Wolves FanZoner Karl Sears gives his five reasons to be cheerful as they look for an immediate return to the Championship.
The title of this piece may strike you as odd. You may realise that it is grammatically correct, but lexically peculiar. Putting the words 'Wolves' and 'cheerful' in the same sentence felt unusual, and is certainly something that I haven't done in the last five years, but it just felt...right.
Yes, I know we're playing at a level below Yeovil Town, and I know that League One is not where we want to be, but let's forget the negatives for a while.
So, I'm going to place myself in the position of the optimist, keeping in mind the chance that this article may come back to haunt me, and present to you five reasons to be cheerful.
1. Leigh Griffiths - Now, I'm not saying that he's a great man and I'm not saying that I'd like to go for a drink with him, but I've never been more excited to see a player start the season in a Wolves shirt. His goalscoring record in Scotland has been exemplary and he is a player who will be playing at a level some way below what he is used to. His touch, vision and anticipation will be wonderful to watch, he scores goals from anywhere on the pitch and looks as if he will bring some life back in to a sedate Molineux. His pre-season has been impressive and his goal against Chesterfield showed us why he was the top scorer in the SPL last year. It remains to be seen how long we can keep hold of him if he hits the heights I expect him to, but I'll enjoy it while I can. I think this man will be the difference maker for us next year and should be aiming at 25+ goals. Minimum.
2. Kenny Jackett - My initial scepticism aside, he seems to have brought back some good feeling to club. His experience of compiling a competitive squad at this level will be invaluable as the season progresses and should see us come good next May. Crucially, he has the backing of the fans, and as long as he can get his team to realise the potential they embody, this could be the start of a long and happy period for the club. Pre-season results have been good, let's hope that they can continue into August.
3. The youngsters - Thus far, there haven't been too many comings and goings, but does that matter? Wayne Hennessey is back in the fold and the arrival (so to speak) of Leigh Griffiths will have the impact of new signings. The academy has promised a lot for a long time and this could be the year that they cement themselves in the first XI. Danny Batth, Jake Cassidy, Anthony Forde and Jack Price are all players that can find their feet at this level and become genuine assets. Let's not forget that our U21 side finished above Chelsea, Fulham and Manchester City and played in the Elite Group Stage of last season's Premier League U21 competition. The future looks bright down at the Molineux.
4. Out with the old - This transfer window has been, and in some cases will be, the end of the road for some old faces. The likes of Karl Henry, Christophe Berra and Sylvan Ebanks Blake go with my blessing, and a bit of a heavy heart. Sure, it's time that they were moved on, but they remind me of the Championship winning season - a fine time to be a Wolves fan - so for that reason I'll look upon them fondly, the same applies if Stephen Ward and Kevin Foley move on. But along with Roger Johnson and Jamie O'Hara, they became part of the club's losing mentality and the ill-feeling that has descended over Molineux over the last few years. Kenny Jackett seems keen to bring in the youngsters: it will be his team next season, not a tribute to managers gone by.
5. Will we win more games - Well, we will ... won't we? We must do. I know that I said that last year and we had a truly awful season, but this year is 20+ wins out of the question? I don't think so. A lot depends on injuries, something we were afflicted by terribly last season, but I will, for once, stick my neck out as a ray of sunshine and say: We're going to get promoted. I consider myself a pessimist when it comes to sport, and this has often proved to be the correct state of mind to be in, but this year will be different ... in a good way. Roll on August!
By Karl Sears, FanZone's Wolves blogger. Follow us on Twitter at @FanZone too!