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Molineux - Wolverhampton Wanderers
Vs West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Sunday May 8th 2011, 12noon

By Kurt Jacob

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
 
A local derby where we could effectively relegate our local rivals! Unfortunately it did not materialise.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
We travelled by coach but due to our status of local rivals, we were greeted to four-letter chants, two fingered salutes and a young man mooning at us! We arrived about 45 minutes before kick off at a coach park about 5-10 minute walk from the ground and due to the hostility WBA receive, we received a police escort into the stadium. There were taunts by both sets of fans to each other over the police divide. We sat in the Steve Bull Lower (formally the John Ireland stand) which runs down the touchline however I am informed for clubs with a lower following they are situated in part of the Jack Harris (South Bank) stand behind the goal to our left.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
 
All bars in the city centre and surrounding area were closed due to the intensity of the match.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
 
Once inside the ground, the concourse is like an old subway and is very dark and dingy. Due to the nature of the match no alcohol was on sale. We then took our seat in the JL8 section, about level with the edge of the penalty area at the South Bank end. I was concerned to learn that Wolves fans were situated directly above us in the Steve Bull Upper as I felt that things may be thrown at us from that area.
 
The stadium itself is quite unique with it’s extremely bright orange look. Both stands behind the goals are large single tier stands and the two other stands are curved two-tier stands allowing for a very good view of the pitch even though you are quite far back from the pitch. In the far-left corner there was a temporary stand. The opposite two-tier stand houses the players tunnel and benches.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
 
For a two bottles of Coca-Cola, two hotdogs and a packet of crisps it cost approximately £11. The banter in the stadium was mainly good fun however there were one or two idiots on both sides of the divide behaving inappropriately.
 
Before kick off there was a rendition of ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ in which the home fans sing ‘Hi Ho Wolverhampton’. The away fans sang their version which unfortunately can not be repeated for this review!
 
The first half was a disaster from our point of view, conceding two sloppy goals from corners scored by Steven Fletcher and Adlene Guediora. It was a must win game for Wolves to help them avoid Premier League relegation however we were already safe after Roy Hodgson had masterminded a fantastic end of season run.
 
At half time there was some entertainment with fans shooting at the goal and more friendly banter between the fans.
 
Within three minutes of the restart it was more disaster for the Baggies after a defensive error by Abdoulaye Meite let Steven Fletcher in to score a third. As the Wolves fans above us cheered, one threw the contents of a drinks bottle over us which prompted no reaction by the club stewards, even though earlier in the game a West Brom fan was warned for sticking fingers up to opposition fans. Minutes later, Albion won a penalty which Peter Odemwingie converted. Jerome Thomas hit the crossbar and another couple of chances went begging as Wolves deservedly won 3-1.
 
Another major gripe was that Wolves fans had, like the reverse fixture, smuggled a flare into the stadium. It took stewards five minutes to get the situation under control, once again prompting my accusation of the club not taking the crowd trouble situation seriously. Thankfully it was not thrown.
 
On a lighter note, there was some taunting and great banter by the majority of the the genuine supporters of both clubs with some Wolves fans doing the ‘Poznan’ which was painful as a Baggie to watch.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
When leaving the stadium, the police had an extremely successful and effective set up directing visiting supporters up a road away from home supporters and the stadium and that must be commended. Some fans did confront each other and a couple of arrests were made. All genuine away fans were given plenty of protection and time by the police to clear the area.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Poor game from our point of view and an extremely disappointing result. The club need to look at its stewarding and the position of away fans. I am not pinning all of the blame on Wolves as there was some poor behaviour by our fans but the poor organisation and reaction of the stewards just adds fuel to the fire. I am not condoning the behaviour of some supporters of either side but putting away supporters underneath home fans in a two-tier stand in a derby voted the most fierce in Britain, above the Old Firm, is just idiotic.

 

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