Why Do Wolves Fans Boo? Because It's A Big Club
As someone who grew up in Wolverhampton, it's been interesting to see the media interest in the way Molineux fans gave stick to Mick McCarthy at the weekend. The furore rages on about whether its right to boo your own team and what purpose it has.
In amongst all this, there doesn't seem to have been much analysis of why it happened at Molineux - because in my experience there is always a Wolves fan either booing, on the verge of booing or complaining that someone should be booing. It's in the nature of the club's history.
The identity of a football club has a marvellous alchemy about it, made up of events that took place over a hundred years or more. For Wolves fans the seminal events in the modern club were in the 1950s.
That's the decade when the team were three-times English champions and just missed out on the prize on three more occasions. The 50s are remembered for the Busby Babes, but down in the West Midlands thre was another team taking the world by storm.
It may have been United who pioneered in European competition but it was Wolves that first took on the might of Europe. In a series of night-time friendlies, Wolves restored English football pride after the battering from the Hungarians, by taking on the likes of the great Army side Honved.
If you were English and taking the proverbial cab ride on the Continent at that time, the cabbie would have launched into discussions in fractured English about the great Billy Wright, Bill Slater, Jimmy Mullen, Bert Williams etc.
Their fame was such that the club was talked of as the 'champions of the world' (unofficial). That's heady stuff and what's more a large proportion of the team were local lads. When that side retired many remained in the area - the three local sports shops closest to me were owned by Messrs Flowers, Mullen and Williams - all England internationals.
This was the atmospheere that young people in the 1960 and 1970s grew up on and despite the tribulations of the club since and its near fall to non-league status, this image is part of the Molineux DNA.
Add in the fact that most of the great success was achieved with a blisteringly direct style of play and you have the recipe for a certain impatience. Wolves great climb back from oblivion in the 1980s was fired by the excellent Steve Bull - local boy made good and bustling centre-forward par excellence.
It wasn't just Bull's local status that made him such a hero - it was the way he went about it. In the parlance of the time "bang it long for Bully" did the job and when Mark McGhee managed Wolves in the 90s the disgruntlement with his patient build up from the back style was all too palpable.
The irony is that Mick McCarthy might be thought of as a good fit for Wolves - some of his critics complain of a fondness for long ball, no frills football. But as far back as his first season in the Championship, McCarthy was taking huge stick from some Wolves fans for his reluctance to use Freddie Eastwood enough.
When he arrived at the club McCarthy showed great perception in explaining to Wolves fans that he would never be 'Merlin the Magician' - he knew his audience and their expectations -but despite getting his team out of the Championship and keeping them in the Premier League, Merlin is exactly what some Wolves fans want to see.
It's always been that way. The collective DNA of Molineux says that Wolves are a big club and at the very least, they should be top dog in the West Midlands. Outsiders may look at the size of the area, the ground and the money to spend and conclude that McCarthy has done a decent job.
But this is Wolves and what might be good enough for West Brom or Birmingham City, isn't acceptable to a sizeable portion of the Molineux fanbase. Sixty years after the glory days and more than 30 since their last major trophy - for many of their fans, Wolves are still a big club.