Following A Familiar Pattern
Wolves Still Looking To Foreign Fields
For almost 70 years, Wolves appointed only English managers. Now, for a decade and a half, they have exclusively installed men either born beyond our border or at least those who pinned their colours to another flag.
The football affiliations of the club’s bosses since Glenn Hoddle departed in the summer of 2006 makes increasingly cosmopolitan reading – Ireland, Norway, Wales, Wales, Italy, Scotland, Portugal, Portugal and now Spain.
Most will remember Mick McCarthy as the first of that group but well done if you worked out that Watford-born Kenny Jackett was the second of the two entries bearing the Welsh dragon.
He was followed into office by Walter Zenga, whose arrival five and a half years ago at the start of the Fosun era marked the adoption of a more global outlook; one briefly launched amid considerable flaws by the move for Stale Solbakken in 2012.
Such has been the transformation in culture that it would now be a surprise if Wolves ‘stayed at home’ in choosing a head coach.
True, the Molineux board recently looked hard at Londoner Michael Beale but their strong Iberian connections ultimately stood firm with the renewed and ultimately successful pursuit of their no 1 choice, a man we are due to see in the stands at Saturday’s home game against Arsenal.
Just as a certain Portuguese/Spanish nucleus has developed on the field in the last few years, so it has in the dug-out, too.
Whether the club may have missed a trick in the summer of 2021 by going for Bruno Lage when Eddie Howe was between jobs and available is perhaps an argument for another day.
Clearly, though, the influence of super-agent Jorges Mendes remains strong at Molineux, so those who perhaps wondered whether the balance of power was set to shift away from the tourist-trap peninsula with the brilliant Ruben Neves thought to be in his final year here and age seemingly catching up at last with Joao Moutinho, are having to think again.
We can only assume that Julen Lopetegui has not signed up here without guarantees of major funding for players in January, so more signings from Spain and possibly Portugal post-World Cup are surely on the cards.
In wishing the 56-year-old former La Liga keeper all the very best in his efforts to prevent 2022-23 becoming a prolonged battle for Premier League survival at Molineux, we round off by highlighting another trend with Wolves managers and head coaches.
Four of their bosses from the last 30 years had international management on their CVs when they were interviewed for work in these parts, namely Graham Taylor, Hoddle, McCarthy and now Lopetegui.
Not as they were trail-blazers in that regard. Andy Beattie and Tommy Docherty both managed Scotland before they were appointed here some 20 years apart.