The potential takeover of Wolves has been the all consuming saga of Wanderers fans’ summer – amazing to think speculation only began just a matter of days ago.
For our club to be purchased by a billionaire Chinese man (Robin Li) who can offer us the financial might to match the elite of Europe, sounds something even too fictitious for the likes of Football Manager or FIFA and yet we could be days away from this reality.
Add into the mix the front runner to become manager (Julen Lopetegui) rejecting approaches from the Spanish FA for life at Molineux and the storyline make’s Sean Bean’s ‘When Saturday Comes’ look believable.
Rumour and speculation is rife and the already highly unstable rationale of Wolves fans on social media has now gone beyond the stage of an erratic drunk uncle at a wedding.
And while all this has been going on, what has been said from the club?
Initially when Spanish newspaper Marca broke the story of a buyout and the installation of Lopetegui as manager it is understood the club flatly denied anything was going on and that it had no substance.
However as the days went by, speculation grew and Sky Sports’ Guillem Ballague become the overlord of the Wolves Twitterati by tweeting snippets of inside information based on his links to Spanish football sources.
By now (June 29th) the club had to respond and in a wishy washy statement the following was put out by the club.
Wolves Chief Executive Jez Moxey has this afternoon responded to media speculation relating to a possible sale of the Club.
Jez said: “We know there is ongoing public speculation surrounding the potential sale of Wolves to new owners.
“Following the decision to make Wolves available for sale last September there has been a lot of interest from a number of different sources around the world.
“At this time, and as I’ve said before, whilst there is ongoing dialogue there is nothing we are able to report.
“We’d like to thank all Wolves fans for their support and patience.
“When we have an update we will give it as soon as is practicable but until then any rumour and speculation is simply that.”
An amazing piece of sorcery to speak for five paragraphs yet not say a single thing.
Ok that’s may be harsh, but it wasn’t so much as what WAS said but more than what WASN’T. No public backing of Kenny Jackett or flat denial of talks, it was the classic play down and if anything only fuelled the rumours.
But since those few words were published by the club there has been nothing but silence out of Molineux even as speculation has intensified and bookies have slashed the odds on Wolves gaining promotion.
And while everyone is in a haze of intoxication and day dreaming what a takeover could mean to the club the sobering reality is we still have a squad that struggled to get top half for much of last season.
Surely now is the time the club addresses some of the answers that fans – as well playing staff and coaches – have been left in the dark about.
Here are four reasons why Wolves need to end their silence.
- The manager’s position.
Poor Kenny Jackett. The dignity the man has shown in light of speculation has to be commended. For a man to have picked Wolves from off their knees and at least stabilised us as a Championship club (with limit funding) you would think he would be afforded the respect from the hierarchy.
Apparently not. Jackett revealed to the Express & Star that he wasn’t sure as to the details of the takeover speculation which if true would see him lose his job and with an air of resignation has got to the point of ‘what will be will be’.
The man (who very realistically could be at the helm come the start of the season on August 6th) didn’t even know if he would be taking his squad on a pre-season tour. He has also spoke how he has been unable to make signings due to takeover talks and as a result has made a solitary acquisition- Andy Lonergan on a free transfer.
Should the takeover collapse it would keep Jackett as the man steering the ship. But what damage has been caused when you can’t make improvements and you’ve woke up every morning believing it could be your last day in the job?
It may have been done privately but publicly Jackett is a deadman walking. How can Wolves fans get over the anti-climax of a billion pound takeover collapse and whole-heartedly support Jackett if for weeks he had been resigned to history?
The club needs to publicly clarify his position even if to encourage fans to get behind our head coach regardless.
- Player unity
You’re a footballer at Wolves and all of a sudden people are talking about you being replaced by a multi-million pound signing with Champions League experience. How would that do for the confidence?
Without question chitter-chatter of a takeover will have players in the current Wolves squad looking at their part to play and this can’t be good going off the back of a demoralising season like last year.
Again whether these matters have been spoken about privately is yet to be known however Dave Edwards comments to Sky Sports News suggest the players are in the dark as much as the fans.
Kevin McDonald is already on his way out and no doubt with the frame of mind ‘I’ll jump before I’m pushed’, but who could be next?
Many of us have worked jobs where you face uncertainty, we all talk, we all talk about options, it’s human nature. So don’t think for one minute that the dressing room gossip doesn’t reflect the takeover talk too.
Once more, a publicly showing of clarity could calm fan expectations of Cristiano Ronaldo taking James Henry’s number 7 shirt (a genuine tweet by the way) and give the players the backing that they are to take us into next season.
While Wolves have gone with the ‘ignorance is bliss’ tactic for speculation the truth is fewer people are interested in their mega store deals, website maintenance or sponsorship deals (ignoring Money Shop) than ever before.
Why? Because there is only one piece of news Wolves fans want to hear right now and that is ‘takeover complete’.
It is clear from comments made to me from fellow supporters and those online there’s a hardcore number of people who aren’t willing to hand over cash to the club until they know what type of club they will have in the upcoming season.
For the most, if it is the drab football of last year and the continuation of the frustrating fan-board relationship then those pounds, shilling and pence will not be heading towards the Molineux coffers.
And there lies an issue the club has, it has stalled, it’s in limbo.
How can you encourage shirt sales when fans don’t know the type of player who’ll be in it? How can you encourage season ticket sales when you don’t know if it’s nil-nils galore or possibly witnessing a Spanish masterclass in football?
In truth Wolves could practically put out what they wanted about the club right now and get away with it. ‘Sir Jack’s Statue cancelled’, ‘ticket prices are to go up’, ‘we’re charging fans to use the toilets’, that kind of thing, because all fans want is confirmation of if the deal has gone through or not.
Until then a sizeable number of fans are withholding their ‘investment’ in Wolves which surely must be having a knock-on effect commercially.
- The fans.
Last but not least the fans.
Every day I see a new takeover rumour. Every day I see at least one Tweet, Facebook status or Molineux Mix post that has me willing for a new plague to descend on parts of Wolverhampton.
It’s infuriating as it is cringeworthy to see certain folk to claim to be in the know only to repeat what has become the slogan of the takeover saga ‘announcement tomorrow’.
But in truth Wolves could be on the cusp of the biggest culture change to our club certainly in my lifetime and naturally people are excited.
However at a time when you need reassurance, information and clarity from the people running your football club there has been none in the last few days and there will be many fans who remember this shutout and see it as treatment of contempt.
By no means are we asking for every cough and splutter of the negotiations to be relayed to supporters and certainly I supported the club’s stance at least for the first week since speculation.
However since then it has become abundantly clear who we’re negotiating with and that talks are happening but not a single sentence about the situation has come out yet the ramifications could derail our season before it’s even began.
This ‘silence is golden tactic’ may be fine when negotiating a new sponsor but when it affects the morale of our head coach, the mindset of our players, the income from our fans and fuels uncertainty about the club that we love, everyone is owed more than an quickly assembled uninformative five paragraph statement.