Who's afraid of the big bad Wolves?

By Lee Ryder on Mar 31, 11 10:52 PM

And so the day has almost arrived when Wolverhampton Wanderers head up to St James' Park for what can only be described an eagerly anticipated fixture at Gallowgate.

Nobody connected with Newcastle United will forget the reverse fixture in the Black Country back in August when Wolves kicked their way to a point at Molineux with Joey Barton on the end of some rough treatment from a bloke called Karl Henry.

Of course, Wolves' tactics were only 50% successful on the day as they could only yield a point but on a day when referee Stuart Attwell had a poor game in my humble opinion, it could and perhaps should have been a greater success for the Magpies as somehow the home side kept 10 men on the pitch.

I'm a great believer that football should remain a contact sport and that the physical element of the game needs to stay in tact.

Many of the game's modern controversies usually stem from bad tackles, late tackles and potentially career ending tackles to boot (pardon the pun).

Growing up, I always remember the older blokes' reaction on the Gallowgate End to some ref's decisions when it came to tackling with comments such as "He never touched it man" or "Get up and get on with it", but that was in 1980s!

Heaven knows, what they'd make of some of the antics these days.

But as players like Bob Moncur would tell you there's a huge difference between "hard but fair" and near ABH.

In a perfect world, let's keep the tackling tough and competitive but let's also have strong refs who can make the right calls and sort out the well timed challenges and the brutal ones.

At Wolves back in August we witnessed the brutal side of the game.

Weeks later we lost our best player Hatem Ben Arfa to a horror challenge at Man City - it could easily have been at Wolves to a different player.

You have to watch out these days with sides like Wolves, Stoke, Bolton and Blackburn all prepared to use both fair means and foul in the Premier League.

I understand that Wolves cannot spend the millions of a Man United or Chelsea, but nor can Newcastle United and it's quite obvious we haven't needed to call on such a style of play.

That won't stop some teams kicking and screaming their way to staying in the Premier League because the stakes or so high.

Of course the game back in August had the Barton factor in it too.

It's a subject 'm sick and tired of discussing if I'm honest.

Barton's made his mistakes in the past but on that day those errors meant that he was suddenly unprotected from the laws of the game.

Barton's better behaviour this season has slowly resulted in referees making better calls but in August with Newcastle back in the Premier League and Barton back to fitness this injustice was at its peak.

Basically back then, you could almost read the mind of a referee.

Barton is fouled, the ref's instinct then seemed to be: "Yes, a foul - but you've been to prison so it doesn't count."

Wolves come to Tyneside with a dirty reputation - if there's any justice, they'll leave with sweet FA.


Henry Karl said:

You lot were just upset that Wolves were not prepared to be intimidated by Barton. Crying your eyes out because of a few hard and fair chalenges. The one bad challenge resulted in a yellow card. As already mentioned look at the disciplinary table to see that you are a dirty side not Wolves.

On to the game this week. When Wolves win and you are dragged into the mire, will you be calling for Pardews head? Maybe its time for a new Messiah. If King Kev says no, Lord Shearer says no and Ant & Dec say no, will it be time for Denis Patterson.
Auf Wiedersehen Pet.

Black Country Wolf said:

I can understand your feelings regarding Wolves but please forget the past and look towards tomorrows game.
I will agree that Henry does go in too hard and has done so on many occasions but the referee is the one who decides what is fair and what is not, so your anger should be directed at them.
I too remember the old days when tackling was tackling but it was not all fair even then was it? The likes of Reaney and Bremner to name just 2 were hard but fair?
Tomorrows game could go either way with the Toon maybe just favourites but whatever the result, enjoy the game but please leave your anger at home. This is another game and not a return boxing match for a World title!

Matt said:

Wolves have been playing good football and in discipline terms fair well (last time I looked Arsenal were bottom of the fair play league!). Henry made his mistakes and paid for it at Wigan, quite rightly. We've lost a player (broken leg) to a poor tackle. Pretty silly article really stoked up by the BBC coverage after the game. I expect a good game Saturday.

Wolfman Jack said:

From what I recall, Newcastle also picked up a few yellow cards at Molineux back in August so lets not delude ourself that it was one-way traffic. Any club that can field a midfield with Barton, Nolan and Alan Smith in it has clearly prepared itself well for the physical side of the game.

Mal said:

I think you have to be a very biased wolves fan to believe that they didn't set out 'to get' barton in our earlier match.
Having said that Wolves now look a pretty good side to me and they will take some beating tomorrow especially as we are without tiote, best and probably enrique. A lot depends on the crowd getting behind us from the off. Fingers crossed for a win - a defeat would be a disaster.

Blef said:

Henry Karl, it's sad that you have to imitate your classless villa neighbours with the "messiah" jibes. Barton was targeted that day at Molineux, and your namesake is hardly lily-white.

Hopefully we'll take 3 points in style from you today and help you closer to relegation and the league that Wolves belong to, as you are in no way premiership quality.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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