In October, ahead of their home clash with Swansea, just three months after the start of the Premier League season, Wolves had lost each of their last five games.
When the Swans raced into a 2-0 lead, the home crowd – perhaps expecting a comfortable term in mid-table following the summer acquisition of Roger Johnson for £8m and the permanent capture of Jamie O’Hara – began to turn on their side.
Boos, jeers and cries of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” reverberated around a disconsolate Molineux.
A clearly disappointed Mick McCarthy said after the game; ““Let me clear something up. It doesn’t help,” the manager said “Let’s not give them any credit. Let’s not give any of the dissenting voices, the mindless idiots that do it, any credit whether it’s aimed at me, Karl Henry, Andy Keogh or Stephen Ward.”
Fast forward to February, following a run of just one win in 13 games and a five goal home thrashing at the hands of rivals West Brom, McCarthy was out of a job.
Despite the West Brom result it was the Swansea game, which Wolves ironically came back to draw 2-2, which sealed McCarthy’s fate.
When fans no long back their team – or their manager – it takes a brave board not to act
Following McCarthy’s departure, chairman Jez Moxey told Sky Sports News: “Mick McCarthy has done a fantastic job but if we continued in this way we were definitely going to be relegated.
“The trend was only going one way and when we lost 5-1 at home to West Brom we had to act,” he added: “This
has been a decision we’ve taken with a heavy heart but we have to act in the best interests of the club.”
In short, the fans got their way. Despite never being an established Premier League side, despite McCarthy keeping the side up last season, Wolves fans expected much more. The team were never given the support they deserved – especially in their crucial home games.
The board failed miserably in their efforts to replace McCarthy, with rookie manager Terry Connor taking charge, and if Alan Shearer’s ill-fated stint as manager of relegation threatened Newcastle United taught us anything it is that, in a dog-fight, experience counts.
Perhaps understanding that the blame cannot be placed at Connor’s door, today’s 5-0 reverse against Manchester United, the same fans, called for the head of Moxey, despite him giving them what they craved.
While relegation under McCarthy seemed possible, survival under Connor looks impossible.
Maybe the Irishman wasn’t so bad after all.