When I think about Wolves I instantly think about the fixture last season at Molineux and the behaviour of Wolves skipper Karl Henry on the afternoon.
Henry was seemingly trying to to wind Joey Barton up and spark a reaction from a man who has had infamous problems controlling his temper in the past. He was playing dirty, mistiming tackles and clearly trying to get Barton to react.
That day we saw Joey rise above and he just walked away from the situation, it showed that Joey can keep calm and approach such things with maturity. Henry clattered Barton on multiple occasions, but Joey got up and walked away every time. Anyway here’s what I asked Dale:
How do you rate our fans?
Newcastle fans are fantastic. They’re reputation of loyalty is very well deserved. Being a Newcastle fan may not always be the easiest thing in the world, especially in recent years but their pride and determination to see things through is very commendable. Perhaps the only negative aspect of their support is that they sometimes expect or want more than the club can realistically deliver.
If you could have any one Newcastle player at Wolves who would it be and why?
A difficult question, I’d perhaps take a few if I could and if I was doing this just a month ago then I would consider saying Kevin Nolan but more on that later. There’s a few to choose from, this season I’ve been very impressed with Coloccini, Enrique and Tiote but I think I’d have to say my number one choice would be Hatem Ben Afra. He’s had an unfortunate season with his horrific injury but he’s demonstrated great pace, skill and control so I’d go with him.
Who is your favorite Newcastle player of all time and why?
Can I be really really obvious and say Alan Shearer? Everything about him is just sheer class. His career at Newcastle was phenomenal, as was his career with England. And his continued presence at the club and his desire for it to do well is unquestionable. He is a true servant and icon to football but in particular to Newcastle United.
From an away fan’s point of view what do you make of St James’ Park?
St James’ Park is an absolute monster! The stadiums’ design is amazing, it’s a very impressive build and again it’s iconic. Not many clubs in the Premier League can boast such an impressive stadium and you can tell its importance to the city with its capacity. Alas I’ve never actually been there and can only comment from what I’ve seen on the TV but it would certainly be an experience to go there as an away fan. No doubt I’d be slightly intimidated with a full house of home supporters as would the away players and that’s exactly what you want, a fortress.
How do you think we have done in the transfer market thus far, was selling Nolan a mistake?
Selling Nolan was a surprise. Surely Pardew couldn’t have been disappointed with his performances? I think that selling such an influential figure is always risky but it shows nerve and Pardew seems to be taking a new approach into the squad. The signing of Demba Ba is a very good one. Again I don’t know much about Yohan Cabaya or Sylvain Marveaux but I think they could be good. They’re all around 25 years old, so they’ve got experience but can also be moulded into a way that Pardew wants. I’m hopeful for them but not too hopeful when they play Wolves.
What do you think of Mike Ashley?
Well, where to begin? I know that he hasn’t always been the most popular figure at the club and if you scratch the surface you can see why. Over the past few years he’s appointed a lot of managers who either didn’t work or were unpopular with fans. Then there was the whole putting the club up for sale when things got difficult and then taking it off the market when they picked up. Then after that there was the sacking of Chris Hughton and the selling of Andy Carroll. There has always been a lot of media attention of his decisions and you sense that at some point in the future similar issues may continue but for the moment the club is stable and you hope that he’s learned from the past. I think to some extent the jury is still out.
Mick McCarthy saved you guys from relegation last season, but what do you make of the job Pardew has done at Newcastle?
Newcastle finished 12th this season which for a club coming back up from the Championship is fantastic so it’s been a very good season for them. But you can’t credit Pardew with all of that you have to give a lot of credit to Chris Hughton. I personally prefer Hughton and like lots of people didn’t really understand or believe the reason giving for his dismissal. I think maybe we will have to wait till the end of next season to truly know how Pardew does, he’ll be shaping the team into the way he wants it as opposed to using the squad Hughton made. Having said that though he has already had some great moments at Newcastle, that 4-4 against Arsenal was fantastic and I hope to see more like that next season.
How do you think Newcastle did last season in the Premier League?
Better than Wolves that’s for sure. Luckily they kept a lot of players from when they were relegated; they also have the available funds and resources so now that they’re got a bit of stability there was no reason and no chance of them doing badly. Realistically it was as good as they could have done and maybe it’s as realistically as they can do in the near future? Time will tell.
Who will finish higher next season?
Newcastle will finish higher than Wolves. Wolves still look unfinished, more work and time needs to go into them. They were fortunate to stay in the league even though they got more point this season than they did last, competition is getting harder. But still Wolves beat the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool last season. Maybe there is greatness hiding in the team just waiting to get out.
Score Predictions for next season?
St James’- 2-1 Newcastle.
Last season your captain Karl Henry roughed Joey Barton a bit during the game at Molineux, on the day Joey controlled his temper rather well. What’s your opinion of Joey? Would you have him at Wolves?
He wouldn’t be my first choice. I actually was a bit embarrassed last season when Wolves went through a strange phase of bad tackles and injuring people. Nobody likes to see it and I don’t want temperamental characters like Barton at Wolves. He is a good footballer and sometimes has a great influence in matches but his temperament is a point of concern. If Mick were to sign him I’d understand why and I’m sure it could be a successful move but still I’d be dubious. He’d have to earn my respect at Wolves.
You guys survived on the last day of the season, it was a tight League. Will you guys stay us next season?
Yes. The Wolves squad are improving, Mick is learning more about the league and the stadium is being developed. I’m sure that Wolves will have what it takes to survive once more. Of course it’s the long term ambition of the club to do more than just survive but at the moment that’ll do and I’m sure they will.
In these interviews I like to discuss at least one player that has represented both clubs . . . remember Ketsbaia?
Goodness, I can’t really say I know much of Ketsbaia, he certainly didn’t have a long career at Wolves so it’s difficult to comment. Are there any others? I feel I can’t really help on this question, sorry.
I love Ketsbia,oh well…Finally Mick McCarthy, former Sunderland manager. He’s not going to have too many fans on here. How would you sum him up to bunch who may not be too fond of him?
Well Mick is just fantastic isn’t he? What a character and what a voice, listening to his commentary and press interviews is just sheer heaven, a decent Northern chap. He is a solid manager who is enjoying the most success he’s ever had in his career. Hopefully that’ll continue. I do wonder on occasion how much further he can take the club, whether he has the tactical know how and ability to progress the club into mid-table, but maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. He’s been a great asset to the club and long may it continue, definitely happy with him.
Great interview there from Dale, one of my favourite interviews of the series to date. He knows his football and has given some interesting opinions. Thanks to Dale for his time.
What do you guys think of Dales’s opinions? I’m speaking to lots of various fans and rapidly getting through the checklist now. More view from the away end articles are on the way. Look out for the Mackems article, which is forthcoming…