The Championship next season looks like a lengthy line of Bullseye contestants who’ve just flunked at the 101 in the six darts challenge and then been presented with the caravan they would have won.
Stale Solbakken may be completely new to the second tier as a manager but he knew he was walking into one of the most fiercely competitive leagues in world football.
Wolves, with four seasons in the Premier League behind them, will be certain to face 17 other teams with previous Premier experience over the last 20 years.
Sheffield United could make that 18 if they prevail in the League One Play-Offs at Wembley Stadium.
The bookies appear flummoxed as to who might prevail. With West Ham and Blackpool as yet exempt from the early odds they make Leicester early favourites, marginally ahead of Bolton, Blues, Leeds and Wolves, ahead of Brighton, Blackburn, Cardiff and Middlesbrough.
But just look at the teams with that Premier League experience behind them: Blackburn (18 seasons), West Ham (16), Boro (14), Bolton (13), Leeds (12), Charlton, Leicester and Sheff W (8), Blues and Derby (7), Ipswich and Nottm Forest (5), Palace (4), Sheff U (3), Watford and Hull (2) and Barnsley, Blackpool and Burnley (1).
Steve Morgan believes Solbakken will ‘bring a steely determination to Wolves’ and 44-year-old Solbakken expects a scrap... but not in terms of the playing style that can be exhibited by Wolves next year.
“I know and understand it’s a very tough league, a marathon, with 46 games but I think it’s a myth that it’s only kick and rush and fighting. I’ve seen stylish teams also in the Championship,” he said.
“Seven or eight managers will have the same aim.
“The style must be suited to the teams. I had three types of teams when I was in Copenhagen. It’s about being flexible. Every coach wants to play in a way that creates chances and brings goals. You will see a different style…that has to be in the Championship.”
Judging by an altercation with Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola in the Champions League in November 2010 – following keeper Jose Manuel Pinto tricking Copenhagen’s Cesar Santin into believing he was offside – there may be more action in front of the dug-outs than on the pitch.
But Solbakken can afford to smile about the altercation now.
“I don’t think that (incident) is usual. I have temperament but I can control it and was never sent off as a player. And I’ve only been sent from the tribune (technical area) once as a coach.”