It’s been a defining decade at Molineux. David Evans picks out the key best and worst moments for Wolves during the last ten years.
Wolves and the 2010’s.
That’s how we’ll talk about them, right?
Look I need to know what the themed nightclub will be called so I can classify the era. Just like Popworld used to be in town before it went through different incarnations.
The period between 2010 – 2019 has probably one of the most turbulent era’s at Wolves. We have reached the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Promotions, relegation’s, success and heartbreak.
We really have had the lot!
So I’ve put together a top 4 list of each of the best and worst moments for a Wolves fan during the last decade.
There are some notable moments that just didn’t make the list. Wolves’ ’10K2MK’ takeover of Milton Keynes in 2014 and Boly’s winner against Besiktas in Istanbul in 2019 for example.
So let’s start off with a man who could have become an unlikely hat-trick hero…
February 2010 – Wolves 2-1 Man Utd.
George Elokobi was on course for a hat-trick. One of the best phrases of the 2010’s.
Wolves were bottom of the Premier League and took on a Man Utd side who hadn’t lost in the league. Until one night at Molineux.
After an early Nani goal, Elokobi popped out of nowhere to equalise and kick out the corner flag in jubilation.
Then the ongoing debate as to whether big George or Kevin Doyle headed in the winner still rages on.
Wolves had just lost 1-0 away to Bolton in the previous game, and we didn’t look like we were getting a result the week after.
It would be a defining game that would help Wolves clinch survival on the last day of the season.
George Elokobi. The slayer of the red devils.
February 2012 – Wolves 1-5 West Brom
Nearly a year later, Wolves would suffer one of their lowest moments.
Wolves went into the game desperately needing a win. West Brom were rejuvenated by Roy Hodgson.
Somehow Wolves managed to draw at half-time, with Steven Fletcher thundering in a shot before the whistle.
Out of the blocks in the second half, Wolves were on the front foot, with SEB and Johnson both missing chances to take the lead.
Then, cue the disintegration of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Every time West Brom went forward, they seemed to score. It was like watching your parents consistently take your siblings side again and again despite you being in the right (no historical sibling angst there).
To not only lose in such as miserable fashion, but against our nearest rivals, in our backyard, was the ultimate kick in the balls.
With Mick’s job hanging by a thread, Roy Hodgson would say ‘Be careful what you wish for’.
Mick McCarthy would go, and so would begin the horrendous decline of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves may finally get their chance to exact revenge at the start of a new decade next season with West Brom flying high in the Championship.
Here’s hoping that day of reckoning is coming.
May 2013 – Relegation to League One
Wolves fall from grace would continue.
After being relegated from the Premier League, finishing bottom. Wolves would go onto have a spectacularly bad follow up season.
Two managers, the latter, well the less said about that… and the club in free fall, Wolves would be relegated to the third tie of English Football.
The season, under Stake Solbakken, has started very well. By November Wolves were 45 minutes from going top of the league.
Only for Wilfred Zaha to announce himself on the English football stage and provide Crystal Palace with a 2-1 victory.
From then Wolves began their decline and after losing 2-1 at home in a do or die game against Burnley, they had their status confirmed with a defeat to Premier League chasing Brighton.
Issues on and off the pitch showed how distant players and fans were, and the club was at a level of toxicity I’ve never seen (Insert System of the Down reference here.)
Wolves had never fallen so far for more than 25 years. Yet the road to recovery was about to begin.
April 2014 – Wolves 6-4 Rotherham.
Probably one of the greatest games you will ever see at Molineux.
Wolves’ resurgence was already confirmed with promotion back to League One. And Wolves hosted an in-form Rotherham side looking to book their place in the play-offs.
Wolves took a commanding 4-1 lead, but soon let it all slip to a 4-4 draw. Then after Sam Ricketts curled in a beautiful left foot shot, Kevin McDonald completed the rout to see Molineux go into raptures with a 6-4 victory.
What made the game was the constant unnecessary pitch invasions.
Those who weren’t able to take part in such a ritual at Crewe away the previous week when promotion was confirmed, decided to have their own version that day.
Ricketts scores. Pitch invasion.
Michael Jacobs hits the side netting. Pitch invasion.
Kevin McDonald scores. The whole of the South Bank invades the pitch.
The PA announcer would say that if their was another pitch invasion, the match would be abandoned.
But when the full time whistle went, everyone went on the pitch anyway.
That picture of Kevin McDonald, celebrating his goal with a stampede of fans behind him like the gang running away from the herd in Jurassic Park perfectly sums up that recording breaking League One season.
A team and a fanbase finally united.
The pack were on their way back.
July 2016 – Fosun buys Wolves.
Wolves were back in the Championship, but doing nothing.
The year before Steve Morgan decided to sell up, and no-one really knew what the future would hold.
Then one late spring afternoon, a story started to circulate that Wolves were about to hire former Porto Manager Julen Lopetegui. It all seemed like over the top click bait at first.
Yet as the days came and gone the story grew stronger, and then multi-billionaire Chinese owners came into the mix to buy the club.
It wasn’t the owner we had all been told it would be, but on the 21st July 2016, the history of Wolves forever changed when Chinese investment conglomerate Fosun took over the reigns at Molineux.
Yes they suffered a turbulent first season in charge. Bizarre management appointments and surviving relegation again to League One, but Wolves have not looked back since.
When Jeff Shi revealed how much he himself was worth in their first press conference, fans knew that money would never be an issue again.
July 2017 – Carl Ikeme diagnosed with Leukemia
A year before Wolves experienced a new future.
A year later they would be rocked by the health of one of their sons.
Wolves had employed Nuno Espirito Santo and were just starting their pre-season programme when the news broke that shocked the fan base.
Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with acute leukemia.
The beloved goalkeeper has been a core part of the fabric of Wolves for many years, and had been a key part of Wolves’ promotion from League One a couple of seasons before.
It was news that struck a cord with every Wolves fan, and united a fan base to raise vital funds for Cure Leukemia on behalf of the shot stopper.
Just over a year later the delightful news came in that Carl was in full remission.
It was a dark day not just in the last decade, but in the history of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Carl has recently written about his experience in a new book called ‘Why Not Me?’ and we highly recommend you go grab a copy.
April 2019 – Wolves 2-3 Watford.
We’re going to go back to front on this one.
The 2018-19 season will go down has perhaps one of the greatest in Wolves’ history.
A side with all the Mick Jagger swagger, household names and football to lick your lips that stormed the Premier League.
We also had the one thing we had been craving for so many years. A cup run.
Wolves headed to the FA Cup Semi-Final against Watford at Wembley in great form.
Nuno’s side would take a commanding 2-0 lead thanks to Doherty and Jimenez and by the 75 minute, we were all dreaming of an unprecedented FA Cup Final.
But then the dream died.
Watford got back into the game and in the closing moments of injury time, a Dendoncker foul in the penalty area to Troy Deeney gave Watford a penalty to equalise in the final moments.
Watford went onto to score, and then score the winner in injury time.
It was a sickener not felt at that magnitude since the 5-1 defeat to West Brom. Wolves were on the cusp on a FA Cup final and had uncharacteristically given it away.
Troy Deeney would brand Raul Jimenez a ‘loser’ after putting on his Wolves inspired lucha libre mask for Wolves’ second of the day. It’s funny how events of transpired since that day.
Watford would lose the final 6-0 to Man City and be fighting relegation in this current season. Wolves would qualify for Europe because of that result, qualify for the knockout stage and be in the top 10 of the Premier League.
Will Wolves have a chance like that again? With this side, yes.
March 2019 – Wolves 2-1 Man Utd.
We started the decade with this result, and it’s how we’ll end.
Wolves booked their place in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup because of this result.
The result announced to the Premier League that Wolves were finally back.
Anticipation for the game was a fever pitch. With the excitement of a FA Cup game, fans felt we could really get a result against the red devils.
The first half was a cagey affair. Despite a Jota chance late on, Man Utd controlled the first half.
In the second half, Wolves arrived.
Raul Jimenez twisted and turned and took the lead for Wolves.
Then, Jota produced one of the most iconic goals at Molineux.
From the breakaway Jota took Luke Shaw to school, glided past the defender, ran half the pitch and struck the ball in the bottom left hand corner of the goal.
Molineux roared like it never had before. Jota’s celebration was a man whose body couldn’t quite decide how to celebrate the moment.
Wolves sent the red devils back to hell, and they announced to the rest of the country that the pack was indeed back.
What are your best and worst moments of 2010 – 2019? Comment below and let us know your top lists.