Love this club.
Stan has to be honest, he approached this game with trepidation.
As text messages came in from afar, all seemed to be thinking the same thing: this could be where the rosy glow of Gunn-love begins to fade.
Wolves score for fun; we concede for fun; the result will be a thumping 3-0 Wolves and the dogfight will get ever more messy.
Though the club had got extra bodies in, the January sales had not brought a 'name'.
Purse either got blocked by Jones or thought 'sod this for a game of relegation-battle soldiers…'; Iverson remained as elusive and enigmatic as the Northern Lights.
Instead we got another Premiership rehab, a scaffolder, two Scottish squad men and a Blades reserve.
Somewhere in the depths of Norfolk – or maybe a dingy East End pub – a recently-departed City boss no doubt turned up the collar of his crombie and scoffed into his G&T. 'Useless ****s, f****ing amateurs, ****, ****, ****, ****!!'
But here's the rub. Football is, to a large extent, about a bunch of blokes fighting for, battling and getting on with eachother.
It is, as Gunny said afterwards, about character and belief.
For too long, perhaps, with the Pro-zone, the algebraic formulations of Grant and the ruthless exactitudes of Roeder, we have been sucked into seeing football as a virtual reality.
A science; a business; a strategic wargame in which Colney became Colditz and our players became mere components of some far bigger plan.
And just as the paid pundits queued up to say Zola will take West Ham down because he lacked experience (stand up Charlie H), so Gunny's appointment brought nostalgia, but a fear that this could all end in tears. And still it might.
But, for now, the injection of green and yellow blood into the Colney bootroom (seeing Crooky and Butterworth back in our colours means goosebumps for old Stan) has brought with it a sense of spirit last seen in the season of Worthy-champions.
Last night, our boys really did appear to be OUR boys.
They never crumbled, they fought and fought, and they almost won it. They looked like a gang of mates playing for eachother and not a set of units compiled to fit to a theory.
As to the game itself, it was one of those classics that will no doubt stick in the memory for years to come.
Some old problems remained: if Wolves' second goal was a case of sloppy defending, then goals one and three were examples of criminal negligence. Stan presumes Butters will have something to say about this, though he was – of course – part of a Walker team that believed goals against meant nothing so long as we scored more.
In fact, last night was not a million miles away from the type of game Stan used to enjoy all those years back in 1993.
Even so, Stan hopes Leijer will add presence and grit to the back line. We need to take the lead, keep the lead and extend the lead, for all the fun that a spirited comeback ensures.
More positively, we attacked with spirit and flair. Croft – who Stan thinks is well within his rights to see where we are come May before then re-signing for us, as he no doubt will (Right, Crofty?) – showed pace and foresight, Cort showed sheer class, and the Doc – well, the big man showed guts, fight and the desire to win.
In midfield, Clingan looked back to his best.
This Stan likes Foz, but playing he and Clingan together negates both – so, Sammy starts with Rusty, Patty or Gow alongside. Bertie did his bit, before Carney showed what Crook knows (and we don't…).
Gow, meanwhile, did enough to suggest he may just like it here and that we may just like him (a lot).
All in all, last night was a joy. Of course, we must not get carried away.
We drew. We need to win on Saturday. The new boys – and the old boys – will have to keep up that standard to ensure we survive.
The defence still needs strengthening. But there appears to be fight in the team and a sense of togetherness that may just yet see us through.
You never know, there may even be the nucleus of decent team beginning to form here – a team of 'us' and not a team of 'them'.
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