official supporters club
PUNJAB UNITED WOLVESlongest serving asian football club est 1966
Dawning of a new era?
Wolverhampton Wanderers has reached a crucial stage in its history. The unenviable tag of being the only club to be relegated in successive seasons from the top flight to the third division, TWICE in our history hangs not-so-proudly around our necks.
A catalogue of errors lead to our demise. The sacking of Mick McCarthy two seasons ago was the turning point – but not because we should have kept him. The axe should have been wielded well beforehand, with a 5-1 defeat at home to them lot down the road meaning Mick’s position went from insecure to untenable. Give a manager that transfer window and you give them chance and the job itself is a much more attractive proposition. But in the end Wolves were left to plump for the sullen Terry Connor, the managerial equivalent of the usual last pick in five-a-side suddenly being promoted up the order.
Premier League status was lost, but a chance to correct the mistakes of the past two seasons was gained. In came Stale Solbakken. An impressive CV was backed up by the ability to talk a good game – something Wolves fan will appreciate a lot more in hindsight. The idea from Steve Morgan was a good one – here was as intelligent a coach I had seen at Molineux. The European style was catching on in the Premier League and for a fear of being left behind, Messrs Morgan and Moxey went continental. What ensued was a real mish-mash of footballing ideologies. Solbakken’s foreign imports (of which nearly all have made a good impression) were added to the British – formerly young and hungry – contingent from the McCarthy era with strange results. Solbakken’s mantra from early on was that within 3 transfer windows he would have stamped his authority on the club – he wasn’t allowed to see through two. In an Abramovich-like manner, Morgan pulled the plug on what must have been seen as a long-term plan to re-establish the club in the upper echelons of English football. A longing sense of what might have been has lingered around the sacking of Solbakken, who definitely left an impression on the Molineux faithful. Perhaps the likes of Roger Johnson, Karl Henry and Stephen Hunt were too simple for Stale’s masterplan. Perhaps he tried to introduce it too quickly. All I know is that he’s still the one that got away for me.
No sooner has Stale gone that a new man was at the helm – Dean Saunders. The European style was ditched and a return to a more familiar approach was introduced to try and galvanise a group of players that had begun to stagnate, in a swamp of poor performances and utter carelessness from the fans’ perspective. The chirpy Saunders was seen as a refreshing change from the sometimes morose and serious Solbakken. By this I mean you could not take the guy seriously as a football manager. The writing was on the wall when Saunders said: “When I used to play I wanted the ball forward as quickly as possible.” Then there was “we can still make the play offs.” And the reference to Ladbrokes not getting it wrong often because they didn’t have us as favourites to get relegated. And something about Boots which I didn’t quite understand. But my favourite of all was “I know how to get out of this division.” Well you sure did that Deano. Coupled with some of the worst football ever displayed on the Molineux turf and you Saunders’ tenure as boss was nothing short of a disaster. His absence from Steve Morgan’s end of season statement in apology to the fans was a metaphorical gun being cocked. But for all that you may blame the managers and the board for their mistakes there has been one constant throughout this period – poor performances from players we expect a lot more from. After matchday two in the 2011/12 season we were the top team in the entire country. The signings of Jamie O’Hara and Roger Johnson had given us hope that our days as Premier League survival were behind us. Now the two are wholly representative – and responsible for – our demise. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had the biggest wage bill ever to be relegated from the second tier of English football. Rubbish spouted in the media did nothing to dispel the severe disdain the supporters had for a large portion of the squad – they just did not care. But the sad reality of it is that these players will move on to better things than the way they have left our once proud club. Scenes at the Amex Stadium in Brighton on the final day summed the feeling up. Even Brighton fans were berating our shamed clan of former heroes. Jamie O’Hara’s reaction to a brutal but honest assessment of his performances was nothing short of disgraceful. The rebuttal from fans when Roger Johnson offered his short in apology epitomised the ill-feeling toward our seemingly alcoholic centre back (he was spotted out in Birmingham just a day after the club’s relegation was confirmed).
League One and Wolverhampton Wanderers just don’t go together. But this is not to say we don’t deserve to be there because we do. The only people to have come out of this debacle has been the fans. We haven’t been sent on a rollercoaster of a ride – this has been a log flume-like drop. But very much like the beginning of last season, there is a chance to start afresh. Like a troubled-teen that has lost their way in life, the wake-up call has arrived. Morgan and Moxey have humbly decided to take a backseat and allowed Kevin Thelwell to head footballing operations. Having interviewed Kevin once I can tell you he is a very intelligent and well-spoken man, who is well respected in the game. The current influx of youngsters at Derby County are his legacy on that side of the Midlands. Hopefully he can have an even bigger impact with us. People wanting Moxey and Morgan out are slightly misguided though – right now is when we need them most. Moxey especially is unmatched when it comes to getting the best deal possible, and with a truckload of players needing to be rid of he is the perfect man in the perfect position. Once the deadwood has been safely deposited on the Molineux scrapheap, then there is reason to be optimistic. This is an attractive proposition for any manager. If there was one positive from Saunders’ reign it was his introduction of youngsters, with Matt Doherty, David Davis, Danny Batth and Liam McAlinden all honouring the Wolves shirt with respectable performances. The chance to mould this group in your own image would be the dream of many managers and whoever is given the opportunity to do so is in an enviable position. Names being bandied about are the likes of Darren Ferguson, Owen Coyle and Steve Davis. Any of the three would be welcome – especially given their propensity to play attractive football.It’s going to be a long way back to where we ‘enjoyed’ three years of football under Mick McCarthy. Mistakes have been made.
Lessons have been learned. But this may just be exactly what this club needed. We’ll never die, we’ll never die…Gulraj Kular
PW King of the Ring 2013!
There was great excitement when the idea of hosting a boxing event was first put forward. We knew that with Chairman Sahota we could pull off a great event, even though he originally wanted all boxers to fight 6 bouts each on the night! (The only gloves he's ever put on are fingerless ones!)
Selection of the fighters was pretty quick for all categories apart from the heavyweights, which given the 'large' size of folks that we all know was a surprise. Nevertheless, with a bit of persuasion via Facebook and Twitter, the line-up was finalised and so too the format - 12 boxers, 3 categories, 2 fights and one night of boxing!
We had guys from as far afield as Rotherham and Darlington, with ages ranging from 24 to 50 coming from occupations as diverse as sandwich shop proprietor to logistics manager. Each boxer had their own idea of how to get fit, some giving up beer, others going into butchers freezers and pretending to be Rocky and some just taking it very easy.
Training was tough and the lads at Firewalker Gym certainly got the lads in shape. (Those of you who only saw the fighters for the first time on the night might have thought, gosh these guys don't look fit! But believe you me, they were really unhealthy before! No prizes for guessing that while Jas and Raj were getting battered during training and sparring with the boxers, Chairman Sahota was busy selecting songs and recruiting the ring girls!
The public weigh-in a week before the fights saw some friendly rivalry developing with the customary stare-outs and obligatory pushing, shoving and putting down of opponents. Although Jason 'Premier Wolves' Guy took a different approach and tried to win over the ladies by putting a rolled-up sock down his shorts. A word of advice Jason, try putting it in the front next time rather than the derrière! Such a shame!
On the day of the event the UK anti-doping agency were almost called in to investigate what Teggy 'Psycho' Singh was apparently eating for energy purposes, it was some kind of chick-pea, rice mixture which didn't look as though it was fit for human consumption and where the portion size was large enough to feed a small nation! Still, he ate it all and still had a sugary dessert afterwards too, all washed down with some red bull!
The fights themselves were tremendous and all boxers can hold their heads up high for stepping up to the challenge and entering into the ring to raise money for charity in such trying personal circumstances. Tactics deployed in the ring did vary widely from the 'swing widely and hopefully I will connect' to 'is that all you got, that didn't hurt, do it again'. All the fight results were correct despite one of the ringside judges missing the point deduction as he was too busy, ahem 'educating the ring girls on the finer points of boxing!'
The victors deserved their moments of glory, whilst there was pity for Steve 'Jawbreaker' Sohal (who unfortunately injured his shoulder in his fight and was deemed unable to continue much to his disappointment) and reflection for the runners-up (no losers here) on not getting their names immortalised on those fantastic King Of The Ring belts.
This week marked a year since Mick (who is looking increasingly like Merlin Mick) McCarthy was removed from his post as Wolves manager. Since then Terry Connor, Stale Solbakken and now Dean Saunders have tried to steady our ship through the rockiest of waters. Between them they have gained 38 points from 46 games across two divisions.
For a while now though we have realised however perhaps the Captain of the ship hasn’t been the problem. The smooth sailing of the vessel has a lot to do with the crew on board. For a long time now the Wolverhampton Wanderers’ playing staff has been below par. But this weekend’s match struck as an example of where we were and a realisation of what we have become.
Cardiff’s squad doesn’t read like an all star cast of the Championship’s elite. Craig Bellamy and Fraizer Campbell aside, some of their contingent have been part of some rather poor sides at this level. Mark Hudson has played for the likes of Charlton and Crystal Palace when both of them were struggling at the wrong end of the table. Ben Turner and Aron Gunnarsson were both relegated with Coventry, while Don Cowie was the best of a bad bunch at Watford under his current manager Malky Mackay.
Rewind a few years and some of our promotion side don’t look half the side they were when we were riding high. Christophe Berra hasn’t seen anything close to form for over 18 months, and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake looks pedestrian. David Edwards runs around a lot – and that’s about it, while Stephen Ward is exactly what he is – a striker-cum-full back.
The difference – confidence. Under Saunders we haven’t actually played that badly. But in my lifetime I haven’t seen us look so fragile. The fact we went ahead against Barnsley and were on top of the game for much of it suggests the ability is still there. But once Chris Dagnall had equalised the anxiety set in and it wasn’t long before Kevin Foley was allowing his winger to waltz into the box before finding Jacob Mellis to score the winner. Foley knows himself he should be closing him down quicker. But the fear the players are playing with inhibits them, and without removing that fear I am afraid to say we will be relegated.
Saunders’ 3-5-2 experiment went disastrously, but you can see the attempts to try and turn things around. When we did switch back to 4-4-2 we looked comfortable and dangerous, but a mistake from our most unlikely source in Carl Ikeme and we found ourselves with a mountain to climb. People associate British football with grit and determination but two of Solbakken’s brigade dug in most on Sunday. Bjorn Sigurdarson and Bakary Sako made proud to be have the two of them associated with our club and the two of them could be the key to our survival, along with some of our unaffected youngsters such as Danny Batth and Matt Doherty.
We were often critical of McCarthy’s lack of trust in some of our youngsters and nothing disappointed me more than Saunders taking off Danny Batth ahead of Roger Johnson when we decided to change formation. But no one has endeared himself more to the fans than our very own Punjabi in the ranks. His uncompromising and assured displays have given hope to many and there are already calls for him to be installed as captain in the future.
There is a reason why I haven’t brought up any boardroom issues, because quite frankly right now is not the time to berate them. What has been done in the transfer market is done barring any more loan signings and the time to lay into Messrs Moxey and Morgan will be when our fate is decided.
For now though the table does not lie. Two points from safety, with Barnsley having a game in hand on us paints a picture of doom and gloom. The next few months could make or break a number of careers at Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Football Club. Hopefully more making than breaking.
WHITE COLLAR BOXING MEETS VEGAS GLAMOUR!
The PUNJABI WOLVES will bring the thrill of Vegas to Wolverhampton for this Charity White Collar Boxing Night, held at the Civic Hall.
Guest arrive to a reception fit for a ‘King’ and they soak up the party atmosphere before dinner with casino tables and live music.
Guest will then be invited to dine at smartly dressed tables with a 3 course Authentic Punjabi Meal*
Experience first-hand the atmosphere as our 12 White-Collar Warriors bravely battle it out in order to raise funds for 5 charities. Each boxer selects his or her own theme name and they will all have their own entrance music.
There will also be a Charity Memorabilia Auction on the evening
After our boxing finale, there will be an after party at Diamond Banqueting, Skinner Street, City Centre, Wolverhampton
We are proud to offer one of the most captivating and enthralling events of the modern corporate age featuring People of the Black Country coming together from a wide range of industries.
Many Celebrities will be present at this event so make this your opportunity to mingle.
What to expect on the evening 3 Course Meal, Fights, Fundraising Auction, Live Performance, Ring Girls, Fully Licensed Bar and plenty of banter.
VIP Ring Side: £40 SOLD OUT
Executive: £30 SOLD OUT
Balcony: £20 (without meal, no after party entrance)
Available from Civic, Midland Box Office 0870 320 7000
This event promises to be the biggest and best social event to take place in Wolverhampton in 2013. For further information on the event, please contact the Punjabi Wolves team on email@example.com
Bringing the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas MGM to Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall and ensure a knockout time!
From Solbakken to Stale to Saunders
The dawning of a new era? Well we only heard that a few months ago after the left-field and ultimately ill-judged appointment of Stale Solbakken. Dean Saunders seems just as left-field, but the judgment cannot be for a while yet.
Solbakken was introduced to turn the club around and head in a different direction. He was on his way to doing that, despite the poor performances on the pitch. Bad luck with injuries, combined with a lack of understanding of what was required by the manager from some of the old guard led to some seriously dreary, dysfunctional and desperate football. If you take the situation on face value the Norwegian had to go. 18th in the league and just knocked out of the FA Cup by Luton, the outside world was in agreement that Stale was clearly not the man for the job. But any Wolves fan with a reasonable brain cell will understand that the players had let him and themselves down badly. Maybe he was trying to change things around too quickly, but the fact of the matter was that a majority of the squad just weren’t up to his higher brow tactics, which were a far cry from Mick McCarthy’s ‘hustle and bustle’ methods. Given that he was shafted just a week into the January transfer window – a chance for him to put right what had gone horribly wrong – added to the questioning of an increasingly under pressure board. When you put it into perspective Steve Morgan has made two managerial appointments and neither has succeeded. When you think of Mark McGhee and Glenn Hoddle, it seems Molineux has a reputation for being a managerial graveyard. I just hope Solbakken does not fall victim to that curse. Farewell Stale Solbakken – probably the most visionary manager I have seen at Wolves in my lifetime.
Instantly after the sacking two names cropped up to head the usual list of potential new bosses – Sean O’Driscoll and Dean Saunders. It was all set up for O’Driscoll to take charge – born in Wolverhampton and a die-hard fan. But that was clearly too fairytale for Morgan and Jez Moxey who opted for the less experienced, but more enthusiastic Saunders from League One’s Doncaster Rovers. Saunders had, under difficult circumstances (Willy McKay), been relegated with Rovers the previous season, but then galvanised and rejuvenated his squad to lead them to joint top when he left to take on the biggest managerial job of his career. Formerly in charge of Wrexham, Saunders’ pedigree as a player is unquestionable, but many of us wondered what had attracted Morgan and Moxey to him apart from half a season of success during this campaign. But ever since there have been good vibes from the Welshman. A bubbly and jovial character, Saunders seems much more personable than Solbakken who often appeared to be quite cold and stubborn. This should suit the current crop much more, which begs the question - did they even respect Stale Solbakken? Tellingly Deano – as he will pretty obviously be known – has already said he needs to heavily reduce the number of players on the books at the moment, saying he wants a core of 25 all competing with each other. This should be a wake-up call for a number of Mick McCarthy’s loyal subjects. Along came Saunders first game as boss against Blackburn – themselves in a bit of a crisis having sacked Henning Berg after 12 games. Saunders first task was to reignite the fire in the players that has been missing for a very long time from the squad and straight from the off the tempo was high. Good work rate and direct football. Was Mick McCarthy somewhere in the dugout? The 1-1 draw was probably a fair result. We looked solid and energetic, but yet again lacked enough quality to create enough goalscoring opportunities. In my own words, we had tried to play football with our brains at the start of the season and it hadn’t worked. So a bit of brainless kick and rush is almost welcome if it brings better results and performances. It is harsh to judge after one game, but Saunders appears to have brought the football back down to a level that our players can cope with. For now that will most likely get us out of the mess that we’re in. But long term I doubt whether it will be the route to the Promised Land of being an established Premier League club. Nevertheless back Dean Saunders we will. And we shall see what happens.
So Far So Good?
As a Wolves fan you get used to the rollercoaster ride that surrounds our beloved institution, but after five years of relative stability since the exit of Glenn Hoddle, this summer was a shock to the system.
After the debacle of replacing Mick McCarthy adequately and the subsequent embarrassment of the entire club, in came Stale Solbakken, a knight with a shining head as portrayed by Chairman Steve Morgan. Having fought tooth and nail to keep them, Jez Moxey finally surrendered to the willing of three of McCarthy’s best signings and their wishes to leave the club: Steven Fletcher, Matt Jarvis and Michael Kightly. In Jarvis and Kightly in particular lay the soul of McCarhthy’s tenure at the club – which now seems a distant memory.
In came a pot full of cash and also an influx of foreigners, not seen at Molineux since Dave Jones’ time at the club, where the likes of Isaac Okoronkwo, Silas and Seol Ki-Hyeon donned the old gold. Slawomir Peszko, Bakary Sako, Razak Boukari, Bjorn Sigurdarson, Georg Margreitter and sole Englishman Frank Nouble were all brought in to offset the loss of a number of former Molineux darlings.
Along with new players, the eventual departure of Terry Connor signalled the end of an era, with Solbakken citing a difference in philosophy meaning they could not work in harmony. For someone who has done so much in 13 years on the training pitch, it was a sad way for ‘TC’ to go through the exit door.
Many of the old guard remain however; with stalwart Karl Henry still captaining the side, Championship goal machine Sylvan Ebanks-Blake off to a flyer and our favourite party animal Roger Johnson, who appears to have rediscovered something of the form which made him an England contender for Birmingham.
Solbakken also brought in a change of tactics; gone are the 100mph days of flying wingers and workhorse midfielders for a more considered continental approach. Wolves have been solid if unspectacular at the start of this season, with defensive positioning being a key component of the new team after last season’s many calamities. This continental approach is something which I have been a big advocate of, and will hold us in good stead if (yes if, not when) we manage to get promoted back to the Premier League.
Early defeats to Leeds and Cardiff meant many fans questioned the validity of the Norwegian boss’ new approach, but three wins in our last three – with increasing confidence – has raised hopes of a successful campaign. Gone is the losing mentality and slowly but surely our new foreign legion is getting to grips with the English Championship.
I will admit even I did not expect to see us hit the heady heights of 3rd so early on in the season, but in all honesty Wolves haven’t slipped out of 3rd gear so far. The joy was compounded by a victory over fellow relegated side Blackburn, a team full of quality that we could not get to grips with last season (all thanks to Bakary Sako of course).
Then came the reality check. Solbakken’s zonal defending means we are often susceptible to teams with good movement going forward and players able to get ‘in between the lines’ – a facet of Wolves’ game he wants to improve. Along with a multitude of injuries, we began a slump that has led to a mini-crisis, with fans even calling for the gaffer’s head. Peszko, Boukari, David Edwards, Margreitter, Stephen Hunt and Jamie O’Hara have all seen lengthy spells on the treatment table, and Karl Henry getting sent off in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Brighton left us down to the bare bones. Jermaine Pennant was brought in to soften the blow but he has shown none of the quality that took him to a Champions League final with Liverpool.
Losses and lacklustre displays against Nottingham Forest, Millwall, Hull and Burnley caused doubt in the minds of supporters – but perhaps the one saving grace for Solbakken was that this was still not his team. McCarthy favourites such as Stephen Ward, Richard Stearman and Edwards still lace the team and in the current circumstances are what we have to fall back on.
But whilst you should never get carried away in success, the same should be said for failure. A 9 game winless run – littered with contributions from Molineux alumni Mark Davies, Adlene Guedioura and Andy Keogh – was finally ended away to Bristol City. To say hearing that we were 4-0 up at half time would be a massive understatement. But it finally seemed our formidable front four – Sigurdarson, Doyle, Ebanks-Blake and Sako – had finally clicked to demolish an opposition like they had threatened to do. As ever though this led to perhaps an overreaction in the public domain.
But an extra victory over local rivals Birmingham has led to fresh optimism in the Wolves camp. Going into the usual, busy Christmas Wolves are sitting in 16th position. This doesn’t make great reading, but (ironically) Reading are an example we can take heart from in terms of a charge up the table, with theirs culminating in an unlikely promotion.
We have the players. I’m pretty sure we have the manager. We have the fans and we certainly have the heart to take this club back to where it belongs. This may not come instantly, but with Solbakken’s plans coming to some sort of fruition and a January transfer window to exploit there is still hope for this season.
Wolves ay we?!
Punjabi Wolves India Project
Punjabi Wolves members travelled to India in mid October to build on the initial project which commenced back in 2010. This project is very close to our hearts as India is the land of our forefathers!
The bighearted generosity of the Punjabi Wolves members, families and friends knows no bounds and even in times of hardship and the economical decline you still manage to help us raise vital funds for charity! This year has been no exception, once again we have broken our previous fundraising total by raising over £50k!!
A huge thankyou goes out to all the bike riders, helpers and van drivers that took part in this years rickshaw & bike ride from Molineux to Buckingham Palace. If you haven't already do so then please sign up for next years bike ride that see's the rickshaw go international, Wolverhampton to Paris, don't forget your passports!!
India was an emotional rollercoater as we saw the rich living in cloe proximity to the very poor. This year we started building homes the villages of Gurdaspur and Phalphota, along with a visit to an orphanage in Amritsar where Punjabi Wolves went to a cash & carry purchasing books, pens, pencils, cups, plates, footballs, volley balls, biscuits....etc to hand out to the children. Raj Bains and Andy Sahota tried to turn back time thinking they could play volley ball and the smiles on the kids faces when we handed out the goodies was priceless! Punjabi Wolves have also commenced the build of two homes at a leapracy colony that is funded mainly by Shinda CEO of Fortel Construction.