Bull is furious over suggestions that his old club are guilty of being over-physical, along with Bolton, Stoke and Blackburn. We chatted about the state of the game at lunch-time today and Bully growled: “There’s got to be a scapegoat, and Wolves are exactly that at the moment.
“I’ve seen one tackle all season that was a bit late. Karl Henry on Joey Barton two weeks ago. That one deserved a booking. Apart from that, refs have been giving silly little fouls, handing out cards for shirt-pullling and all that. It’s ridiculous.”
Bully, 45, who has a stand named after him at the club, couldn’t resist responding to this morning’s comments from boss Mick McCarthy whose side face a £70,000 FA levy for their recent flurry of cards – they picked up 13 bookings and a sending-off in their last two games.
McCarthy insisted: “We are not dirty. I haven’t got a problem with the way we played in those two games.”
The first of those, a 1-1 draw with Newcastle, saw Barton suffer eight no-nonsense challenges, most of them from Henry. And during last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Fulham, Henry was involved in a tackle which saw Bobby Zamora’s leg broken and Christophe Berra was sent off.
But Bull insists: “Karl is a very, very good steady player. The Gareth Barry of our side. He gets on with the job, plays it safe. He hasn’t got a dirty tackle in him – if anything he’s just clumsy.
“How can Wenger have a go about being protected from bad challenges? You should see my ankles and my knees! He’s got to be back in his little dug-out, stop making excuses, let them play football, calm down again.
“And referees have to let them get on with, let the game flow. I wouldn’t say football’s got too soft. But if you ask any player from the 80s and 90s what it’s all about, it’s a good, hard game but fair. Physical. Like the game against Newcastle.”
Bull played 474 games for the Molineux club, scoring 250 goals and made 13 appearances for England in his time there. He was awarded the MBE for services to football in 1999. And with typical humour he grinned: “It’s a game of chess isn’t it? The big clubs says “watch out for this or that dirty player” and the referees fall for it.
“I don’t think the Premier League is split between rich and poor, teams that can play and teams that have to clump the opposition. Last year we didn’t do that. This year we are playing well again, with a bit of physical presence at well.”
Wolves are at Tottenham tomorrow, and Bull was more than happy to hear even Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has sympathy for the boys from the Black Country.
Redknapp said: "Wolves are competitive, they’ll get amongst us – that’s not unfair. Mick McCarthy's team always are always hard and aggressive, but I haven't got a problem with the way Wolves play.
"They did the 'double' over us last season, they beat us fair and square. They work hard, but that's what they are paid to do, and we will need to pass the ball quickly, with plenty of movement, to open them up.
"They are entitled to play the way they do. Having said that, after tomorrow, I might feel a bit differently about them!"
And boss McCarthy won’t be telling his players any different. Today he added a defence of Henry to yesterday’s tirade. Henry, 27, is under fire for the challenge which broke Zamora’s leg last week but McCarthy said: "It was a fantastic tackle and there should be no blame or any fingers pointed at Karl.
" Bobby knows it wasn't intentional, which is the main thing.
"So it's a case of 'carry on Karl.' He's trained this week and been his usual self. He's fantastic.
"Those that have supported him - great, thanks. And those that tried to whip up a storm should be ashamed of themselves, because Karl really is a very honest player and he didn't deserve that."
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