It has got to the stage now where if you ask Mick McCarthy about ‘the fans’ you get a steely glare and silence, followed by more silence... and more staring.
He gives off a look the likes of which were best crafted by Peter Cushing and Vincent Price on Hammer House of Horrors.
There are probably a million words he’d like to utter but it’s a no win situation.
Damned if he does. As in speak up for the noisy minority who barrack his every team-sheet and substitution.
Every quote manufactured into headlines which seemingly convey a weakness on his part to give in to the masses.
And certainly damned if he doesn’t.. as in speak against them. And when: ‘Mick Slams Supporters’’ appears in the press there’s only ever one winner. These the supporters who mocked Karl Henry, or at least his substitution, against Newcastle and jeered, booed and heckled against Swansea, spitting venomous jibes like zoo animals.
So the weekly ‘locals’ briefing moved on apace. And onto Sunday’s ‘must win’ clash against Wigan. A side with seven successive league defeats which makes Wolves’ point from seven look positively cushy.
In boxing terms they’d make American journeyman Reggie Strickland (66 wins, 276 defeats) look like a prize-fighter.
And it’s on live to the nation.. legally too.
Wigan and Wolves... down among the dead men. Just where they were 12 months ago.
Wolves are actually only a point below their 10-game mark of last year. They sat second-bottom above West Ham and below the likes of Albion (sixth), Blackpool (ninth) and Birmingham (15th). The previous year Burnley had taken 15 points from ten games by November.
But look what happened to them. McCarthy may not want to give cheap soundbites about what supporters can or cannot do to cheer his side on. But he’s also not getting carried away.
And his belief that his side will find out a way out of this current mess remains resolute.
“I reckon we have 12 must-win games, wherever they come from,” he says.
“We won 11 games last year. But Sunday is huge. And without me adding all the pressure onto everybody else by saying: ‘it is a must-win game’ – it is hugely important for us because it is a game against a team that has just lost seven and we have lost six out of seven. I don’t need to stress the importance of it and I’m sure Roberto Martinez doesn’t either.
“It’s the first ten games. The league just keeps changing. Blackpool were ripping it up, Burnley were ripping it up. Swansea and Norwich now look equally as good as Blackpool and Burnley did.
“We have to get back to winning ways and this looks the best opportunity for us – Wigan at home – not discounting them and their role to play in it, but it has got to be our best opportunity. We’ve had a tough time but then if we turn it around like last year when we took seven points out of 12 at the end which sorted it out for us. We’re going to have to find that form again.”
Wolves have played three of traditional top six suring this wretched run and been edged out in every one. McCarthy adds: “The biggest travesty was the Newcastle game, that we didn’t get something out of that, especially when we scored and it should have counted.”