What are you most excited about heading into the new season?
I’m excited to watch the development of Adama Traore, from an exciting, frustrating, rapid, at times laughable and at other times completely unplayable right winger, into an exciting, frustrating, rapid, at times laughable and at other times completely unplayable right wing-back.
I’m also excited to see European football down the Molineux. I’m excited to see Ruben Vinaigre play more. I’m excited to see what new fireworks we’ve bought over the summer for just before kick off. I’m excited to see the way Willy Boly continues to read each game like it’s one he’s already played in twice. I’m excited to watch Raul Jimenez be Raul Jimenez.
What worries you ahead of the new season?
The only worries I have ahead of the new season are to do with fans getting frustrated. Last year was unreal. The night-match win against United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in the pouring rain was really, really special. The wins against Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, United, again: all completely nuts.
It’ll be very difficult to top that, and we could well finish below where we did last year and get knocked out in the third round of the cup this year. I just think we have to be patient with what is still a group of players very new to the Premier League and not get pissed off if we’re 11th at Christmas.
What have you made of your club’s transfer activity this summer?
Uncle Jorge brings the presents to the table and we all nod and say ‘thank you, Uncle Jorge, what a nice present that is.’ Look at the players we’ve signed over the past couple of years (Neves, Moutinho, Jota, Boly, Patricio) and it’s hard to not be extremely excited about whoever we nab off a continental European club.
So: Cultrone from Milan reminds me of Mitrovic and we could do with someone like that. Jesus Vallejo has trained with Sergio Ramos, so he’s probably alright. No idea who the two Portuguese lads we’ve just taken from Lazio are, but they look pleasant enough. Most important was getting Jimenez and Dendoncker on permanent deals though. Thank you, Uncle Jorge.
What unpopular opinion do you have about your team going into the season?
Not convinced I have any, really. We’ve got a small squad, which I actually really like, and if our first qualifying game against Crusaders is anything to go by, we’ll be playing full strength teams throughout the Europa League: which is fucking brilliant.
I think we’ll do well in the Europa League, but I think we’ll probably have a worse season overall. I reckon teams like Watford, Everton, maybe even Burnley, could finish above us in the league as we try to compete strongly in all competitions.
Who would win if your squad had a WWE Royal Rumble style fight?
John Ruddy is first in the ring after shaking every competitor’s hand. He suplexes a very worried Joao Moutinho through a physiotherapy table. RKO’s Jota, who had looked dangerous until this point, without signalling. Conor Coady? Chokeslammed on top of a pile of Express and Stars (Wolverhampton’s local newspaper).
Traore heads into the ring and goes from rope to rope. He’s so quick nobody can see him. Rui Patricio languidly heads over to the ring, catches him, and allows John to put him in a Walls of Jericho. Traore taps out and Patricio goes over to embrace John who immediately provides some Sweet Chin Music. Rui’s out. Goalie gloves limp with defeat. He’s melted. John wins and immediately shakes every competitors hand.
Where do you think your team will realistically finish in the Premier League?
As mentioned, we’re gonna play strong teams in most competitions so I think we could finish a couple of places below last year’s 7th. But, despite what I said earlier, I also think there’s going to be some mixing up of the Premier League this year.
I watched us play Manchester United three times, and Arsenal twice last year, and my immediate reaction after all five games was: ‘we are literally better at football than they are’. So, let’s see. Remember when I said all those teams were going to finish above us earlier? Now I’m saying we’ll finish 5th. One in, one out. It’s a game of opinions. And two halves. Up the Wolves.