Our Christmas Wish….A New Manager Bounce
Unusual Timing For Launch Of Rescue Mission
This is already a season like no other and, in Wolves’ case, it is becoming a little less familiar still.
Never before has anyone gone into his first match in charge at the club during Christmas week and been preparing for his first League game amid the height of the festivities, although Mark McGhee pitched up in these parts in mid-December, 1995.
But Julen Lopetegui has just taken his Molineux bow and kicked off with a hard-earned victory. Now comes the start of the real stuff at Everton on Boxing Day at a time of year when managerial transition has generally been off the agenda.
The closest the club have ever come to making a change at the helm around Christmas was with two successive appointments early in the new Millennium.
In 2000, Colin Lee was dismissed less than a week before the big day but Dave Jones didn’t take over until the first few days of January, with John Ward proving a safe pair of hands in between.
Then, when Jones was sacked in the autumn of 2004, his replacement Glenn Hoddle was appointed in early December.
November has generally been a busy period for managerial appointments at Molineux, with Lopetegui one of several to have arrived in that month – but the first to immediately then have a planned mid-season break.
Andy Beattie (1964), Bill McGarry (1968), John Barnwell (1978), Sammy Chapman (1985, reappointed), Colin Lee (1998) and Paul Lambert (2016) were all handed the reins in November – probably not too much of a coincidence as October is often viewed as a dangerous time for managers after poor starts to a season.
So it proved this season for Bruno Lage, who was born in May, 1976 – in the very week McGarry was sacked following Wolves’ relegation along with Burnley and Sheffield United.
And we look at his background with Benfica, that of Nuno with Valencia and Porto and now Lopetegui’s background with Spain, Real Madrid and others and we are reminded of the heights Wolves have reached.
They are currently in a pickle in the Premier League, though, so they need what appears to be a dream appointment to quickly turn into the success story we all hope it will do.