Premier League Season 2005-06
SEASON 2005-6 Final Position 7th Championship - fixtures/results here
Well, to start the season the coup of the transfers was to bring in the Celtic captain Jackie McNamara after he had a bit of a falling out (very Butleresque) with the Scottish club. Other surprises included Glenn’s long term favourite Darren “Sicknote” Anderton. Rohan Ricketts also stayed on and George Ndah was given a “pay as you play” deal. Paul Ince’s new contract required Glenn’s intervention. Later in the season Hungarians Gabor Gyepes and Denes Rosa joined from Ferencvaros. The season finished with a seventh place and the departure of top scorer Kenny Miller to Celtic. An interview with Kenny is featured on the 2005-6 Season Review DVD as well as one with Incey.
New and Old Mark Davies and Paul InceA slightly different programme with 2 matches in Dundee for the City of Discovery Cup, where we did score 4 against Dundee, bit were beaten by Wednesday and one in Den Haag- possibly memorable for some of those who went - once they’d sobered up! Some fans were surprised to find the team on their early flight from Birmingham to Den Haag. A surprise defeat at Wycombe showed what would happen in the season - plenty of possession, plenty of shots wide and saved, and a silly goal given away. But a final fling against the Villa bought a nice 2-1 victory to give some confidence, although the Villa were well off proper fitness levels. there are Villa and Wycombe pictures on the “Pre Season” pagehere
So after last season’s disappointment it’s time to start again, and once more Wolves are one of the promotion favourites and an ok month it was finishing in 6th (after reaching 3rd) place. We kick off with a televised start against arch rivals (of the sixties) and newly relegated Saints at St Mary’s. In spite of a much superior performance by Wolves Saints held out for a 0-0 draw. The match was enlivened late on by the traditional Dennis Wise/Paul Ince tussle and the league debut of the 16 year old who would finish the season as England’s youngest ever player,Theo Walcott.
Seol goalThen our first home match brings relegated team - Crystal Palace to the Molineux, together with England player AJ, Andrew Johnson. But of course,Joleon contained him perfectly and we ran out 2-1 winners with Seol and Cort (from a lucky deflection of Fitz Hall) scoring. The match marked the long awaited return of George Ndah. Although we just about deserved to win the match will be remembered for Ref Rob Styles disallowing a perfectly good Palace goal.
The next match against newly promoted Hull set a 83 year old unbeaten record with a great shot from Seol deflecting off Delaney for a 1-0 win in the pouring rain. Keith Andrews’ return to the Moli was cut short after 23minutes.
Set a record - then bring it to an end with a comprehensive 2-0 defeat at Elland Road against former captain Paul Butler’s Leeds. We could take encouragement from the stats though - 15 shots for us against 6 for Leeds, but they had a 33% conversion ratio to our blank.
Vio celebrates with Gabor Rob and KennyAt least we had some light relief against former favourite Keith Curle’s Chester with a 5-1 home win in the Carling (League) Cup. Scorers were Kenny Miller, Colin Cameron (2), Darren Anderton and Vio Ganea and 4 debutants were introduced - star of the future 17 year old Captain of England U17 Mark Davies, Goalkeeper for the future Carl Ikeme, Hungarian centre back Gabor Gyepes (pron Geepesh), and new signing Darren Anderton, previously known as Sicknote, while loan goalie Stefan Postma was on the bench. To cap an outstanding performance by Man of the Match Anderton including a goal from a free kick, Kenny opened his scoring account, as did Mickey (Colin Cameron) with 2, and we saw the return to competitive football of Vio Ganea after a year’s layoff, and an impressive cameo from George Ndah, making the second goal.
Back to the league, and it’s the challenge that many Wolves fans didn’t want - to Cardiff against the manager who got us into the Premiership - Dave Jones. Although expected to struggle Cardiff’s impressive Jerome Cameron took them into a 2-0 lead but 19 year old Leon Clarke took advantage of a deflected Cort shot to round the goalie and in the last few seconds Joleon won the ball in their six yard boxand hammered it home to secure the draw. DJ was disappointed not to get the points and Glenn Hoddle was clearly unhappy about 31 ineffectual shots on goal, but why he took it out on Kenny rather than Cort was a mystery.
Another day, another Cort. A hattrick from Carl easily saw off struggling QPR on a Tuesday evening at the Moli.
Although we were ahead after 6 minutes it took a couple of refereeing decisions - first not giving a penalty when Kenny was upended in the box and later disallowing an own goal by Danny Shittu because Carl Cort was “interfering with play” to wake the Moli crowd up. But it was a comfortable win to move us up 4 places into 6th.
A month where we moved up to 4th behind Sheffield Utd and surprises Reading and Luton started poorly with an away draw against Luton, and a depressing home defeat ruining our home run which started against Millwall. Perhaps it was fitting that they ended it, but the ramifications of losing to the bottom club would be felt for the rest of the season. Following that by a 0-0 draw at home against Leicester followed by a Carling Cup exit at Watford left everyone really depressed. But two cracking away wins - and we thought we were back on track... until Burnley came and stole all the points at the Molineux. Everyone else was having problems though so we gained 4th place. Meanwhile Kenny Miller was making national headlines (even in England) for starring performancs for Scotland against Norway and Italy.
Vio Markand George in with the fans at LutonAGabor Gyepes full league debutt Luton - prime candidate for the source of the “My garden shed is bigger than this” fans’ song meant that there wasn’t even room for the players so Vio, George Ndah and Mark Davies joined us in the stands while Hungarian international Gabor Gyepes made his debut. Again we had chances but ended up defending in the second half. It was from here thought that Seol’s season started going downhill and he should really have been taken off at half time. Carl Cort got the goal.
Then to the Moli and that loss against Millwall. We got over-confident after Carl again scored (in the 19th from a terrific cross from Scot Jackie McNamara) and the 74 Millwall fans who turned up thought it was a steal and we couldn’t blame anyone but ourselves! It looked as though they’d settled for a draw when, in the fourth minute of Uriah Rennie’s extra time, Hayles lobbed Oakes and we lost the record and the points. The only consolation was seeing George Ndah back in action.
After this debacle we welcomed Leicester, still smarting from the Premiership 4-3 comebaclk, and at last we saw Vio’s return after nearly 18 months. Only 6 shots on target - 2 of which were from right back Rob Edwards - showed we had no clue how to break the Foxes down. In fact Rob was our best forward! In the end we were lucky to hold out for a draw
But, at last we get an away game on track, and goals from Nayls (a terrific free kick) finishing off a 3-1 win at hapless Stoke after two Seol assists to Carl Cort and Kenny Miller. And then the confidence comes back as we hammer Crewe 4-0 at Gresty Road... all the goals coming in the first half
So we returned to the Moli and in front of Sky’s cameras could we make it 3 in a row and go third? No, we were mugged according to Glenn and Steve Cotterill’s well prepared Clarets broke a 19 year record by being the first Burnley team to score at Molineux since September 86! We OConnor FKhit the bar - twice in a few seconds by Kenny and Nayls - we weren’t given a clear penalty on Seol, and Carl missed an open goal. Burnley had 3 chances and a great free kick for Burnley beat us. Atrocious coniditions thoughout and even Joleon looked very tired. But we’re in 4th and feeling a bit better.
October starts with confidence as we go to the Blades. And we were massacred. The 1-0 scoreline flattered us. Sheffield - after only 12 matches are 11 points ahead of us! We could have been really lucky if the ref had spotted this pull on Joleon in their penalty box.
Bit of a shock then. But made even worse as the next two matches are 1-1 draws. We seem incapable of killing teams off... Kenny scored in the 6th minute against Derby so we should have been up and running. Idiakez - a prime transfer target - was well muted, and a couple of crunching tackles from young Mark Davies making his starting debut kept him very quiet. However, if the strikers are played wide all the time they’re not going to score. This was to plague us for the rest of the season.
Another home match - against Preston - who, indeed, came to win, and had more chances, and if their shot which hit the post just before Vio Ganea equalised had gone in then it could have been all over. But it was Vio who stole all the headlines - hero (according to the fans) , villain (according to Glenn) with an outstanding equaliser - a cross from Seol and Vio, on the edge of the box, withstood the challenge from Claude Davis, and looped it over Carlo Nash - one of the most spectacular goals we’ve seen for a long time. The goal was one of the tv goal-of-the-month candidates. Vio’s celebratory dive into the North Bank earned him a booking, and then a stupid challenge brought his secong yellow card and a sending off.
Back on the road to Watford though and a storming first half should have put us totally in command for loanee Tom Huddlestone’s debut. A sublime ball over the defence for Kenny from Tom should have brought more. But we didn’t take our chances and a devasting 8 minute period led to three Watford goals. Ross, also on debut, replaced the injured Gyepes at half time, was the culprit for two of the crosses - coupled with Oakes’ inability to come off his line.
But the devastating blow was Kenny’s hamstring injury in the 83rd. The picture says it all
and so did the October finishing league position of 10th and our injuries building up.
November 2005(click for full reports)
November took us to a great chance to pick up against ex manager McGhee’s Brighton, but, in the end a 1-1 draw was a bit lucky. Glenn thought we should have won; Mark McG thought he was robbed, but this is where we must pick up points. A stamp on Oakes at Watford had brought in Stefan Postma (on loan from Villa) who really rescued us.
And it was the return of Colin Cameron - picking up Vio’s rebound off the bar which brought us a point.
Lewis Gobern debutThen newly relegated Norwich came to Molineux. The Canaries were, unexpectantly struggling, and Seol’s second minute goal didn’t help their confidence. But it took outstanding defensive work from Jody Craddock on Dean Ashton and Rob Edwards containing Huckerby to keep our control until Vio scored our second to put it beyond doubt. Another debut brought Lewis Gobern his first first team start
Off on the road again and a Friday night televised 3-0 win at Derby County lifted the team and the supporters. Even more so since the first goalscorer with a really brave header was the returning fans’ favourite George Ndah. Again we had relied on Stefan Postma to keep us in the game.
And then the League leading Blades come to Molineux. Who would have thought a few weeks earlier they dominated us, but Neil Warnock decided to play for a 0-0 draw - and when he got that it was him punching the air as though he’d won. Especially since the ref denied us two clear penalties - one handball - and one right at the death when Delap held Gabor Gyepes down
To close the month we’re back at home against red stripes - this time disappointing Saints who are really struggling - except against us. And another 0-0 draw leaves us unbeaten taking 9 points out of 15 but in 10th position in the league. But November was overshadowed by the death of George Best and before the 12:30 kick off v Saints at Molineux led the mourning for George Best. However, instead of the usual minute’s silence we celebrated his life with applause and the singing of “George Best, there’s only one Georgie Best”
Can December launch the run to the Premiership as it did for West Ham and Palace in the last two seasons? Well it wasn’t a bad month with one defeat by league leaders Reading (?Reading!!) who showed themselves a class above us, and another 9 points to get back into the last playoff slot.
We started at the tractor boys where our season fell apart in the first match last season. After the first 20 minutes when Postma kept us in it saving from Huckerby and a Huddlestone back header,we took control with 15 shots at goal, but only one successful from Colin Cameron.
A disputable penalty given against Gabor Gyepes, though, gifted Ipswich their equaliser in the 60th and applalling misses by George Ndah and Seol cost us the points.
And then it’s away in Young’s territory at Crystal Palace. Long seen as promotion rivals, we should have taken all three points from a very lucky Seol goal - a cross which went in. A defensive slip by Joleon let AJ in for the equaliser on half time, and,in spite of his ever more desparate diving, we didn’t look likely to concede again.
Vio scoresBack home again and Scott Cooper reports: “RARELY is a 1-0 win as comfortable as the one today. Wolves restricted Leeds United to just two shots whilst a single goal from Vio Ganea seven minutes before half time earned Wolves all three points.” It was also a homecoming for ex Captain Paul Butler - an emotional reunion after the board refused him a two year contract when we were relegated.
Then it’s the surprise League leaders for Boxing Day, Reading, at the Molineux. Since we’re normally a bigey team for them, we went full of anticipation. Unfortunately the players weren’t in the same frame of mind and the Royals gained a comfortable 2-0 victory at the Molinuex with goals by Kitson and Convey. We looked a class apart - a long way off them - Steve Coppell has achieved with little change and we’ve slipped backwards. Even Glenn Hoddle said “we’ve let ourselves down”.
But things improved on the awayday to Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls, who were barely to survive in the Championship, were beaten by Darren Anderton’s first league goal and an opportunist Kenny Miller taking advantage of a mix up in their defence
And back to Molineux to welcome Plymouth for the last match of the year. Once again we struggled to score in spite of overwhelming dominance, and it was Plymouth’s first attack that led to their goal. This was made worse by abject performances from young Leon Clarke and Glenn Hoddle who substituted Seol who was putting in a man-of-the-match performance for Maurice Ross. A first minute cracker by Anderton, a header a minute later from Joleon and a denied penalty for Kenny didn’t help, but we really need to take a grip on games like this. In the end it was the Scottish one-two which brought us a point - Kenny’s surging run ended with a pass to Colin Cameron to score.
Another 9 points in the month and we crawl back into 6th place.
A new year, a new dawn? No. An opener at Coventry’s new Ricoh stadium ended their losing streak (and led to a winning run that took them away from relegation into the tophalf) as we went down 2-0. Two quick home wins against Plymouth in the FA Cup and against the Hatters before a depressing draw at the Den and then a pitiful performance to bring a 3-0 defeat by ManU in the Cup.
At Coventry we had an amazing 23 attempts on goal (to their 7) but lost 2-0 to goals by James Scowcroft who hadn’t scored for months and his tentative shot towards goal from the edge of the area hit no less than three Wolves players as it pin-balled it’s way home in just the eighth minute. Coupled with a Joleon own goal then Hungarian Demes Rosa making his debut in the second half must have wondered what had become of our strikers. Fans, too, asked how Adebele and the other Coventry forwards had managed to “rough up” our defenders so much.
The home tie against Plymouth produced some early pressure but at last out-of-form Leon Clarke silenced his critics. A ball to Lescott - to Mark Davies in the center circle - out to Mo Ross - a low cross from Cams - Kenny dummied a stretch to it and the ball went to Leon 6 yards out. After all the pressure on him he was really cool, took it down on his chest and put it past Larrieu. However his gesture to be quiet upset the fans, who spent the rest of the match taking it out on him. A gesture of arrogance that his performance this season just doesn’t justify. Eventually he was sent out on loan to try to get his confidence back.
It looked for a long time that we had settled for another 1-1 draw against Luton - marked by Mark Davies first league goal after they had a fairly soft equaliser. Larrieu, admittedly, was in fine form in their goal, and the ref denied us several opportunities. But we were lacking imagination - Ince’s powerful shot in the 44th - easily saved by Beresford - prompted a chorus of “We’ve had a shot on goal”. The ref was also very soft on their tacking. But Mark’s debut goal was very good - beating two out of three tackles across the half way line in Mark’s run the ball fell to Paul Ince who laid it off to Mark Kennedy on the left wing. Both midfielders surged forward and Sparky’s long cross went over Cort’s head (who may have been holding the defender) and fell to Leon who held off the deferder and shot. Beresford could only parry the shot and it fell to Mark three yards out. He got his foot high and stabbed the ball home for his first senior goal. After Brkvic’s double handball to control the ball missed by the inept ref Dean he shot at Postma who punched clear - Ross’s follow up tackle was penalised and from the free kick Howard headed home. Then it looked like a draw until Incey decided it was time. A long long ball forward from Rob Edwards was chested into Paul Ince’s path by Vio. Two strides and Paul shot from 20 yards. The ball curled slightly round the two defenders and Beresford could get nowhere near it. 2-1 and at last a win.
So, full of confidence and ready for the bottom club Millwall. No - a pitiful 0-0 draw at the Den emphasised how far we are away from promotion form
And then against Man Utd - probably the worst Molineux performance for years as Wolves just didn’t turn up and conceded early in the 6th minute as Louis Saha ran riot, and MU scored again either side of half time. Incey did get the ball in the net but our least popular ref pulled the play back for a free kick to us! Play advantage? Not Rennie. Cort had already wasted what Andy Gray described as a “sublime cross” from Kennedy
Eventually Hoddle got the message and took off the ineffectual Seol and Anderton, bringing some bit from Colin Cameron and Mark Davies . After only three minutes the pair combined with Nayls and Van de Saar scrambled to push the ball away.
Then Park Il Sung broke away, roasted Nayls, and passed across the box for Richardson to put the result away. Cameron then prevented a fourth after Nayls was again beaten and Park tried to back heel a goal. After the match Hoddle’s selections came under even more questionning as it was revealed that Cort was playing with an injury. A stupid gamble against the Premier league runners up. And made even worse by this awful miss from Nayls through ball - easier chance than a penalty! Cort was substituted for the Polish Player of the Year, Tomasz Frankowski our £1.4m signing who had one great chance but blazed it over.
February 2006 (
So no FA Cup result to charge us up as the Newcastle one had done in 2003 and it’s back to the League but a loss a draw and three wins brought another 10 points and hopes still of making the playoffs. The 1-0 away defeat at Leicester had the same playing quality as we’d demonstrated against Man U - very poor - and then a 1-1 draw against certain relegation fodder Crewe seemed to have killed us off. But on the road at Burnley and Hill things looked up and those sandwiched a 1-0 defeat of Ipswich at the Molineux and we finished in 7th.
Crewe took a lead through Billy Jones which started a chorus of booing. Many of the players suffered from this but most of all Mark Kennedy. They even booed his name when his equalising goal was announced - his first for two years.
Denes Rosa - the new Hungarian signing introduced by Gabor Gyepes - was clearly our man of the match, and could have scored in the first minute. Unusual for us to see a midfielder getting forward unless it’s Cameron or Davies.
Ince’s winner at Burnley from a Cort knockdown doesn’t tell the story of how Burnley outplayed us for the first 10 minutes and had two reasonable penalty shouts against Joleon.
Kenny pen v IpswichWe looked a lot more assured against Ipswich but in the end only won with a 73rd minute Kenny Miller penalty. Joe Royle was probably the only one who thought Ipswich should have taken all three points
The Hull match was enlivened by both Carl Cort and his brother scoring (but Carl’s was the last minute winner)Carl Cort scores the winner in the 90th
Kenny shoots and equalises v ReadingEnd of the road then. Two 0-0 draws at QPR - helped by stupid long ball tactics to Cort - and at home to Stoke - then a great 2-0 win after a standing ovation for Dave Jones’ return with Cardiff, but marred by Cardiff fans rioting and a half hour delay to the second half. A good draw at runaway leaders Reading lifted spirits until a catastrophic 3-2 defeat at the Molineux to Paul Sturrock’s strggling Sheffield Wednesday. Only 6 points left the promotion play-off teams way ahead although we again finished in seventh.
And the nail was hemmered home at Plymouth on All Fools Day as we lost 2-0. (On loan Leon Clarke wasn’t allowed to play.) Draws against Coventry from 2-0 up and Watford at home with an open goal miss by Frankowski then a bank holiday defeat by rivals Preston was the end. A nice day out on the last day of the season brought a satiisfying 2-1 win at Norwich - marked by great goals by Denes Rosa and Mark Kennedy - with the best celebration since Vio’s dive into the North Bank But of course it was most notable for the return of Matt Murray in goal.
So the season finished in 7th. Immediately released were Postma, Ross, Anderton and fan’s favourite Vio Ganea who were all out of contract but Wolves belatedly offered Cameron a deal - presumably one he wouldn’t accept. Jeremie Aliadiere returned to Arsenal. Ince seemed to have been offered a much reduced deal, Kennedy’s position was unclear with Premiership teams chasing him and we expect the certain departure of our main defender Joleon Lescott. Kenny Miller - the fans player of the season - had already signed a pre-contract with Celtic and signed on 1st June. Be prepared for youth and rebuilding in 2006-7 as 6,000 season ticket holders don’t renew... losing 9,000 since the Premiership.