Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Most Important Game In Recent History...

On Sunday 22nd May 2011 Wolves went into the final game of their second season back in the top flight for many years. The brief was simple… A draw was enough to avoid relegation, and if we were to lose, just don't do it by 3 or more goals.

We all know how the story goes, Wolves love to play with the emotions of its fans, so predictably we find ourselves 3-0 down at half time. A brave second half, and a majestic finish from Stephen Hunt saves us at the death, and another season in the top flight is secured.

In one moment, a season saved.
As our boys walked out onto the Molineux turf that day, it could be argued that some of them were playing the most important games of their Wolves career. For many fans at the stadium, watching Sky Sports, listening on radio, reading updates, wherever they may have been, would argue that was the most important game in recent times that they had witnessed.

Survival in the Premier League ensures revenue, prestige and pride remains. Irrespective of the fact that all fans knew the following season would be just as difficult, survival was all that mattered.

Fast forward 664 days and Wolves will once again be walking out onto the Molineux turf for a game that may very well define a season. A game that could spark survival, or spell doom. The difference this time is we won't be playing to save our revenues, our prestige, or our pride. Instead we will be fighting desperately to save our club as we know it. Fighting to stay in the Championship.

8 games will follow this Saturdays match against Bristol City, but none will be as important. Bottom face second bottom and both will be looking for this to be the catalyst to the last opportunity to put a run together before May. A loss for either team would inevitably damn them to a seriously difficult run in, one that many see as a hill too steep climb. A win for either could, as I've said, ignite a small spark of belief and begin a run of games that could very possibly save the club from League 1. A draw means nothing, so I predict quite a game, full of desperation, hope and goals.

Despite results, recent performances have been promising. We lost to Cardiff, thats to be expected. We lost to Nottingham Forest, again, no big surprise. But we drew with Watford, a team very much looking upwards, and we beat Millwall. This team DOES have results in there somewhere, and on Saturday one of those results MUST be created. There is no hiding from the fact this is a must-win game. No options. No second chances. Three points, or League 1.

The most important game in recent history.

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My team for Bristol City is exactly the same as the one I would have put out against Nottingham Forest. Creative, attacking, solid and ambitious. After all, we have nothing to lose. (Except Championship status, all pride, all promise of getting back to the Premier League any time soon, blah blah blah...)