KATIE AND THE WOLVES
We’re loving Walter Zenga, Zenga, Zenga he’s gonna take us to the Premier, the Premier, the Premier and that’s the way we like it, we like it, we like it, and now we fucking love it, we love it, WE LOVE IT.
Growing up, Katie was a Wolves fan. This was no secret. It was plastered over her orange and black sunglasses. Stitched into her knee high socks. Crying out from the satin letters on her bandana. This was serious business. This was going out into a group of teenagers, all desperately trying to fit in with each other, on every Mufti day, in a head to toe Wolverhampton Wanderers football kit time and time again until the age of 18. Like a mascot heading out into an audience who weren't best equipped to appreciate it.
"Wolverhampton Wanderers became a big part of me from about the age of 5 when my step-father entered my life. He had been a lifelong Wolves fan, one side of his family coming from Wolverhampton. He’d tell me stories about going to visit his Gran and she’d be sat having tea with one or two of the players, which for him was amazing. He’d always watch live matches when he could, and used to have a Wolves shirt signed by his favourite player, Steve Bull, hanging on the wall in his flat. So, I guess when he met the small, blonde haired girl running around playing football in her back garden, introducing her to a football team was the only way forward.
I can remember how excited I used to be seeing him and asking how Wolves had done that week. I can remember at one point getting a little confused and thinking he played for them! I didn’t really understand much about football back then – I wouldn’t start properly playing myself for a couple of years. But I could sense from him the excitement and thrill of supporting a team, and I wanted to be a part of that. So Wolverhampton Wanderers became “my team”.
The real excitement for me began when I was about 7/8, and he and my mother purchased me my first season ticket. For years I would go with him every other Saturday up to Molineux stadium to watch them play. The atmosphere walking up to the ground, and inside the stadium was infectious. Your whole body vibrated with anticipation and eagerness before the start of the match, joy, sorrow and anger during the match, and afterwards, and exhausted mix of contentment and the overall reaction to the day’s game.Over the years, I owned so much merchandise. Shirts, calendars, hats, boot bags, beanie babies, sunglasses, scarves, pens... the ringtone on my phone became “The Liquidator”... It was a part of me.
In my teenage years, attending an all girl’s secondary school meant I found myself as a bit of an oddball. Most – not all! – of the girls were not interested in football. Especially not with the same passion and love I had for it. I became known as “the football one”. I had a Wolves lunchbox, played football in the gym or out on the field most lunchtimes – even pushed for a football club to be set up at school to try and get more girls into playing, which I was lucky enough to help a teacher run one lunchtime a week. On non-uniform days I guess it became “expected” that I would be sporting some form of Wolves memorabilia – usually a shirt and/or hat. On the very rare occasions I didn’t wear anything like that, it was commented on! Indeed, 6 years after leaving the school, I secured a job there, and the first thing one of my old Biology teachers said when she saw me was, “Katie! Two things I remember most about you – football, and WOLVES!!!”
Supporting the team meant everything to me during those years. The fans were always fantastic, so supportive and excitable – true football lovers. The energy of being a part of that was so infectious. Wearing the kit whenever I could was a way of showing people how much I loved the team, and how proud I was to be a supporter, no matter how we were doing in the tables. I wanted to show I was a part of something awesome. All of my family loved the team, my younger siblings sported all the wolves kits too. Even now, I can’t hear the song “Hi Ho, Silver Lining” without mentally changing the chorus to “Hi Ho, Wolverhampton!” I’ll never forget the smell of the pre-match pies, and the hunger for the half time Mars bar, the walk through Wolverhampton park towards the stadium looming over the houses... though life has meant I can’t follow them like I used to, I’ll always have a soft spot for them, and will never forget what supporting them gave me and made me feel."