Saturday evening’s draw with Newcastle United, the passing of club stalwart Graham Hughes and Ruben Neves’ brilliant header were just some of the topics discussed on the latest episode of Matchday Live Extra.
Joining Mikey Burrows was co-commentator and former-Wolves full-back Andy Thompson, as well as regular pundits in the form of ex-old gold players Carl Ikeme and Chris Iwelumo, who analysed the Premier League tie at St James’ Park.
Also joining the panel were special guests including former Newcastle goalkeeper Shaka Hislop and legendary Wolves striker John Richards, as the team discussed Fabio Silva coming close to snatching the points as well as 25 years of the Show Racism the Red Card charity.
On paying tributes to the late Graham Hughes
Richards said: “If he was a footballer, you’d have called him a utility player, because he could do anything and everything he did, it did it well. ‘Mr Molineux’, I would call him.
“It’s been a very sad loss, but what a man Graham was and what a life he had. I honestly don’t know anyone who had so many friends and was loved by so many people. Whoever came through the door at Molineux, whether you were on the playing side, the admin side, in the accounts, coaching – he got on with everyone and was living his dream, and would do anything for anyone at the club.
“Everybody loved him at the club, whatever job you had, and he was very much a central part of the Wolves family. It’s a sad loss, but you have to celebrate his life because he loved every minute of being part of Wolverhampton Wanderers.”
Our Graham. Forever a part of Molineux.— Wolves (@Wolves) February 26, 2021
On starting the same team for three consecutive games
Iwelumo said: “It’s a settled team at the moment and that’s fair based on the recent performances and the results. We’ve been ticking along nicely, kept a clean sheet and getting a goal in the last game, so it’s always moving forward, small steps and progression.
“We’re all in agreement that we’re going through a transitional period, and it’s great to have Jonny back, he’s getting stronger and stronger and Semedo’s getting his place and understanding his responsibilities that come with that.
“You’ve also got that dynamic of whether Adama is going to be on the right and Neto on the left, but that is something that can maybe change a couple of times through a match depending how things play out. But I feel there’s a great balance at the minute.”
On another 1-1 draw with Newcastle
Iwelumo said: “We finished the first-half so strong that the half-time whistle probably came at the wrong time. At half-time, you’re all talking, giving each other information, you’ve got a bit of a buzz and you just want to get back out there again.
“But we never started the second-half with that same intensity, and we got punished. Newcastle have some very talented players who will punish you, and they did. But we reacted once again. How many times have we come from behind and put one or three points on the board? It’s been too many. Rather than react, we need to try and get that first goal, which gives us more confidence to play the way we do.”
Ikeme added: “The intent was probably with us more in the second-half, although I don’t think we worked their goalkeeper enough, in all honesty. That would be my number one criticism. But Saiss, what a clearance he made at the other end. I suppose there might have been an argument that 1-1 was a fair result today, although I do feel that we had chances in the second-half.”
So close to being all three 😫 pic.twitter.com/APqRHOBxjz— Wolves (@Wolves) February 27, 2021
On coming close to winning the match through Silva
Ikeme said: “It was a great chance at the end, but a fantastic save you have to say as well from their goalkeeper. I’ve just watched it again and he’s reacted to it. It was a little shoulder one.
“It was a fantastic chance, a fantastic save. But it’s one of those games where Nuno will probably be going in quite pleased with the performance, if not the result. Results don’t always go your way, but there were some really good individual performances.”
Iwelumo added: “He didn’t know what was going on, it just hit his shoulder! But Fabio Silva has done everything right there, he’s hit the target, and that’s all you can ask.”
On Ruben Neves’ headed equaliser
Thompson said: “We’ve said we want to see more goals from him, and he’s starting to do that. He’s getting more up the pitch, he’s starting to get into the box, and he’s getting on the end of things. We knew he could do it, and he’s proving that he can. Just by being more confident and getting into the penalty area, he’s going to add more goals, because he’s got so much quality.
“It was a brilliant header. It was a good ball from Neto, but it’s just behind him and he’s had to get the direction right, he’s had to put it into the bottom corner and he’s just timed his run to perfection.”
Iwelumo added: “Neves has once again been breaking his neck to get into the box. Something we’ve been quite critical of is how deep he’s been playing. But what a header that is. He’s went in and having to work his feet. He’s behind it but he’s been able to get the direction on it. There was a lot of power on the cross and there was a lot of power on the header.”
On 25 years of Show Racism the Red Card
Hislop said: “It all started when I first joined Newcastle a long time ago, some 25 years ago. I’d received some racist abuse late one night outside St James’ Park when I was filling up my car with petrol. I was there with my wife and a group of youths were shouting racist abuse at me, and as they got a bit closer, one of them recognised who I was, and they started chanting my name.
“I thought that spoke about the duality of who we are as black footballers. From 50 yards away, you’re only worthy of the most vile racist abuse, but up close, they want your autograph.
“I spoke to Ged Grebby about that experience, how it made me feel and what could be the response to it, and Ged was the one who came up with Show Racism the Red Card, where we’d give talks around the north-east about our own experiences of race and racism. What started off as myself and teammates giving back to our community, has turned into the largest anti-racism charity in the UK.
“I look back on the last 25 years and what we’ve achieved with Show Racism the Red Card with a lot of pride. Not that I thought I’d still be talking about it some 25 years later, but recognising the work that’s gone on, I’m very proud of it.”
To rewatch the latest Matchday Live Extra show from Saturday, click here.