Best team of the last decade? Let’s talk about the worst instead. Andy Gillard produces the ‘List of the Damned’ as he puts down his worst Wolves team of the 2010’s.
As we approach the next decade there are plenty of lists doing the rounds telling everyone about the best of the last 10-years.
For every great player we’ve had through the doors, we’ve had a handful of, let’s say, less-than-great performers.
This list of the Damned has had to be whittled down from over 40 potential players so, to remove some of the dreck, in order to be eligible a player needs to have made at least 10 appearances in Old Gold.
Eggert Jonsson, Steven Mouyokolo and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson all have lucky escapes from the team of ignominy.
In honour of our recent episode about Mike Bassett, this team lines up Four-Four-F***ing Two, and unlike Mike Bassett – these won’t be fondly remembered.
Starting with a dishonorable mention here – Wayne Hennessey deserves special attention.
Not for being a bad keeper, but more for being a bad professional.
His performances were, for the most, quite good, but that night he was needed in Gillingham he put his needs over ahead of the needs of the club who trained him from a youngster and stood with him through long periods of injury.
However, Henners isn’t my pick for the worst of the worst.
Step forward, Emiliano Martinez (sorry Stu).
At the time Wolves had a more than capable keeper in-between the sticks with Carl Ikeme.
For some reason known only to Kenny Jackett, he decided Martinez was required to take us from 7th place in 2014/15 to top-6 in 15/16.
What actually happened was Ikeme’s confidence was knocked and Wolves had to cope with someone with all the presence of a shadow in goal.
In 13 league appearances he did keep 5 clean sheets, two of which against teams who finished with 9 and 10 men, a further two against teams who had only a single shot in the whole game and his final clean sheet he only played half the game.
In the other 8 games he conceded 17 goals.
In truth, Martinez wasn’t an awful player, but he was never reliable enough and displacing Ikeme upset the defence and the fans, and after three goals seemed to ghost through him at home against QPR causing us to lose a game we were cruising at 2-0, the die was cast and he was always going to be on this list.
THE POOR BACK FOUR
Iorfa, Neill Collins, Jason Shackell and Rodrick Miranda could have just as easily made the ‘Dour Defence’.
But let’s be honest, there have been fewer worse than Roger Johnson.
Some of the myths have been dispelled, however the fact that the stories existed in the first place are a damning indictment of his time here.
Taking the captains arm band from players player Karl Henry, rocking up to work the day after a 5-0 loss still drunk, actively making our defence worse after a big money move, squaring up to Hennessey on the pitch… endless list of crap from that man.
Partnering Johnson at the back will be Kaspars Gorkss, brought in by genius-level manager Dean Saunders to stop the slide into League 1 – unlike Johnson, there are no horror stories about this man, he was just outright awful and should have been nowhere near a football pitch.
Filling in at full-back are a pair who turned out to be nothing more than a pair of pains in the arse for Mick McCarthy.
Greg Halford and the lonesome left-back Jelle Van Damme.
Halford made 17 appearances for the team and his only contribution was he could throw the ball far… which is an interesting speciality for a FOOTballer.
Soon as he was shipped out he started mouthing off about his distaste for all things Wolverhampton.
As our game plan at that time did not suit him, and he’s proved to be a decent hand elsewhere, some may have seen Halford’s time at Wolves as a missed opportunity, however acting like a Big Time Charlie just made most despise the man.
Seems oddly fitting that he’s spent more time letting his hands do the talking on twitter than he has letting his feet do the talking on the pitch.
Van Damme joined Wolves in June, by July he was homesick and by November he’d signed a pre-agreement to go back to Belgium. Jelle we hardly knew ye.
A fiercely contested area, so much so a “future £100million player” could lay claim to being put in this area.
Other notable names David Davis, Tongo Doumbia and Hollywood Lee Evans all made less-than-stellar efforts during their tenure here.
However, much like Dodgy Roger in defence there is a clear stand-out in the middle of the park.
Starting his career with comparisons to Paul Scholes, Jamie O’Hara suffered a few injuries and needed to move on from Spurs to reignite his career, after a successful loan-spell where he scored a 100% belter against the Albion he was snapped up for a bargain £5 million.
Sadly, the bargain was for Spurs and not Wolves.
Performances tailed off drastically, bringing his off-the-field problems on to the field with him and fans quickly grew tired of him acting the cock of the walk, trying to play 50-yard balls when he was struggling to play 5-yard passes with any accuracy.
Overweight and under-motivated is how O’Hara’s time ended at Wolves. Between Johnson and O’Hara so much good was promised, and so much bad delivered.
Speaking of London-based youth products, can anyone tell me what kind of player George Saville was?
Neither defensive nor attacking. Neither strong in the tackle nor fleet of foot. Picking out a pass or smashing a shot was not his strong point.
He wore the number 8 shirt for Wolves…. I know squad numbers don’t mean much in the modern game, but bloody hell George Saville to Ruben Neves. Quite an upgrade, eh?
Filling in on the right Jermaine Pennant.
Only 15 games for Wolves, but a player who the one-time most expensive teenager in the world, he never once earned his wages.
Speaking of getting paid… Rajiv Van La Parra takes that final midfield berth. “One week they love you. Next week they hate you. Both weeks I got paid.”
Sorry Raj, there were no weeks when anyone loved you. One goal in 53 performances, pace to burn but zero in the way of end product.
Yeah, we may love a trier but goodwill will only get you so far before output is required, after the best part of two years giving virtually nothing of note and then saying something so tone deaf fans and management had enough of the flying Dutchman.
Of course, he then scores against us the following season.
Missing out by virtue of not enough appearances are Stefan “The Neck” Maierhofer, Paul “Food Critic Extraordinaire” and Frank “CL4CK” Nouble, also a handful of loan rangers in Yannick Sagbo, Grant Holt, and Danny Graham.
Only two places, but there are four outstanding candidates here.
Adam Le Fondre had a good solid record everywhere he went at Championship level, managing a 1 goal in 3 return, that is until he tried to play under Jackett. 3 goals in 26.
The way we played didn’t suit him in the slightest and by this point Jackett’s tenure was starting to become a bit of a malaise, hence why he’s getting a pass here.
So too is Bjorn Sigurdarson. Joining during a transition period for the club, he never truly found his place in the team under Solbakken or Saunders, then another change of manager, a loan, and a bad injury mean’t he only managed 69 appearances, scoring 7 goal – and none in his final 15 appearances.
There was a player in there, too tumultuous a time for Siggy stopped us seeing him.
So those who did make the team then?
Jake Cassidy signed as a youngster with much promise, 20 appearances later an not a single goal to his name, including some massive misses.
Harsh as it is to judge a 20-year-old lad for not performing, but at a time when he was keeping out Kevin Doyle and Leigh Griffiths he needed to be doing better than he was. Cassidy’s inclusion here is as much Jackett’s fault as it is his own.
The final place in this team goes to Leon Clarke. Making himself quite unpopular during his first stint, he went off and plied his trade at several clubs earning a 1-in-2.5/3 goal record, culminating in an excellent spell at Coventry scoring 23 goals in 34 games, convincing Kenny Jackett (and only Kenny Jackett, not a single fan thought this would end well) to part with a reported £750k.
After scoring 18 goals in the first half of the 2013/14 season for Coventry, of course he then went on to score a single, solitary goal when back in the Wolves’ Old Gold and only managed two more the following season.
So there you go. Here’s this decades the team of the weak.
GK. Emi Martinez
RB. Greg Halford
LB. Jelle Van Damme
CB. Roger Johnson
CB. Kaspars Gorkss
RW. Jermaine Pennant
LW. Rajiv Van La Parra
CM. Jamie O’Hara
CM. George Saville
SC. Leon Clarke
SC. Jake Cassidy
Who makes your worst XI of the last decade? Comment below or send in your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org