Is anyone willing to stick up for Mick McCarthy?

by Gavin Caney

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Few could be forgiven for thinking that Mick McCarthy had fielded his Under Eight side and not his reserves at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Following the 3-0 defeat everyone has had a pop at the former Ireland boss. The press, the pundits, his fans and even Arsene Wenger managed to see his wrongs. The Premier League wants answers. Fans want their money back. Is anyone willing to stick up for McCarthy?

Well the answer is yes, and rightly so. Chief Executive Jez Moxey stated that the starting line-up still contained four full internationals, three capped Under-21’s and their current player of the season Kevin Foley. Wolves legend Steve Bull believes fans have to be realistic.

Wolves needed a minor miracle to win at Old Trafford. Surely even the most loyal Molineux regular would understand that. United were coming off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Villa and always bounce back well. A full strength Wolves side would have still needed a lot of luck to get anything from the game. United may have had an off day, these things happen, but you wouldn’t have put money on it.

In the modern game where rotation is the norm, McCarthy shuffled his pack to the extreme. In his eyes, Sunday’s game against Burnley was far more important. This is a game they could and probably should win considering the Clarets’ miserable away form this term. His players will now be fresh, having escaped needless potential for injuries and now as a result have a better chance of getting three points this weekend.

Every manager makes changes. It is impossible to keep the same 11 every week. Few complain when Ferguson sends out Gibson, Brown, Owen and Nani, all of whom wouldn’t usually make his starting XI. Few would have complained had Wolves gone to United and picked up a point with a weakened side.

The travelling support had good reason to be miffed at the team selection. It would feel like a kick in the teeth to travel up north and shell out money to see a second rate team play. Yet come the end of the season, if they survive, they’ll soon forget about their ‘surrender’ at Old Trafford. They visited in hope rather than expectation. Players like Andrew Surman impressed and have now given McCarthy some more options for the long relegation battle ahead.

Other managers would understand what McCarthy did. Wenger would have said nothing had his Arsenal side won at Burnley. If he spent more time sorting out his faltering side and less worrying about who Mick McCarthy picks, maybe they might actually push for the title.

At the end of the day, Mick McCarthy is the boss of Wolverhampton Wanderers. He makes decisions for himself and the club that employ him. These decisions will never please everybody. Yet, if Wolves beat Burnley on Sunday, those in gold and black will be ecstatic. Ecstatic that they have picked up three points from a game they might not have won had his players featured against United on Wednesday.

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  • Bob

    Reading went there last season, got a draw and went down. I take it McCarthy didn’t see that game!

  • Dean

    Whats disgusting is all them Wolves making the trip over and paying for a wasted ticket for a forgone conclusion. Lets not forget if it isnt for the fans there would be no football!

  • Darren

    Good point, Arsenal took 5000 fans to Eastlands for the recent Carling Cup QF, look at what happened then!

    If teams are going to play their reserve teams then surely the fans should get the tickets half price?

  • dexylongshot

    Personally, i wouldn’t give a monkeys toss, Mick picks the team, he’s the guvnor and he looked at the bigger picture and it paid of. Every manager does it, if there is a big game which could make or break a teams season, a lot of managers would do the same. Staying in the premiership for Wolves is bigger than Man U or Chelsea getting to the Champions league final. If Wolves stay up because they got 3 points out of 6 from the last two games, goody gumdrops. He could have lost against Man U & Burnley and took of f’all. He took a gamble and it paid of.

  • Gavin

    I think the win against Burnley was some vindication for McCarthy who looked quite
    taken by the criticism. Football is a squad game. The Wolves fans were singing his name
    at the end – so sure they’ll forget about it quickly.

  • Darren

    Mick McCarthy is one of the few personalities left in the game, not many managers speak their mind and add a bit of humour to the party. Good on him, like said, he made 9 changes for Sundays game and no one said a thing!

    I still think they’ll go down along with Burnley and West Ham

  • Nick

    At the end of the day Mick’s got to account for his team. If United win the title by 1 or two points he doesn’t care and shouldn’t. At the end of the day survival is a key. 9 points from a possible 12 for a relegation threatened team is vital.

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