(Image via expressandstar.com)
As Wolves end a miserable November, Oliver Floyd looks at whether our transfer policy and those involved in recruitment means that we’re missing out on key recruits.
November, by any team’s standards has been a month filled with adversity and tribulation. Just one goal scored and 14 conceded has caused us to plummet down the table, just hanging on to our top half status. At the beginning of the month, we faced Birmingham at home, with the chance to go top of the table. Although we tentatively took this chance, it was clear to see for all Wolves fans that we needed backup and with the loan window open, there was ample chance for us to bring in reinforcements. With Nouha Dicko out with what seemed like a recurring hamstring injury, it appeared we simply needed a striker with a bit of pace about him and someone to put the ball in the net. Prior to this, despite a vague need for backup in defence, it wasn’t seen with such importance. With a run like this, there seems to always have to be ‘someone to blame’. In most cases, this would fall on Kenny Jackett’s shoulders. But a number of fans have returned to blaming Moxey and Morgan. Personally, I don’t think our issues on transfer policy comes down to purely a lack of investment. I think there’s much more to it than that.
When Wolves appointed Kenny Jackett on 31st May 2013, I thought this was rather curious. Not that we’d appointed Kenny Jackett, but the job title we had accredited him with, Head Coach. Something of a modern trend when appointing a new ‘manager’. When you look at the likes of Watford and Leeds, with their Italian owners Massimo Cellino and Giampaulo Pozzo, I think they’re perfectly right to appoint Head Coaches. These men are appointing someone to simply come in and coach the players put in front of them. They are there to control the team dynamics and tactics. As far as I understand, this is the sole purpose of the Head Coach role at these clubs. Although in England, every sacking of a Manager/Head Coach comes with a media storm and what seems like a major talking point, the reality is for clubs like Watford and Leeds, the Head Coach is quite simply just what it says on the tin. The fact they’ve gone through seven Head Coaches between them is proof of this.
Now, I come back to Wolves and Kenny Jackett. Earlier in the season, a quote stuck out for me. He said “You’ve got to run a club how you want to run it”, which could be interpreted as meaning he likes to spend money as if it were his own. Although this attitude is refreshing and actually important to running a financially viable club, I don’t believe this should really have anything to do with the role of a Head Coach. Realistically, the majority of the transfer activity should come down to someone within the recruitment department at Wolves, be it Kevin Thelwell or even Jez Moxey. However, at present, a lot of this appears to be being decided by Kenny Jackett. In the summer, we were seemingly priced out of a number of moves; Callum Wilson, Chris Wood and Harry Maguire just naming a few.
Although it must be incredibly difficult to achieve the perfect mix of influence between Jackett and Thelwell, it’s clear that there’s something fairly significantly wrong. So much so, that it appears we’ve almost been forced into breaking our wage structure on the back of a poor start to the month, with the signing of Danny Graham. In the summer, Danny Graham was a name touted by many Wolves fans, but Kenny Jackett said there was nothing there. There are many factors believed to be influencing Wolves’ awful run of late, including injuries to Scott Golbourne and Nouha Dicko, the exclusion of Richard Stearman or crucial tactical errors on the part of Kenny Jackett. Although these have all been devastating in their own right, it’s been clear to see that we just haven’t signed enough players of the quality to mount a serious charge for a top six finish. Not to say this is what is expected, but Kenny Jackett clearly stated at the start of the season that we were targeting promotion.
Going into December, there’s not much that can be done regarding transfer policy. It’s simply going to be down to us maintaining the fitness of key players and patching up our defensive frailties. If we could at least stay within striking distance of the play-offs, I would see it as a successful month. However, in my opinion, a huge amount needs to be done behind the scenes with regard to recruitment and transfer policy. January is destined to be a huge month that could well determine our season, with the future of Bakary Sako up in arms and his Malian compatriot also looking like traveling to the Africa Cup of Nations, it is clear Wolves are going to need to bring in upwards of five players into this squad to have any chance of mounting a genuine push for promotion.