BBC BLOGS - Steve Wilson

Archives for August 2011

McCarthy working his magic at Wolves

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Steve Wilson | 15:40 UK time, Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Two games into the season and very few people will be surprised to see Manchester City and Manchester United sitting at the top of the Premier League table, but who would have predicted Wolves to be the only other side with a 100% start?

Not that manager Mick McCarthy is one to get over-excited. Wins over Blackburn and Fulham would have been greeted by the Yorkshireman with quiet satisfaction and a reminder that it's where Wolves are on the evening of the final day of season, 13 May, that matters.

There are some fairly stringent financial limits at Molineux, but in his five years in charge McCarthy has worked within them but still managed to significantly improve the squad.

I was a bit sceptical as to whether Scottish striker Steven Fletcher was worth £6m when he joined from Burnley in June 2010, but his 12 goals last season proved crucial, particularly towards the end of the season when Kevin Doyle was injured.

Getting Jamie O'Hara from Tottenham, initially on loan last season before signing him permanently this summer, was a masterstroke, and Irishman Stephen Hunt is a real pain for defenders.

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Shades of Shankly in Ferguson

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Steve Wilson | 18:48 UK time, Wednesday, 17 August 2011

This summer I stumbled across a television interview with Bill Shankly. It was recorded in 1976, about two years after he had resigned from Liverpool.

But while most fans know a Shankly quote or two - usually the one about football not being a matter of life and death, but much more important than that - you hardly ever see him on film.

What really struck me about him was just how similar his mannerisms and body language were to those of Sir Alex Ferguson.

It's not just the growling accent or the sharp eyes which dart about and explore the questioner for any hint of weakness, but an aura laced with self-confidence and a surprising degree of physical intimidation given their ages - Shankly was 63 at the time of that interview, Ferguson is 69.

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Ready for the new season

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Steve Wilson | 17:00 UK time, Wednesday, 10 August 2011

After 22 years as a football commentator, the adrenalin still flows ahead of the first game of the season – though last Sunday’s game at West Ham was not much to shout about.

Typical then that when a goal finally came in the 91st minute my microphone broke!

After a break away from the game for a few weeks, I try to keep up with teams as much as possible over the summer to make sure that I am up to speed when the season begins.


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