I first got into football watching the 1966 World Cup as a 9-year-old. Exciting times for a young boy and the following season I started to look for football results and news. A pretty good player was mentioned many times, a certain Derek Dougan - The Doog. Wolves had caught the eye of this youngster living in the East End of London. I remember being asked at school who did I support and I always said Wolves, which of course brought unusual looks from classmates. I devoured everything I could about Wolves and in the late 60s I pestered my uncle to take me to watch a game, and in particular a fixture at Upton Park.
In the early 70s, I was able to catch some Wolves games in London until I left school. I can also remember jumping on the District Line with school friends to watch other club games, and of course that included midweek matches at Craven Cottage, even to the extent that the only FA Cup Final I have ever watched “live” was Fulham v West Ham in 1975. I later found out all about, and then joined, London Wolves.
We are the oldest Wolves supporters club and enjoying our 50th anniversary this year. We've held celebratory events in the Wolves club museum, a wonderful dinner dance at The Valley, a meal in the club's corporate WV1 bar (on the exact date of the first organised trip 22nd October 1966), plus other get-togethers to reminisce about what that length of time has meant to our members and all the ups and downs that have happened to our great club. All our events are attended by former and current heroes and in all those years we've always enjoyed marvellous support and encouragement from the Wolves club itself.
Yes, that is one of the supporters club’s best attended fixtures. It also happens to have been a night game during the last couple of seasons and evening kick-offs in London are the members’ favourites. Plus, over the years, I can't think of anyone having a bad word to say about a visit to Craven Cottage. Yes, sometimes an unfortunate result, but not the actual day or evening out.
Wolves signed 12 new players from around Europe once Fosun, our new Chinese owners, took over the club in the summer and with Walter Zenga, the new “tinker man,” then in charge, we slipped from exciting beginnings into some up and down performances and stopped winning. Talk was that Zenga didn’t “know” the Championship. Paul Lambert certainly knows this league and Saturday will only be his fourth game in charge. He began by Wolves playing relatively well at Preston in his first game, drawing 0-0, however we slipped up badly against Sheffield Wednesday in his only game at Molineux so far. Then, with some good fortune, and in particular a good second half performance at QPR last week, we came away very happy with Paul’s first win. Only four of the summer overseas signings have featured in that time, so we expect more ins and outs in the January transfer window.
Benfica loanee, Helder Costa, would be most fans’ player of the season at this stage. He's a cracking winger, loves to beat his man (and the next one or even two) en route to goal, and has amazing potential in the game. Sitting just in front of the back four is another of our summer signings, Romain Saiss, who I would say has already made his mark in our line-up. He is strong, quick and steady and seems to spot danger well before anyone else. Andy Lonergan, ex-Fulham of course, may play after replacing injured keeper Carl Ikeme in the second half at QPR last week. He's already made some important saves this season during an earlier spell in the first team.
Top-six has always been the aim, however we are a lot further back than where we would want to have been at this stage of the season, so current thinking from the fans may now only be top-10. Of course Paul Lambert and his players will still be aiming for top-six, and rightly so. Both clubs are aware of how changeable this league can be, so with a few consistent performances and wins, who knows?
I believe that the Bluebrick pub close to the railway station is designated for away fans.
Having beaten Fulham in all of our last four league meetings, and only losing that snowy FA Cup Replay at Molineux on penalties a couple of years back, we have to be pretty confident. However, I guess most Wolves fans will be concerned if we concede the first goal on Saturday, as we have only once this season won a league game from that position and that was back in August. Although Fulham have being scoring plenty of goals of late, we will be confident that we can avoid our disappointing October and November spell when we failed to win, particularly with Paul Lambert now in charge and on the back of last week's encouraging away win at QPR.
Low scoring win, mainly because our recent results demand that we start to find our feet again and particularly stop letting in (early) goals - 1-0.