THANK goodness Prince William didn’t turn up – it would have put a right dampener on his marriage preparations.
Our future king, as you may recall, popped into Bloomfield Road for the reverse fixture earlier in the season and was photographed jumping to his feet to applaud a Luke Varney wondergoal as Pool ran out winners.
There was about as much chance of the Seasiders being victorious on Saturday as there is of Willy’s wedding featuring a ceilidh band, a hot pot supper and Roy Chubby Brown.
For reasons hard to fathom, Ian Holloway’s side were simply awful in this fixture.
The nice thing, though, is that I haven’t had to write a sentence like that until now. Given we are 10 games from the close of a Premier League season when Pool were supposed to be on the end of beatings like this every week, that’s an amazing thing to be able to say.
However, the flipside is that when they do throw in a stinker, like this offering at Molineux, it stands out like a sore thumb.
What made it so shocking was the fact Holloway’s men came into the game supposedly high on confidence after the terrific, morale-boosting win over Tottenham a few days earlier.
Erm, what exactly happened to the side which beat Spurs? And what happened to DJ Campbell, usually the most mild-mannered of lads, who has barely picked up a booking in the last two years, let alone shoved someone in the face and earned a red card which has cost him and his team so dearly?
Quite what Campbell was thinking of is hard to say. He was brilliant against Tottenham (and most other teams too this season) and has quite rightly been earning the plaudits.
In his press conference before Wolves, Ian Holloway had waxed lyrical about his frontman, ending a Churchillian-style speech by saying: “DJ for England”.
That’s football. You get compliments when you deserve them. The same, then, should apply with criticism, so here goes: DJ let himself and his team down and was out of order.
Worst of all, what a major blow for the Seasiders to be without him for the next three games.
His goals have been absolutely crucial and he will be a huge miss.
But though Campbell made a mistake, don’t be too harsh on the lad. We all get things wrong. And don’t forget even Sir Charlie Adam was sent off on his debut (v Doncaster, February 2009). Then again he did stamp on Richie Wellens so the Pool crowd didn’t mind too much...
Campbell’s red card summed up what was a horrible afternoon.
In fact I’m quite reluctant to begin this match report because the day was depressing enough as it is – the last thing I want to do is relive it all.
Maybe it’s something in the air in the Midlands, and I don’t just mean pollution and bad accents.
Four times the Seasiders have been there this season (Aston Villa, West Brom, Birmingham, Wolves) and have emerged with the princely total of zero points.
It’s like following Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest, and thank goodness Coventry and Walsall aren’t in the Premier League or else we’d be looking at relegation.
What made it more annoying was that things had started so promisingly at Molineux, with some fine pre-match entertainment of the type we don’t see enough of in football.
A local dance troupe performed a rousing rendition of a number from High School Musical, which, I’m told, is a show popular with youngsters.
As if this excitement wasn’t enough, there were female flame-throwers dancing about on the side of the pitch, waving burning sticks just yards away from the supporters.
Surely a Health and Safety issue, but we’ll let it pass.
It was a little like being at a circus rather than a footie match, but all good fun. Then the match kicked off and the fun evaporated.
You may have seen the story this week about an armed robber in Germany who is suing the police because they arrested him with his trousers around his ankles.
He burst into a bank demanding £200,000 but the police arrived and the would-be robber (a bloke called Phillip Niere) gave himself up.
Unfortunately, as he was being led from the scene his trousers fell down, revealing his underpants (blue boxers with white trim in case you’re interested).
Mr Niere’s lawyer – announcing his client’s lawsuit – said: “What the police have to explain is why he was brought out with his jeans pulled down and his underwear on show. It is clearly a breach of his human rights.”
Another example of the world going mad, but it is coincidence because Pool too were caught with their pants down.
Wolves scored with 111 seconds on the clock, breaking on the right and appearing to catch the entire Seasiders defence out of position with a couple of passes to the left.
The end result was an unmarked Matt Jarvis being given time and space to fire past Richard Kingson.
This was a major blow but seasoned Pool watchers (of which there were plenty, with yet another fine away support on show) weren’t unduly concerned, expecting their team to play some good football and try and get back in it.
But therein lay the problem.
It never happened, neither the good football or the possibility of getting back in it.
Apart from a mis-hit Ludovic Sylvestre corner which almost crept in at the near-post (Pool’s sole shot on target), and Keith Southern not quite reaching a David Vaughan cross which caught on the wind, Pool offered nothing. I tell a lie. Luke Varney – replacing Sergei Kornilenko as early as the 28th minute because things were going so badly – shot wide from the edge of the area.
But that really was it.
Pool did not possess an attacking threat. In the second half they didn’t have a shot.
Mind you, having 10 men didn’t help.
Moments before the break, Campbell tussled with Wolves centre back Richard Stearman on the halfway line. Yes, Campbell was caught from behind, but it doesn’t explain why he reacted as angrily he did – using both hands to shove Stearman in the face.
It was about as blatant and deserving of a red card as you can get.
The whole thing happened yards away from the dugout and one could almost see the look of bewilderment in Ian Holloway’s eyes.
Even afterwards the manager was at a loss to explain why DJ reacted as he did.
Was it past history with Stearman (the pair played together at Leicester), or an off-the-pitch issue?
Who knows, maybe the striker will tell us in time.
What is certain is that it cost the Seasiders dearly, as after the break Wolves used the extra man well and turned the game into a training session.
They went 2-0 up on 54 minutes, Sylvestre’s loose pass allowing Jamie O’Hara to fire in from 20 yards.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake swept in Kevin Doyle’s cross to make it three 12 minutes from time, and then at the death scored again – firing a low, angled drive beyond Kingson.
The full time whistle was a relief to all of a tangerine persuasion, bringing an end to a terrible day.
But this match must be shoved in an envelope and filed under ‘one to forget’. Pool can’t dwell on it, not with massive matches coming up against Chelsea and Blackburn.
Why was Saturday so poor?
Hard to say. Charlie Adam was hugely missed, that goes without saying.
But there were still 10 of the 11 players who beat Tottenham on show and Adam’s replacement – Keith Southern – played more games than anyone else in the Seasiders promotion season last year.
I don’t think there was a reason. It was just one of those rare days when no one plays particularly well and nothing goes right.
And against a Wolves team that had spent all week building the game up as the ‘biggest of the season’, that was always going to spell trouble.
Pool have been so wonderful for the last few years that I think they are allowed to play badly now and again.
The difference is that in past seasons they had matches against the likes of Scunthorpe or Oldham to get it out of their systems.
This year that next match is Chelsea. And that, when you think about it, should be enough to make you put things in perspective and smile again.