Wolves, Fosun and 8 days of madness

If by the time you read this article it’s out of date, I haven’t taken my eye off the ball I’m just like every Wolves fan catching my breath after one hell of a week.

Initially I started writing an article about how, as a club, we’ve gone from the lows of nearly going out of business, losing to Chorley and relegation to League One and each time we bounced back.

I wanted to emphasise exciting times were ahead after the Fosun takeover and as fans we should learn to enjoy the ride – I just didn’t anticipate the loopty-loop and twists would be so soon into the journey.

So rather than add to a wall of noise about matters going on at Molineux here’s an eight-day diary entry of one of the craziest weeks in the history of our beloved football club.

Monday July 25th

The company that has taken over Wolves, Fosun, join soon-to-depart CEO Jez Moxey at a press conference speaking about the deal.

The Fosun representative and now Wolves chairman Jeff Shi, impresses in his first interview insisting: ‘money isn’t a problem’; the club will sign eight players; he will use links to super agent Jorge Mendes and develop the Wolves Women team. Great news all around.

He admits Kenny Jacket will remain as head coach after meeting with him and both identified where the squad needed strengthening. While it was unexpected that Jackett would remain it was also understandable.

After the press conference my feelings was that of genuine excitement. We had wealth to invest in our threadbare side and we had a man at the helm in Shi who appeared to do what it takes to get us back in the Premier League. I was messaging friends soon after the press conference and my feelings were shared. The good times could be returning to Molineux.

Tuesday July 26th

Wolves faced Northampton in a friendly at Sixfields and curiously it’s Joe Gallen who takes control of team affairs.

While Jackett was present he remains on the bench allowing his assistant to dictate orders.

In truth, just three first teamers started the game and it was much more a U21s squad, however Jackett’s withdrawn role raised questions especially following weeks of speculation over his job.

Wolves lost 2-1 and post-match its Gallen who faces the press – the first time Jackett had failed to do so in his three years in the post. Still with the lack of genuine first teamers in action and the fact Gallen had been charge, were fans reading too much into it? I felt so.

However I had concerns our first team hadn’t been given enough match practice with the season fast approaching.

Wednesday July 27th

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Wolves linked to a triple swoop of players including ex-AC Milan midfielder Pele, full back Silvio and winger Helder Costa. Now the takeover was starting to become real.

Rumours are also rife we’d beat Liverpool to the signing of Benfica talent Talisca for what, £20 million? Is this right? Surely not. At first I believe it’s Twitter speculation but as the day goes on rumours intensify but all quote one newspaper source from Portugal so it was likely to be clickbait for websites.

No sooner of news of a flurry of players about to arrive at Wolves it emerged that Jez Moxey was to leave to join Norwich City.

Of course this is cause for celebrations for many of our fans who found the CEO a divisive figure and the very face of issues that saw Wolves plummet from the Premier League to League One

Having met the man several times I feel comfortable to say the following.

His job was to make sure Wolves didn’t go back to the dark days of the Bhatti Brothers, this he has achieved. He has left Wolves in a strong financial position where we can attract the likes of Fosun who will take us (we hope) onto pastures new. For all his criticism I honestly believe Moxey did have the best interests of the club at heart and that he did have a genuine passion for the club – you have to after 16 years.

Sadly because Moxey hasn’t ever shyed away from his opinion he became vocal in the media therefore catapulting himself as the poster boy of Wolves’ three-season decline. Overseeing PR disasters such as housing Albion fans in the South Bank and the Sir Jack statue fiasco there was no way of going back in many fans’ eyes.

To my frustration I didn’t see enough effort from our CEO to mend those bridges, he revelled in being the villain and he rubbed his hands when speculation about the club was incorrect and used the Fans’ Parliament as a mythbusting platform.

I do feel Norwich City are getting a very good CEO. Their fanbase is huge and their supporters, let’s be honest, don’t bay for blood as much as those in old gold and black do.

It’s a decent move for both parties.

Thursday July 28th

There was still no sign of Wolves announcing the three signings but I was confident we’d complete the deal at some point or another. The rumours of Talisca continued, I still couldn’t believe we could smash our transfer record with a £20 million signing – surely not – this is Wolves these things don’t happen.

Friday July 29th

Wolves announce the signing of Helder Costa from Benfica on a season-long loan – not a bad signing at all.

We were originally looking at talent from League 1 and League 2 now we’re signing players from some of the biggest names in Europe. Silvio’s deal wasn’t completed but a leaked photo online showed it was pretty much a matter of making it public knowledge, so make that two players from the continent.

It emerged that Pele was exploring other options. He was the most high-profile of the three players we were expected to sign so there’s no surprise he has other offers on the table. Middlesbrough’s Adam Forshaw and Blackburn’s Ben Marshall are the latest names mentioned to join our club, I’m expecting many more articles like this in the coming weeks.

Late into the afternoon Wolves said they were reviewing public access to the training ground following the leaked photo. Silvio was seen in full training gear on a day the public were allowed to view training sessions – now the club aren’t happy.

I likened it to denying you are with a girl, taking her to your local, bumping into your friends and complaining they now know.

Why didn’t they just announce it? It was a football player not a state secret. Despite the new Fosun era funny to see some things never change – farcical PR gaffes at Wolves.

I meet up with friends on the Friday night and we speak about Wolves and how we’re still trying to get our head around everything that’s going on. One comments to me they’ve been drained by it all.

At about 11.15pm I look at my phone and see numerous texts and Twitter notifications – Jackett had been sacked.

Saturday July 30th

I spent the first half-an-hour of my morning trying to comprehend what had happened for Wolves to announce Jackett’s dismissal at 11.15pm on a Friday night.

It was unlike Wolves, the timing of the announcement seemed extreme and the decision seemed equally rash.

At 9am I was queuing outside the ticket office at Molineux to get tickets to Rotherham away. There was only one subject on the lips of those waiting – who would replace Jackett?

One chap behind me in the queue said Fosun’s second option as manager after Julen Lopotegui must have become available. An astute observation as 15 minutes after he uttered those words I was crossing the car park at Sainsbury’s to see we had a new manager. Walter who?

Ten hours after Jackett was given the Jack Black and we have former Italian international and Inter Milan legend Walter Zenga as our new coach.

Imagine going to bed at 11pm and waking at 10am the following day to see we’d fired one manager and replaced him with another.

So Zenga is the man to take us forward. A quick Google and I’m soon panicking. How many clubs in 18 years? That’s concerning.

I checked to see what Twitter was saying in the days leading up to the Wolves announcement – there was nothing. In fact Zenga was being tipped to take over Roberto Mancini at Inter and had been linked to Southampton in June.

I guess as fans you just have to get behind him. We did it with Dean Saunders and with Terry Connor, after all it’s our club we’ll stand with them whatever.

I don’t even get a chance to take in the Zenga news and we lose 4-0 to Swansea in a game supposedly to raise money for Sir Jack’s statue.

It was not the occasion we all wanted. Firstly the opposition had no affiliation with Wolves or Sir Jack, secondly many were put out that fans were having to cough up (especially as we’re now bought by Fosun) and thirdly fans were still rocked by a 10 hour whirlwind which could change the face of their season. Just 7,000 were at the game.

At 9.30pm (seriously, go to bed Wolves) the club announced the signing of Atletico Madrid full-back Silvio.

With a chequered injury record, a one year deal seems sensible for the 28-year-old Portuguese star. It’s another exciting signing but it’s just a shame the new season is a week away and we could probably do with a further seven days to assemble the squad.

After a 4-0 defeat and speculation of new signings I’m worried about the morale of the team and if this has some part in the loss. In the excitement of the takeover it has been overlooked that we have a poor Championship squad, a manager untested at this level and signings who need to gel.

We could be in for a tough few weeks.

Sunday July 31

Rumours were rife that Andrea Butti could be joining the Wolves backroom staff as technical director.

Butti was the deputy technical director at Monaco and had previously worked at Zenga’s former club Inter Milan. It could spell the end of Kevin Thelwell who the last we heard was scouting the Copa America for signings.

Whether or not he was aware of Lopetegui’s possible appointment and decided to impress the Spaniard with Spanish and Portuguese speaking footballers we’ll never know. Talking about the Portuguese another was anticipated to join Wolves, Joao Texeira from Benfica – another one?!

Monday August 1

It was a week since the new Fosun era got underway and not a day has gone by without drama.

Zenga was officially unveiled as our new boss and from his press conference it doesn’t look like life will be dull with Big Walt around. His passion and determination was evident from the off although he was quick to play down Wolves’ promotion chances. If his and the fans’ passion can marry up we could be onto to great thing.

While questions are still raised over his managerial record no-one can doubt his drive. He is said to have already made himself home at a local Italian place and attempted to utter our unofficial motto ‘Wolves ay we’.

Ok he said ‘Wolves are we’ but 10/10 for effort. Little moments like that have adhered him to the fans already – claiming Wolves were the biggest English club in Italy has already got him national coverage.

A video released by the club showed him telling the players ‘it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake just try to do something, dig in and do it’ it gave the view he will give the players freedom to express.

My confidence in Zenga has grown a little but of course we’ll see what will happen at Rotherham especially as Texeira’s season-long loan has been confirmed. All we know is that a first victory for Zenga and the good times will certainly feel like they arrived.


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