCarthy, as all Wolves fans know, took the club as far as he could and if at Molineux another 10 years the results or the league position would not have changed very much, still hovering around the relegation zone and losing more than winning!
    On the use of statistics which fall short of a full season and then extrapolate them into a full season is plain nonsense. Statistics can be made to ‘prove’ anything, just ask the British Government!
    ‘WNQ’ rightly says, Morgan and Moxey were the people responsible for starting the mess and the players, most of which were McCarthy’s, finished it and League One football is now our punishment.
    As for supporters wanting ‘the fast-food, I-want-it-now culture we live in”. tell me where in life this does not apply and I will show you a pig that flies!

    • Ricky Murray says:

      So being in League One is preferable to being in the Premiership ‘hovering around the relegation zone and losing more than winning’, which you imply would be the case if McCarthy stayed in charge? Oh, some football fans DO make me laugh.

  • Jim says:

    Ricky, can you explain how sacking a guy that had only managed three wins in five and half months was a knee-jerk reaction?

    Mick McCarthy spent a fortune at Wolves compared to similar sized/positioned teams. He deserved to lose his job. The board have made some bad decisions since sacking McCarthy – the worst of all being appointing Dean Saunders – that’s why we’re in League One.

    Do you think we’d have gone down twice if we’d have appointed Curbishley like we so nearly did? Or, if the board would have had the balls to give Bruce the job rather than listen to a very vocal group of fans that didn’t want him?

    It just seems like you’ve done very little research on the situation. You mention the fans booing him. I went to pretty much every home game and a lot away under McCarthy and the crowd turned on him two times that I can remember. That’s not too bad really when you consider some of the awful runs we had to endure when he was in charge. The board and the fans stuck with McCarthy through many bad runs of form – to criticise them for a lack of patience is ridiculous.

    • Ricky Murray says:

      Well, McCarthy got you promoted and kept you up. Yes, his side were on a bad run in his third campaign, but taking those first two seasons into account, he should have been given to the end of the season. Wolves were third from bottom with 21 points from 25 games level on points with the two sides above them when he was sacked, so considering he’d got the club to the top division and kept them there (a division they had only competed in twice since 1984), a HIGHER degree of patience should have been afforded to him I feel. It was nowhere near as bad as QPR’s situation last term.

      • Jim says:

        He got us promoted and kept us up because of the amount of cash he had to play with. He did far off spend more on one player than Jones spent on the whole team when he took us up. We should’ve been doing far better than we were given the amount of time and money he’d had to build a team. After three years in the division and over forty million spent, McCarthy was still relying on the group that got us promoted. There was no progress at all.

        I think saying we were on a ‘bad run’ when he got sacked is under-selling it a bit, we were on a horrific run; the kind of run that would’ve got most managers the sack. If you take away those great first three games that we had then he’d taken 14 points from 22 games. We were in free-fall from the fourth game onwards and McCarthy showed nothing to make anybody believe that he could turn it around. His team selections became increasingly bizarre, the worst of all being his choice against the Albion. People lost faith in him, with very good reason.

  • Well Not Quite says:

    The thing is Ricky I agree with you whole heartedly on the idiotic tendencies of the people running football clubs and us Wolves fans know all about that because Steve Morgan and Jez Moxey’s decisions are the reason we’re starting the new season in League 1.

    I just don’t believe for 1 second that its the sacking of Mick McCarthy that’s the real problem or the worst mistake (2 wins in 22 and ever worsening performances/morale would get any manager the sack). Mick was backed for 5 and a half years, but was almost certainly taking us down and it was a gamble worth taking to try and get someone else in to turn things around.

    Where they really messed up was

    1. The timing of the sacking (too late in the season and after the transfer window had closed ).
    2. The lack of any sort of plan to identify a possible replacement
    3. A total lack of footballing knowledge at the club (other than Mick himself).
    4. Ill thought out managerial appointments one after another – Conner, Solbakken, Saunders

    • Ricky Murray says:

      I just feel that, for the reasons stated in the article and my reply to Jim above, he should have been given till the end of the season at least. Mind you, even if you went down with him, I would’ve said he should be kept on as he’s good at getting teams promoted.

  • Wolfie says:

    Im with all the other wolves fans, MM time had expired, we are left with a squad of 40 average professionals and were struggling to shift any of them!! Ipswich will benefit from him till any such time as they hit the premier league, if they do quickly jettison MM as us and Sunderland fans will tell you, he hasn’t a clue!!

    It’s a long and painful rebuild at wolves but we will be back, not sure if your an Ipswich fan but I can tell you he’s not the magician he likes to think he is

  • solidgold says:

    If you asked wolves fans i think most would agree mick wouldn’t have kept us in the prem long term .He’s a championship manager and should have been sacked at the end of the previous season.If anything our chairman stuck with him too long.

  • Ralphdog says:

    MM stayed too long. Trust us Ricky. Will be respected for getting us up but not for putting average Championship players on long contracts and big wages. Players who then failed us in the Championship.
    It’s now a footballing cliche to say Wolves should have kept Mick. Lazy journalism, very tiresome and boring. And wrong.

    • Ricky Murray says:

      Don’t you think McCarthy would have got more than the three points Wolves mustered in the three months after he was sacked had he been allowed to stay? 11 points (or 10 depending on the goal difference) from those remaining 13 games would have kept you up in 2012.

  • Handsome devil says:

    2 wins in 22 with a net spend over two years that put us in the top 10 of pl clubs; yeah, totally unjust sacking. As others have said it was not the decision to sack mick that was the problem it was the decisions that followed.
    Do some research before you write something about our club next time because this is embarrassing mate.

    • Ricky Murray says:

      I’ve done my research, don’t you worry, pal. See my replies to the others above. Most fans are blind when it comes to their own club.

  • SOIAW says:

    I’d have to disagree too – the mistake wasn’t sacking MM, it was appointing his assistant Terry Connor. Then appointing the untried Solbakken and not backing him fully in getting the defenders he wanted in the summer. The Solbakken sacking was more knee-jerk than McCarthy’s and I would have to disagree – hanging on grimly year after year in the Premiership is not enjoyable; we needed more investment each year but always d=seemed to do a minimum so we were left with exhausted shell-shocked players in the Championship. Hoping Kenny Jacket will rebuild the squad, get us up within 2 years and then challenging again for Premiership promotion with a better system of football more suited to the top league than MM’s “Putting in a shift”

  • Handsome devil says:

    Haha! “Most fans are blind when it comes to their own club”. That’s up there with the “god moves in mysterious ways” defence!
    You seem to have a few “blind” fans leaving you comments.

  • WV Wolf says:

    Well Ricky, thanks for that.
    Where did I say League One was better than the Premier League?
    Try reading my comments again and maybe, just maybe this time you will understand what I was saying?
    As for making you laugh, have a good one but don’t ask a Wolves fan to laugh with you!

    • Ricky Murray says:

      I was sticking up for Wolves! You said this:

      McCarthy, as all Wolves fans know, took the club as far as he could and if at Molineux another 10 years the results or the league position would not have changed very much, still hovering around the relegation zone and losing more than winning!

      I bet now in the club’s current predicament you wouldn’t have minded the league position changing much i.e. 17th in the Premiership rather than 24th in League One. Obviously, the latter position is because of the name, but anywhere in the division applies I’m sure.

  • Andy B says:

    Another one that disagrees with you and sides with the Wolves fans. The sacking was correct as MM struggles at Prem level even with decent money available. His philosophy of players working hard only gets you so far in the league which is why he’s done OK at Ipswich. I think we would all have kept him if we knew the Chairman was going to bottle it and appoint Connor but MM had more than enough time and as has been said he should have gone earlier really. Being too loyal probably cost us as we should have moved onwards and upwards as Albion and RDM proved. PS no need to snap back at the fans of the club. Poor journalism not to have a balanced view however much you disagree. Write your article and then sit back rather than bitching.

    • Ricky Murray says:

      I’m just replying with a few facts. I wouldn’t call it ‘bitching’ my love. Why, aren’t writers allowed to respond to comments on their articles? It’s a game of opinions and I’m highlighting the factors why I feel it was wrong to sack McCarthy. He was just an example I was using about the English game as a whole.

      I think RDM was sacked too early as well. Who knows whether he would’ve achieved as much as messirs Hodgson and Clarke.

  • Dave says:

    Hi All,

    Interesting article.

    There are not many who would stick up for “Super Mick”. I love the guy, he is one of if not the very best managers around, however that tag can only be applied for the Championship. When it comes to top flight football he was and is totally clueless.

    The first point is his signings. The players he bought in while in the Champ were good level champ players, with the odd one or two (Jarvis and Fletch) being better than that level. Think about the money that was wasted on so many players not good enough to play at that level. Johnson, Jonnson, Doyle, O’Hara, Hunt, Van Damme, Mouylokolo, Mujanji Bia, Castilio, Milijas, Halford, Surman, Hamill, Maierhoffer, to name but a few.

    Ok i will concede at times Doyle and Hunt have been ok, but the rest, hell no. Its not a small amount spent either 09-10 was 17m, 10-11 was 17.5m, 11-12 was 10.5. Thats 45m spent on players who have done nothing. Aside from two Jarvis and Fletcher.

    If you then look at Norwich, Southampton, Swansea, and even the Baggies, we are huge spenders. The mistake was letting mick have free run with the cheque book. Someone should have been following up on these players.

    So going ack to my point MM can spot and find a good player for the championship, a grafter, a worker, but not a prem player.

    To say he was sacked to soon is ridiculas. At the end of the first season in the Prem the board and MM himself should have looked and said, nows the time to step aside. Or even after the Blackburn game.

    Point 2 is Johnson, when you have someone like Karl Henry as a captain, who has been at the club for years, and then bring in a new Capt, it puts noses out of joint.

    That decision i think cost him his job and us a decent centre half, because half the team turned on Johnson at that point.

    Finally, i think we must remember the mess he inherited. He does a great job of coming in, and turning a club around. He will have Ipswich near or in the playoffs next year. But as for taking them up into the prem, pigs will fly first.

  • Jakewolf says:

    Seeing a picture of McCarthy’s face as the header to an article tells me everything I need to know without having to actually read the post.

    Wolves were right to part with the arrogant Barnsley-born-Irishman (however that works) as he had been on a downward spiral since our first Premier League seasons with him. He is clueless in the top flight, but as other have said, we should have moved for a better manager than his no.2.

    The board only did half the job at the time.

    Anyway, what I really want to say is this, can we leave the McCarthy thing well alone now please? He’s gone, we’re where we are and no amount of pontificating over it will change that.

    Maybe you could factor in some JFK, Ghandi or Jesus while we’re talking shelf-life here.

  • wolfy says:

    have to say thanks for mcarthy getting us up, but should of gone after blackburn match reached his limit, morgan said this wont happen again, he was right but we didnt think it would be div.1 we seam to have taken the right choice this time with k.jacket, lets give him time and back him 100 per cent should get out this division first time of asking. the other 3 managers chosen by morgan or moxey or both was a disaster solbacken,connor,and deano had not got a clue, lets not forget also why did curbishley take the job then refuse it, was it because the clubs expectations were not the same has his on taking our club forward, because like most of our fans at the time i think he would of been a very good choice, but all that his in the past ,looks like exciting times ahead,cant wait for season to start .

Comments are closed.