Funjabi Wolves by Lou Pine
When asked why he was attempting to climb Everest, the British mountaineer, George Mallery, famously replied, “because it’s there!” If Wolves supporters were asked, “Why take 8,800 supporters to Milton Keynes?” their retort may well have been a similar, “because we could!” This positive, plucky attitude could also be applied to The Punjabi Wolves Supporters. It was their vision to create the largest multicultural football supporters club in the world and (unlike Mallery) they have succeeded in achieving their goal. This is my own personal account of my day of dancing with PWS. Sorry Mr Mallery but it was much more fun than trying to climb Everest.
Saturday March 29th was a day of firsts. It was Wolverhampton Wanderers’ first trip to Stadium MK, the first away trip organised by Punjabi Wolves Supporters and the match was ultimately won by the first league goal of Liam Mcalinden’s Wolves career. The day started early with supporters gathering at Jubilee House excited but bleary-eyed. Cooked breakfasts were soon demolished, personalised t-shirts distributed and a few early-morning pints downed. The general atmosphere was one of expectancy. Not necessarily of a resounding Wolves victory but of a bloody good day out.
By 10.15am supporters had all gathered outside the coach to pose for press photographs. Interviews with the main protagonists had been conducted, an impressive banner had been applied to the outside of the coach and our transport had been loaded with the essential ingredients for a happy away day...gallons of beer and a mountain of samosas!
Our destination was The Enigma Tavern in Bletchley, a town famed for being the home of the code-breaking Enigma machine that helped to defeat the Nazis. However, the only decoding that fans speeding down the motorway were doing was trying to pronounce the name of the Polish lager. “I’ll have a Tsk...Tsyk...Tsky...another can of Polish lager, please.”
As we sailed past Fort Dunlop things quietened down slightly as supporters focused their minds on the football quiz, delivered in his own inimitable way by local celebrity Ross Frazer. For those who don’t know him, Ross is a top bloke who does a hell of a lot of work for charity and genuinely doesn’t like to talk about it. He produced a cracking quiz and raffle that raised over £100 for charitable causes and kitted out supporters with pink police hats, biscuits, toy guns and panty liners (to name but a few of the many prizes). As he cracked bad joke after bad joke it appeared that “10k2MK” had turned into “Peter Kay to MK”. Fair play to Ross for being a ginger Bob Geldof and to the winners of the quiz who pocketed a £50 prize.
Delicious samosas were passed down the coach as we sailed past the giant turbines of a wind farm. Collectively we prayed that turbine-turning levels of wind were not going to be unleashed inside the coach by the cocktail of strong lager and Indian snacks. After a couple of stop-offs at services we arrived at our destination to be greeted by a Banks’s sign glistening in the spring sunshine and gold and black as far as the eye could see. Wanderers here, Wanderers there, Wanderers every-flipping-where! The coach was parked and the dhol drum was unleashed to cheers from the pub. What a talent that drummer has. Thousands clapped along during our stay at the pub and then again as we marched to the impressive stadium like some kind of invading army, albeit an army intent on fun, not war.
The dhol has not been allowed inside Molineux but there were no problems with it being taken into Stadium MK and the drummer provided the rhythm for many a chant as the game got underway. As I’m sure you’re all aware, the game was a bit of a damp squib for 80 minutes but the sight of 9,000 Wolves supporters packing out the away end was a sight that brought a lump to the throat. Not since the glorious Play Off final victory at Cardiff have Wolves turned out in such numbers on their travels. When Mcalinden’s strike finally broke the deadlock the scenes of celebration were wild. The dhol continued to provide the driving beat to the soundtrack of celebration as we counted down the minutes to the final whistle.
With victory secured the songs continued as supporters streamed out of the ground and the dhol was the focal point of prolonged Punjabi partying outside the stadium. It was hugs, chanting and smiles all around as we all headed back to the coach and on to our next destination Wolverton to continue the party.
Eventually we clambered back on to the coach and as I settled into my seat, with yet more songs of celebration ringing in my ears, I took a moment to reflect on the day. Wolves winning had obviously contributed massively to my joyous mood but the atmosphere from start to finish had been one of enjoyment and fun. Punjabi Wolves Supporters have set themselves a high bar in terms of providing their members with memorable away days after a sensational first outing. I’m sure that there’ll be trips that won’t be as spectacular, there’ll be followings that won’t be as huge and there’ll certainly be matches when Wolves don’t secure the points in such dramatic style but even on those days, I’m sure that their ethos that football should be a party will be there. Punjabi Wolves Supporters promise that, “We bring the noise, we bring the fun, together we party as one” and on their first outing they certainly delivered on that oath. MK. Done.