“I’m not Merlin the Magician,” – Mick McCarthy’s first words to the media as Wolves’ new manager back in summer 2006. In the intervening five-and-3/4 seasons; he has regularly been serenaded with chants of ”Super Mick, Super Mick, Super Mick McCarthy” and eventually was dubbed ”Merlin Mick,” the magician who changed around the fortunes of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.
After what has proven a difficult 2011-’12 season, culminating in a 1-5 Black Country home defeat to West Brom last weekend; Mick’s time at Molineux has run out. This observer had personally started to feel ”Does Mick really need this any more?” and I was hoping that he’d have seen the club to Premier League survival before stepping down at the end of the season. The Wolves board, however, were no longer prepared to wait.
The football-watching public are set to be entertained by Mick’s punditry ability in the near future, though one imagines his love of the game will indeed see him “pop up” at another football club (or national team) sooner rather than later.
Mick brought more than a tinge of green to his Wolverhampton Wanderers tenure with some 12 players in first team and reserve squad hailing from the Republic of Ireland and, at one point or another, there were 21 players from the Emerald Isle employed at the Old Gold club during McCarthy’s 70 months in charge. During his time at Wolves, he ensured that pre-season every second season was spent in Ireland as a “Thank you to the people and clubs here who have helped my teams so much.”
Mick’s greatest moments as a player of course came in the green of Ireland, leading his country to the quarter-finals of a first ever World Cup in 1990 His highlights as a club manager at Wolves will include taking them from the lower reaches of the Championship to Premier League promotion as champions – on a relatively small budget.
Having packed up his bags and baggage; McCarthy personally thanked every member of staff at Molineux, with many players tweeting how sad they were to see him go. Photographers and journalists waiting outside the ground were greeted by Mick (who was no longer contractually obliged to talk to the media), with everyone shaking hands with the Barnsley-born Irishman, before the 53 year-old sped off with a tear in his eye. Classy to the last; the world of top level football will be a poorer one without you Mick.