Recent years at the Molineux have been turbulent and erratic. Jumping into the heights of the Premier League and falling down as far as League One in the space of five years (from 2009).
All credit has to go to Kenny Jackett for turning around the fortune at the Wanderers. He joined while they were at their lowest point in League One and propelled them straight into The Championship and ended up “ with the highest ever points total not to make the Championship playoffs.” Thanks to Adam Bate’s’ stats (Feature Writer at Sky Sports). The points total was 78. Joint tally with 5th (Brentford) and 6th (Ipswich) positions with a -5 and -4 goal difference respectively.
Wolves entered the climax of the season with their hotshot strikers Nouha Dicko and Benik Afobe in blistering form, with the former Arsenal man being the leading English goalscorer in the country between all divisions, in all competitions*. Both men supplying 27 league goals collectively.
Their defence was steely too. With the every maturing Danny Batth captaining his sides Championship campaign and briefly holding the best defensive record in all English divisions earlier in the season. Something that left-back Scott Golbourne credited to Jackett’s ability to push the players in training
“The gaffer has drilled it into us about defending first and working off a solid base,” as the Express and Star reported.
So how did The Wolves not get into the Play-Offs and potentially land a Premiership position? It was a combination of two things.
Firstly, it was November. November marked a horrible month for the Wolves. Losing 4 in 4, these heavy defeats to Derby, Nottingham Forest and Brentford helped obliterate their defensive record, goal difference and caused Jackett to rethink in his golden Midlands throne.
Matt Richie secured a late winner for Bournemouth in the first fixture of December – after the aforementioned defeats – which was the catalyst for a storming run of form, prompting an eight match unbeaten run for The Wolves.
Secondly, the good played good, and the bad played bad. This years Championship was the most competitive we’ve seen in recent years.
From 7th placed Wolves to 12th placed Charlton there was a difference of 18 points (quite significant). With the lowest placed team in the league, Blackpool, finishing on a hugely disappointing 25 points, only gathering 4 wins all season.
There was also only a 5 point difference between 4th placed Middlesbrough (85 points) and eventual Champions Bournemouth (90 points).
Further proving that Wolves’ bid for Play-Off glory took a significant dent back in November with the successive defeats.
While this season has been agonisingly close to glory, this shouldn’t take away from the progress that has been made, the pure talent (Sako, Batth, Afobe and more) and the man at the helm, Kenny Jackett.
*as it stands