Wolverhampton Wanderers: I don’t Blame them

December 19, 2009 at 6:28 am | Posted in General Football | 3 Comments

Recently there has been a great furore over the fact that Wolves played a reserve side Tuesday against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Wolves fans who made the trip North are demanding their money back, and Arsene Wenger has condemned them in the press. They suffered a 3-0 loss.  Last Saturday they beat Tottenham and this weekend they face Burnley.   I don’t blame Mick McCarthy, Wolves manager,  for doing what he did.   His first team were exhausted from the Tottenham match, and he chose to save them for the match against Burnley.

First things first: while Wolverhampton and Manchester United both play in the Premiership, they are not really in the same league.   Manchester United are in the Big four, consisting of themselves, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal.   One of these teams is guaranteed to win the Premiership before a ball is even kicked, because of the vast resources they have.   The starting eleven of all of these clubs are fantastic, and they even have 2 or 3 players ready to come on to replace the starting players should one become injured.  Wolverhampton, before the ball is even kicked in the Premiership, are in a relegation battle with the likes of Burnley, Hull City, Bolton and Portsmouth.  This is because the resources of these teams are pathetic when compared with the big four.   McCarthy saved his players for the match against his real competition: Burnley.  He knew he was not going to win at Old Trafford, so why risk injury to his first team squad when he needs them this weekend?  If he wasted his first team against Manchester, he would be likely to lose both games through the exhaustion of his first team, or by losing players through injury.

If the big four want other teams to put their best squads out, they should ensure that the small teams have access to more money so that the competition is more equal.  If Wenger wants quality matches and fair competition this is the idea he should be pushing.


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  1. Hmmmm. I remember some upset fans when Montreal strategically rested their first team against Toronto. Is this any different?

  2. Ha! You have me there Brenton! There are key differences, however. Montreal had a team that could beat TFC. Montreal were also playing at home in front of their own fans. Furthermore, the Canadian Championship was at stake. The point of my article was that the little teams with poor resources have to marshal them carefully or they will get relegated. The Impact may not have the same resources as TFC but there is not the wide gap between teams as there is in the Premiership. The Impact do not play in a league which relegates teams. Furthermore, the owner of the Impact himself recognized what his team had done and had apologized.

    I know what you are saying but the two instances really are very different!

  3. I have to agree with Brenton on this. If you run a professional team you need to field your best players for your fans. Montreal made the wrong decision, it hurt soccer in Canada (ie new fans that tuned in tuned off in disgust) and even the Montreal fans were angry. You should not try and change any system by throwing games.

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