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Staale-mate at Molineux - A New Manager Arrives

By Tom Bason
May 11 2012

Wolves seem set to appoint the first non British manager in its illustrious history (If it looks like a Yorkshireman, walks like a Yorkshireman, and most importantly, quacks like a Yorkshireman, then I’m pretty sure Mick McCarthy isn’t actually Irish).

Yet, many Wolves fans will never have heard of Ståle Solbakken (I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve used å in my life). Personally, I vaguely remember him at Wimbledon and playing for Norway, and remember the heart attack story, but never really connecting the two. I take an interest in European football, and so was aware of him being appointed FC Köln manager – I was actually in Cologne earlier in the year, but my main contact there is a Schalke fan, so didn’t discuss the local team a huge amount.

All I am doing is letting you know that 99% of Wolves fans are in exactly the same position as knowing virtually nothing about him. Between the news breaking last night, and this morning I’ve managed to do a little research on him:

Formation: At Copenhagen, on his way to winning three Danish Championships, he definitely favoured a 4-4-2 formation. Yet, upon arrival at Köln, he switched to a 4-2-3-1, possibly to get the best out of Lukas Podolski, the German World Cup star. Podolski finished the season with 18 goals, but Köln were relegated. Stolbakken is likely to stick to a back four, but may be more flexible in the forward positions.

Defence: Stolbakken has always asked his defence to employ a zonal marking system that worked reasonably well at Copenhagen, conceding 129 goals in 165 league games. This is probably an average return for a team winning the league on a regular basis. At Köln though, it was disastrous, conceding 75 goals in 34 games. By way of comparison, we’ll need to concede four on Sunday to achieve the same average goals conceded per game. Zonal marking has its many detractors, but it is without a doubt a system that takes time to get used to. The Copenhagen players obviously did, but the Köln players didn’t.

Fitness: This is a worry. His Köln side got progressively worse through the season (see figure below), conceding a huge amount of goals in the latter stages. We obviously have a specialist fitness coach in Tony Daley, and the work he does with the players this summer could be definitive in deciding our fate this time next year.

Persona: If there’s one thing Solbakken isn't, it’s a firefighter. Had he been appointed in 2006, following the departure of Glenn Hoddle, and the likes of Joleon Lescott and Kenny Miller, he’d probably have failed miserably. Last season, Köln needed someone to add stability – Stolbakken wasn’t that man. IF, and I guess it’s a massive, massive if, there is some degree of stability this summer, Stolbakken can build from it. If there’s not, I fear for him.

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Staale-mate at Molineux
Wolves (IP Logged)
11/05/2012 11:56
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Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2012:06:13:14:28:26 by toomb.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
Risca TM (IP Logged)
11/05/2012 13:48
Well the fitness criticism will surely sting, so hopefully he'll be on his guard and make sure that area of preparation will be spot on.

I see players like Johnson and Zubar are coming across like twerps regarding their quoted 'never heard of him' reactions.

Wtf have they been doing these last weeks while their employer has been seeking candidates for the manager job? What do they talk about? Cheese?

My biggest concern is that player cliques are part of the culture at the Mol and the new man have his work cut out to shift the balance of power back to the manager. Johnson in particular just seems to be taking the p+ss at the moment.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
Badge32 (IP Logged)
11/05/2012 14:11
He won five titles and one cup during his six seasons at Copenhagen which is a great record. He also guided his first club HamKam to the Norwegian first division title and kept them in the top flight for 2 seasons (First season finished 5th) before moving to Copenhagen. Lets not think one bad season with Cologne makes him a bad manager.

Roy Hodgson has done great everywhere he has been Except Liverpool and he is now England boss.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
an angry wolf (IP Logged)
11/05/2012 17:44
Good write up Tom but I think the question on everyones mind is ............. how do you get the a with the little circle on it (Sm56)

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
South Western Wolf (IP Logged)
12/05/2012 11:34
I'm really excited about this appointment. He's relatively unknown and I'm pleased about that, looking forward to hearing next season's fixtures.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
LordThor (IP Logged)
12/05/2012 17:54
One thing you can bet on is he will be determined to make his mark in the English league so effort on his behalf wont be lacking.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
ernesto hunt (IP Logged)
13/05/2012 09:36
Wish the new bloke well - no point in doing anything else. But the point, if true about Spray being sacked before he has been looked over, indicates he has no real authority.

Been thinking about Wolves good start and and catastrophic collapse. An obvious one is loss of confidence but can't really believe that would last so long. Other things are available to blame but would MM have let them go on so long if were visible?

Wolves, and not so long ago, were a 'drinking' club and cost us dearly at many points in the decades gone past. I just wonder if Johnson's drunken appearance at training is not the latest tip of the iceberg that drink is back. These sessions are clandestine and easy to mask given the time on their hands and the gaps between their 'official' Wolves 'work'.

If we have re-imported this debilitating virus, from Brum, with the transfer of Johnson into Wolves it was a bad days work. Contracts should have a clause sown into them like drugs, allowing for mandatory and regular checks. As we descend and contracts are modified, this is surely an opportunity to do so.

Stale - youv'e got two jobs on here - below you . . . players and above you . . . useless @#$%&! Good luck and God help . . . you'll need both!

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
irishwolf (IP Logged)
13/05/2012 10:11
Ernesto, its up to individuals to behave in a professional manner.. if they dont, get them out of the club.
Also the wolves fans will get wind of any players who are pxssheads fairly quickly and will let their feelings be known. Most footballers like a few beers - dont we all but if a player turns up drunk for training he should be placed on the transfer list immediately.
In relation to Tom Masons article above - he seems to be highlihting Negatives over positives. Cologne was a mess long before he took over. Judge him on his achievements and also on how he does at Wolves.
At regards fitness being a possible problem - that is nonsense. As i said on another post Scandanavians can never be accused of taking fitness levels seriously.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
an angry wolf (IP Logged)
13/05/2012 20:24
To be fair I remember you thought Connor was a good appointment irish at the time .. hope ur right about this one.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
LordThor (IP Logged)
13/05/2012 22:20
From the clips i have seen of stale, he doesnt appear to have problems in confronting players, or other managers..hehe
He has a decent track record, so i for one will be giving him the benefit of the doubt and will get behind him.
Its not going to be plain sailing and i think some of the players had better step into line or they might find out how confrontational he can be, and lets face it we need someone who is not going to p##sy foot about.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
irishwolf (IP Logged)
14/05/2012 12:19
You are correct Angry.. I thought that Connor deserved the chance at the time... one Curbs was out of the picture the names being banded about didnt impress me at all - Bruce, Walter Smith etc.
However Connor turned out to be a total disaster.

The main reasons im backing this bloke are
1. It breaks the merry go round of the usual Managers ( who lets face it are all fairly similar in ability) - Megson, Bruce, Warnock, Big Sam etc etc AND
2. The new guy comes across as a no nonsense sort of guy.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
A Happy Wolf (IP Logged)
14/05/2012 12:35
Just picked up the following from the press conference "The job starts now and I will give everything and I will go back to Norway today with DVDs of all 38 games this season to study". Rather you than me Stale!!!

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
irishwolf (IP Logged)
14/05/2012 13:04
LOL at a happy Wolf...
That equates to 57 Hours viewing, I hope he likes popcorn.
Id rather watch the exorcist!

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
Andy Fincher (IP Logged)
14/05/2012 13:45
I was completely underwhelmed by this appointment simply because I didn't know anything about him and still don't know much. He seems to have a good record in Scandanavia but who knows whehter he will do a good job over here. Equally I wouldn't blame him for what happened at Cologne as they seem to be a right mess. I hope he proves to be a good choice and he will get my support. He deserves a chance with a clean slate but I can't get excited about an appointment of which I know so little.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
Risca TM (IP Logged)
14/05/2012 15:07
[quote A Happy Wolf]Just picked up the following from the press conference "The job starts now and I will give everything and I will go back to Norway today with DVDs of all 38 games this season to study".

Someone better put him under a 24-hour suicide watch.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
A Happy Wolf (IP Logged)
14/05/2012 16:34
[quote Risca TM][quote A Happy Wolf]Just picked up the following from the press conference "The job starts now and I will give everything and I will go back to Norway today with DVDs of all 38 games this season to study".

Someone better put him under a 24-hour suicide watch.[/quote]well at least can't pull his hair out!!

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
barmy army wolf (IP Logged)
15/05/2012 19:53
Frigging hell we have a manager that will put effort in a watch the videos that will give him an idea where he needs to improve.... He could drop all the DVD play a bit of prem manager and come on here to hear what we have to say... Would be less painful that way!!

But well done... Stale doing what you get paid for, it's been a while!

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
wolverina (IP Logged)
16/05/2012 15:11
I heard he'd got the job while I was away - I've never heard of him, but then I've never heard of most people under 60! Good luck, to him. (I'll use his name when I can figure out how to type it! (Sm151) )

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
wolverina (IP Logged)
16/05/2012 15:33
Right - I think I can type it - Ståle - now - how do you pronounce it?

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
A Happy Wolf (IP Logged)
16/05/2012 15:42
It's pronounced stoller apparently winking smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012:05:16:17:23:07 by A Happy Wolf.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
wolverina (IP Logged)
16/05/2012 17:15
Yes - thanks, Happy. I've just watched the press conference. I'm a few days behind everyone else.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
petewolf (IP Logged)
26/05/2012 18:19
glad stade's coming back early, 1st of july seemed a bit to late for me, after watching those 38 dvd's he probaly thought he had to(Sm6) lot of work to be done

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
LordThor (IP Logged)
28/05/2012 23:14
The more of his comments i read the more i like this guy, he sounds a do'er, not afraid to get stuck in, is the impression i am getting of him..
I know its premature but im already itching to see what changes he makes in both players and style..
The feeling im getting from other wolves fans is already upbeat and he hasn't even struck a blow yet.

Just hope im not setting myself up for (Sm80) the usual disappointment..

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
horndeanwolf (IP Logged)
29/05/2012 15:55
Lets hope after him watchin all those DVD`s that he will wield the axe on a good few of them.
Hopefully its just a stay of execution for the `dead wood` when hes recently stated he wants to see them on the training ground first....come on Sol dont be shy...get rid!

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
Tired and grumpy (IP Logged)
30/05/2012 05:36
i wonder how much banking morgan will give him? meaning fiancially and who he can sack/sell. its gonna be interesting who he will release. is he gonna have a thing for buying scandanavian playerslike mccarthy had for irish and sunderland players

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012:05:30:05:39:38 by Tired and grumpy.

Re: Staale-mate at Molineux
LordThor (IP Logged)
04/06/2012 16:28
I think it is natural for managers to initially go for the players they are familiar with, a lot of managers initially do this, taking a certain few players to the next club, or buying them when they can afford them etc..
So i would expect to see the same with stale, im sure he has his eye on a few targets, maybe he wont bring them in now, but maybe when he has the money or they are released later on.

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