‘How will Wolves do?’ is one of the more intriguing questions as we approach the start of the Premier League season. After a Championship campaign where they were rarely troubled on their way to 99 points (let’s ignore the final day capitulation to bottom club Sunderland), will their frequently mentioned Portuguese links catapult them into the top half of the top tier and the edge of European contention – or, as is the case with so many promoted clubs, do they face an uphill struggle just to finish 17th?
It’s often said “it’s the hope that kills you” – a phrase usually applied to football. Fans spend weekend after weekend following their team up and down the land, knowing more often than not, failure will triumph over success. Indeed, no club in English football history has ever had more ups than downs, even the successful ones. Despite the three post-war top division titles won by Manchester City, they suffered seven relegations in that period. Chelsea had to wait fifty years between their second and third league championships. Manchester United fans have had to watch Louis van Gaal wage a one-man war to suck all the entertainment out of the game, culminating in a ten match run at Old Trafford earlier this season in which his team only scored two goals before half-time. The ups and downs are all relative, of course – United’s biggest ‘down’ would be higher than the biggest ‘up’ for the majority of teams – but for fans, these are ups and downs nonetheless.