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Watford v Wolves, 29/8/98
The seven deadly sins
By Matt Rowson

Star Wars. The greatest film of all time. Ever. Jawas, the Sand People, Han Solo, X-Wing Fighters, Darth Vader, C3P0, it's all great. Best of all, the mighty Alec Guiness as Obi-Wan Kenobi. The best line of the film comes just after Luke's Aunt and Uncle are found having been slaughtered by Stormtroopers. Obi-Wan agrees to take Luke to Dantuine, and approaches the Mos Eiseley spaceport warning his protégé "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy".

He could have been talking about Molineux.


Ohhh, where to start ? How about the counter at the Unofficial Website charting "Time spent in the wrong division" ? Or the match report on the same site which graciously concedes that, given the paucity of Wolves' performance on Saturday "A better side than Swindon may well have taken two points away from Wolves" (Surely not). Blind arrogance would be nearer the mark.

Incitement in opposing managers three times in as many games... a dodgy goal at Oxford, a lucky penalty at Tranmere resulting in John Aldridge being invited to retire from the dugout and a win at home to Swindon thanks to a theatrical Robbie Keane dive.

Mark McGhee's pathetic jibes at Premiership-bound Barnsley in 1997. The thing about being High and Mighty, Mark, is that you really need to be "High" before you start...

The past participle of "to lose" (possibly), which Wolves did an appalling number of times last season for a Premiership club in the company of such riffraff.

David Connolly, described as "small and round" following his return from Rotterdam. So that's what he's been doing for twelve months.

Keith Curle, 34 years old, one year left on his contract and one of the highest paid players at the club, throwing a strop in the summer in search of higher wages, the poor love.

New Spanish signing Fernando Gomez, who sounds as if he should be an extra in a James Bond film. An early write-up suggests that he "can't run, can't tackle, and can't pass (without the ball)". Another inspired signing by McGhee, then.

Add to this list of charges :

  • the appalling way in which McGhee started his tenure in brash dismissal of Graham Taylor's regime (almost as if he was building up a stockpile of excuses for future use)
  • the suave presence of Colin Lee, arguably the most inept Watford manager of all time (his list of crimes include Joe McLaughlin, Mark Gavin and, especially, Andy Kennedy)
  • wing-back Steve Froggatt; half-man, half-gibbon and the ugliest creature on earth.

Never can one club have been so wholly wretched... even the club's benefactor, Sir Jack Hayward, who has bankrolled the club's renaissance, has given up in disgust. Players leave gasping for breath... Steve Claridge recently ended "the worst 18 months of my life" by joining Portsmouth, whilst Forest signing Dougie Freedman felt that he had become the latest in a long line of Mark McGhee's sorry scapegoats.

Then there is Connolly. Only Jack Petchey and maybe Dave Bassett could possibly hope to emulate the reception this snivelling little tyke can expect at Vicarage Road on Friday evening. For any Wolves fans who have wandered onto this site : be warned. This is the man who, after taking advice from that wise old head Mick McCarthy, decided that after barely twenty starts for the Hornets he had given us about what we were due; he famously "no longer had anything to prove" at our level, and his presence descended into farce, culminating in the occasional petulant display and stories of him missing the team coach to away games. In his defence, he did provide one of the great TV comedy highlights of all time with his pointless sending off for Ireland in the World Cup qualification play-off against Belgium... but boy does he have a greeting waiting for him at Vicarage Road.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that George Lucas must have meant something with this Mos Eiseley / Molineux business. Never one to miss a trick (note the brazen naming of the hero of the tale, Luke Skywalker - LUKE S.), it cannot be coincidence that the fat gruff barkeeper bears more than a passing resemblance to Mark McGhee.

You know I'm right...