Watford are a snapshot of all that’s wrong with the modern game. That along with this headline written in 2012 were the thoughts on many as the Hornets adopted a completely different approach to achieving promotion and staying in the Premier League for years to come. Now Wolves are the latest club to ply a strategy for success, with many tipping the club to be one of the ‘best of the rest since’ their promotion last campaign. They currently sit 7th in the league and are set for a remarkable return to England’s top flight on paper, but should their rise be heralded or should it be deceived as immoral to football in the same way Watford were heavily scrutinised?
Since a club takeover in 2012, the Pozzo family have achieved a play-off final, promotion, an FA Cup Semi-Final and their fourth successive Premier League season without flirting with relegation. They drew attention for all the wrong reasons for their ability to transfer players with sister club Udinese in which the club brought in a total of 14 players in the first season under Italian ownership. This ‘loan loophole’ only really started negative talk once the Hertfordshire outfit were flying high under Gianfranco Zola, with many accusing the Hornets of cheating the system and gaining an advantage. But in an industry where money is on the whole dictative to success, the club simply used their scouting system, which is rated as one of the best in the game to their advantage and have since competed with the very best in English football. Only last weekend did they showcase another promising young talent in the form of Domingos Quina, a 19 year old signed for just £1 million from West Ham.
Wolves in many ways have sparked a bit of unrest among the footballing community. Effectively powerhoused by super agent Jorge Mendes. They have bought players above them in many senses and smashed the Championship transfer record for Portuguese talent Ruben Neves among other players to assist them in dominating the Championship last season. But is there reason for other clubs supporters to be upset when it comes to the Black Country sides dealings? I suppose the ultimate answer is no, even more so when you consider fellow promoted rivals Fulham outspent Wolves as an example.
Wolves have been fortunate to land in the hands of Mendes, they’ve got the financial backing to do so but they’ve also been shrewed and calculated with their operations. Ultimately these players joining at Molineux aren’t forced to join the club and are clearly invested in the project, this is something you can’t discredit. Additionally while they did blow away the Championship with some of their transfers, competitors are still spending big in an attempt to reach the riches of the Premier League, they weren’t alone in that regard.
Does it seem unfair? It does a little, there is no chance some of the clubs even more so in the Championship can compete with this prowess. That being said many clubs have gone big and failed in the second tier so this is certainly not a juggernaut who were guarenteed promotion. Like in 2012 no one batted an eye lid when Watford announced multiple signings of foreign imports. No one really understood the operations of a club who operate entirely differently. It is only when a team starts to pull up trees that the focus gets bigger and so do the moans from outside.
Wolves have encouraged the same level of envy like most teams do when they do well. The sad nature of these type of dealings are more with football than the club itself. A super agent supporting a club is the sign of the uneven keel of football, in the same way that Chelsea and Manchester City have bought their success. Wolves may not have been so savvy in terms of clever thinking as Watford and t is not particularly a romantic story but at the same time they have at least demonstrated that different methods of thinking can be an effective way to achieve success, rightly or wrongly.
What do you make of these thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!