Michael Kightly was confident that Wolves were set for promotion during the pre-season of the 2008/09 Championship campaign after coming close during the previous seasons under Mick McCarthy.
The winger talks about that title-winning campaign, including why he was so confident of promotion and why it took a couple of seasons of McCarthy to turn Wolves into the force to beat in the second tier, as part of the second instalment of the Big Match Revisited.
Kightly is one of several stars from Wolves’ 5-1 win over Nottingham Forest – scoring two of the goals – early in the 2009 promotion campaign, as he reflects on the emphatic victory with Mikey Burrows and teammate Chris Iwelumo.
Supporters can catch the feature at 8pm on Monday on Wolves’ official YouTube channel, with the likes of Karl Henry and Kevin Foley also joining Kightly in looking back at a game which started the club’s rise to the Premier League.
On his celebration against Forest
“It was Usain Bolt! I remember I had a couple of friends come up from Essex to watch the game and we were going to go out in Birmingham that night, and they said if I score, they want to see a celebration.
“They decided on that celebration, so I did it! I don’t know what came over me!”
On being confident on promotion in pre-season
“I wouldn’t say it was an arrogance because we weren’t like that, but I felt we just had that belief that we could score goals whenever we wanted.
“The thing was, I’d been there a couple of seasons before and we’d come close a couple of times, losing out in the play-offs, but with ‘Lumes’ [Chris Iwelumo] and ‘Blakey’ [Sylvan Ebanks-Blake] up front, we knew they were always going to get a bagfull of goals.
“We knew ‘Jarvo’ [Matt Jarvis] was going to progress, I was progressing, and everyone was just progressing at the right time and I felt that we were in a right good physical state as a squad.
“We were strong, we were hardworking, and we had pace in the team and literally had every part of the game that we needed, and I felt that if we could keep everyone fit then we would go on to do well.
“Of course, the start of the season that we had was unbelievable. We went something like eight games unbeaten before we lost one and then went another eight games unbeaten.”
On having to wait until 2008/09 to be promoted
“Jarvo came in and he had a hernia and groin problems, I picked up an ankle injury, so it was a bit frustrating, but I still thought we were probably still a striker missing.
“We needed a target man and ‘Vokesy’ [Sam Vokes] came in, but he was only about 17/18 at the time, so we were still missing that target man, but when Lumesy came in it just felt that it clicked.”
On receiving praise from McCarthy
“Little things that managers would come out with in interviews would give you so much confidence and I think Mick was good at that.
“I would read things or hear things that he would say, and it would fill me with confidence and I just felt a belief from Mick and that helped me in the next games coming up.
“I think he was like that with everyone as everyone I speak to who played under Mick feels that from him and that’s why we did so well.”
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