When Stale Solbakken announced the signing of Georg Margreitter, it was arguably one of his signings that bought the most excitement. After a slew of wingers and midfielders – and the poster boy in Bjorn Sigurdarson – the one thing Wolves fans most craved was a defender. The 2011/12 season, lest we forget, saw a defence that leaked so profusely you’d think they worked for Russian Intelligence.
The Molineux faithful craved a strong, commanding centre-back, a gap that was last occupied so faithfully by Jody Craddock. Margreitter, a strapping Austrian who looked strong and dominant, was captured for roughly £2.5million, and was the final piece in Solbakken’s jigsaw. However, once the quips about his pizza-style surname had died down, Margreitter wasn’t exactly the imposing figure Wolves fans had hoped for.
He looked shellshocked by the physicality and toughness of the English game, which can be forgiven. However, this was against Northampton Town. Even Solbakken was disappointed, dropping the Austrian to the Billy Wright Stand to take a watching brief. After that, it seemed he was the first of many continental casualties that would be put back on a plane by current gaffer Kenny Jackett.
But within the struggles was a strong attitude and a professional manner. Margreitter never once complained or threw a hissy fit. He became, arguably, more popular with his shocking expose at the end of the 2012/13 season, where he slammed his teammates for their lack of hunger, desire and determination.
Whilst that could have seen him be alienated and aloof, it instead bought praise from fans, who relished Margreitter’s refreshing candour. Now, two years on, Margreitter has a real chance to establish himself. With Sigurdarson and winger Razak Boukari still loitering around Compton, the three foreign exports have never had a better chance to prove to Jackett they’re first-team contenders.
With Wolves’ defence rickety and brittle, they’re crying out for a strong centre-back to partner captain Danny Batth. Richard Stearman is experienced but inconsistent, Tommy Rowe is more adept in midfield and Ethan Ebanks-Landell is crocked.
Margreitter’s sterling performances at Chesterfield have done his career no harm, showing he can handle the rigours of the English game, and once more proving a popular figure amongst players and fans alike. If he can apply himself and take his chance, hopefully we can walk in a Margreitter wonderland this Christmas.