Conor’s Big Week Marked By Matt Finish
Molineux History-Maker Calls Time
Confirmation of Conor Coady’s selection for the European Championships came in timely fashion.
Barely 24 hours earlier, another model pro requiring the lowest of maintenance – and the last Wolves player before the Liverpudlian to represent England at the top level – announced his retirement.
Matt Jarvis left Molineux some three years before Coady arrived and made exactly 100 fewer appearances for the club (175 opposed to 275) than the defender so far has to his name.
But, in his quiet way, he made his mark there admirably and achieved something momentous by ending a 20-year wait after Steve Bull for Wolves fans to be able to hail a senior England international.
For the winger, there wasn’t the fanfare of playing in a major tournament – far from it. His playing time in the three lions was restricted to the last 20 minutes of a Wembley friendly against Ghana in which he went on as substitute for Jack Wilshere.
Modest lad that he was, he had to be cajoled into taking his England shirt to show to staff and team-mates at Compton – and then went seamlessly back into the heat of a Premier League survival battle that Wolves won on the last day of the season in the unlikeliest circumstances.
Long-serving former club secretary Richard Skirrow recalls completing the paperwork for Jarvis’s move from Gillingham in 2007 and then running him to Birmingham Airport the next day after realising they were catching the same holiday flight to the Algarve.
Many more of us will remember the starring performances he produced before and after the departure of Mick McCarthy from these parts.
The sight of him flying down one wing and Michael Kightly down the other was one of the many highlights of the 2008-09 Championship-winning campaign and Jarvis’s contribution in the first season back up did much to guarantee that safety was achieved nice and early.
In that crucial March week in which he and his colleagues developed a love for claret, he scored in a 2-1 win at Burnley, impressed in a draw at Villa seven days later and then came up with a fine goal in a midweek win at West Ham.
The blame for relegation in 2012 could hardly be laid at his door either. In a poor side who were destined to finish bottom by a distance, he netted seven times from the start of February onwards.
And his displays in the first week of life back in the Championship – notably with his starring role at Leeds on the opening day – were not those of a man safeguarding the move to West Ham he completed a few days later.
Matt is a much quieter character than Coady and was never seen as captaincy material but he was unfailingly polite, popular in the dressing room and the sort we can expect to hear of being successful in his chosen post-playing career.
Whatever the rewards of his profession over almost two decades, the 35-year-old also attracted much sympathy over the injury problems that dogged him, at Norwich in particular, before a spell on loan at Walsall and then time in non-League with Woking.
He nevertheless totalled more than 400 League appearances, with another 40 or so in the cups.
Conor Coady, with his sights currently fixed on the more intense end of the international spectrum, should comfortably go past those figures – but would have enjoyed having Matt Jarvis as a Wolves team-mate.