Tuesday 12 December 2017

Saunders takes Wolves reins after Luton shock

LUTON TOWN 1 WOLVES 0 Michael Calvin

Stale Solbakken faced the firing squad without a blindfold. He stood alone, his gaze firm and his voice steady. His candour was compulsive, and cautionary for his successor as manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"I know there are stories going around," he admitted. "Things are against me. It is impossible to defend.

"I can only do the job as I see it and feel it. For the culture of the club to change, the people within it have to go in the same direction.

" There are a cocktail of different problems to solve."

Wolves sacked him with revealing callousness, minutes later. He received a text from owner Steve Morgan, confirming his fate, as he conducted the last in a series of confessional interviews with Norwegian television.

Morgan and his chief executive Jez Moxey, paid £1m a year to run a club with Premier League pretensions and infrastructure, cannot afford to make another wrong decision.

Sacking Mick McCarthy last February was a calamitous error of judgement. Solbakken struggled for credibility and failed to engage a group of self-regarding senior professionals who have yet to adapt to the reality of relegation. Saturday's defeat at Luton Town was grimly predictable.

Dean Saunders, whose candidature was being promoted quietly before the game, was last night appointed Wolves new manager.

The choice of Saunders, who had been in charge of Doncasrter Rovers, will be hugely unpopular with Wolves fans as he is former Aston Villa player.

Luton, meanwhile, must deal with the consequences of success. They have failed in the Conference play-offs for the last three seasons and desperately require the momentum shift of a return to the Football League.

They play the first of four games in hand tomorrow, at home to Barrow.

"Our club has a huge history and heritage but we are where we are," said manager Paul Buckle.

Alex Lawless was the match winner with a well-taken volley within seconds of the restart after half-time,

Kevin Doyle missed two good chances for Wolves either side of Luton's goal, while Jamie O'Hara went close during the nine minutes of injury-time. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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