After a disappointing start to the season; the club being put up for sale; disillusionment towards team performances and fans left worrying over our January transfer policy, chief executive Jez Moxey knew he’d be in for an uncomfortable evening.
As stated previously Moxey relishes the heated exchanges with FP members and in fairness he is open in club matters at almost every opportunity – there’s hardly a question he doesn’t answer.
Some of the main points from the meeting included:
- The number of approaches to buy Wolves from potential owners is into double figures but only a handful were considered to have serious potential.
- Moxey revealed he had seen enough from Steve Morgan to be convinced he wouldn’t consider a u-turn on the sale of the club. Moxey also denied he himself was heading up a consortium to buy Wolves.
- No approach had been made by QPR for Jackett and the club wouldn’t welcome one adding that Jackett had their ‘upmost confidence’.
- Wolves will be looking to do business in January but said that selling players will be considered.
- Moxey also felt that losing Sako, the injury of Dicko and the Afobe transfer saga had been the main factors behind the club’s league position.
- Regarding ticket prices he said he supported the Football Supporters’ Federation’s Twenty’s Plenty campaign but the Football League had no power over the prices set by clubs.
Moxey, who sat before the FP members alongside head of marketing and communications Matt Grayson, was asked what was the current situation regarding the sale of the club.
He said that fans had to be patient with the process of the sale and highlighted how six Midland clubs were up for sale. The chief executive pointed out West Brom as an example who have been on the market for 12 months.
Moxey revealed that Wolves had had a ‘fairly large number’ of approaches to buy the club that was well into double figures. He added that only ‘a handful’ had been serious potential owners and Wolves had been both pro-active and reactive regarding possible buyers.
I asked Moxey about his comments regarding Morgan putting the club up for sale. He had said previously he was ‘saddened’ by the decision but was ‘not surprised’.
He explained that a great deal of pressure came with being the owner of the football club adding: “Steve has reached a point where he has convinced me he wouldn’t change his mind.”
One of the strangest questions, which inevitably came from an internet rumour, was that Moxey was going to be heading up a consortium to buy the club, he clarified it in short, ‘I’m not part of any consortium to buy the club’.
Later in the meeting Moxey was asked any future stadium re-development. He said Molineux was already fit for purpose and any new owner would have ‘other priorities’ ahead of its modernisation.
Members of the Fans’ Parliament asked the chief executive what the transfer policy for the club would be in January considering Wolves were now on the market. He said he expected business in January and that ‘buying and selling players was part of the game’.
A FP member made a strong statement saying if the club went back on their decision not to sell Afobe and build a team around him it would ‘destroy so much goodwill at the club’.
Interestingly Moxey said considering the club’s position (up for sale) everything is up for debate and renewal.
He was was asked what he felt had contributed to the club’s league standing and he gave the view the Sako situation, coupled with the injury of Dicko and the transfer saga of Afobe had played their part.
The point was raised why we weren’t looking for players with pace and power. Moxey explained: “Finding players with pace and power is like golddust.” He continued the club were always on the lookout for pace and power and cited how they captured Dicko for a bargain as an example.
With rumours circulating that Jackett was a target for QPR, the chief executive said there had been no approach and an approach ‘wouldn’t be welcomed’ he added the manager ‘had the club’s upmost confidence’. He referred to a comment Jackett had said previously where he stated ‘Wolverhampton Wanderers isn’t a club you leave voluntarily’.
Following an hour of questions on transfer policy, the club’s sale, the future of the manager and current players Moxey gave his thoughts on the finger pointing aimed at the club. He said: “Someone always has be hung out to dry because it hasn’t worked, that’s the culture we live in.”
The meeting turned onto the price of tickets (something Cry Wolf highlighted in a previous post in November).
An FP member asked Moxey if the club would consider refunds to fans who couldn’t make the games shown on SKY. Predictably he said ‘no’ albeit with a smile on his face.
The Molineux chief was questioned about the £37.50 Ipswich Town had charged Wolves fans and his thoughts on the Twenty’s Plenty campaign.
He said he backed the Football Supporters’ Federation sentiments but said it was more focused on the Premier League. He explained that the Football League couldn’t control club’s ticket prices and that each club was ran like its own business. The only agreement in place was that a club couldn’t charge an away team more than the top price in the home end.
Moxey said he could charge Ipswich fans the same as what Wolves fans were charged at Portman Road but explained he wouldn’t, ‘it wouldn’t be fair to do that’.
I asked him what he could do in his role on the board of the Football League he replied: “If I asked Marcus Evans of Ipswich Town to reduce his ticket prices you can expect what his reply would be?”
Moxey said that Premier League clubs were able to offer initiatives to their fans travelling away – such as free travel to games – because the Premier League gave them £250,000 funding to do so ‘the Premier League has so much money they don’t know what to do with it’, he added.
At the beginning of the meeting the FP was given a presentation of the work the Wolves Community Trust (WCT) does in and around Wolverhampton.
While good to see charity work from the club feeding out into the city and beyond , its timing at the start of the meeting helped to take out the sting of fired up members, read into that what you will.
This meeting was far more boisterious than the gathering in September however the comment about Scott Golbourne ‘looking like a scruff’ and the reason we stock Pringles makes a laughing stock of the whole process.
On many occassions Jez Moxey and Matt Grayson were asked to comment on tactics. While passionate about the club they are not the men to be asking ‘why Afobe taking throw-ins in his own half?’
The men to answer that (Jackett and Afobe) weren’t there and so I reminded the FP of that fact even if it didn’t go well with some members .
Moxey wasn’t given an easy ride at the FP – and neither should he ever be. While he rightly bemoaned a negative reaction to postive acts the clubs do (such as the audacity of charging a few quid for a multi-million pound Wolves museum) he, more than anyone, should know if Wolves fans think something isn’t right they’ll let you know about it.
He addressed this at one point in the meeting saying he had hoped FP meetings would bring club staff and fans closer together but thought some sessions, sometime, might appear as if it left the two parties further apart…perhaps that’s the price to be paid for transparency.