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Wolves bosses: 'We need support to create 50,000-seater Molineux dream'

By Matt Maher | Wolverhampton | Wolves | Published:

Wolves have been holding talks with the city council and University of Wolverhampton as the club looks ahead at plans to expand Molineux in the future.

Wolves are keen to increase the capacity of Molineux (AMA/Sam Bagnall)

Wolves chiefs today re-stated their plans to increase the capacity of Molineux toward 50,000 in the medium to long-term future - committing their future to the club's home.

Club bosses hope the expansion will make the ground the focal point of the city, as they look to build further on the success of Nuno Espirito Santo and his team.

Molineux currently holds 31,700 but Wolves are already struggling to cope with demand in their first season back in the Premier League, with a season ticket waiting list of 2,500 people.

The South Bank would be the first stand to be redeveloped and could be doubled in size.

The news effectively ends fears Wolves could move out of their home of 130 years, sparked last year when chairman Jeff Shi raised the possibility of a new purpose-built arena in an interview.

Jeff Shi has big plans for Molineux

In a new interview with Sky Sports, managing director Laurie Dalrymple reiterated the club’s commitment to remaining at Molineux, their home since 1889.

He said: "I've got no doubt whatsoever that we've got enough space here to stay at Molineux and I see Molineux as being intrinsically linked, both with this club's history, but similarly with the club's future as well.

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"I'm spearheading that project work and we're working closely with a number of key consultants, from architects to surveyors.

"We see a benchmark that this club could grow to a 45,000-50,000 capacity in the medium to long term if we continue on the trajectory that we're continuing on.

"So that means bringing the right players in, getting the right development through the academy, getting the right results, performing at the right end of the table, having consolidated our position in the short term.

"And if we do that, we can see there is a clear pathway that will take us through to something that will be in the high 40,000s."

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Chairman Jeff Shi added: "The most important thing is to have enough capacity. 40,000-50,000 is not a problem by my understanding. Wolves is like a sleeping giant.

"They were at the peak of the country 50 or 60 years ago. Many families, fathers and grandfathers watched Wolves. We have a long-term plan, of course.

"Regarding the long-term we want to be one of the best in Europe, but you have to do everything step by step. The first thing in our mindset is to stay in the league and build a strong team to compete next season.

“I think to develop the club to a high level we need time. In football, no-one can do everything in one day or one season."

Laurie Dalrymple

Dalrymple admitted the project will need the support of the council and other businesses in the area, including the University of Wolverhampton, in order to proceed.

"We have been having long discussions with the council, the university, other key stakeholders in the area, the people we are going to be reliant on for this to develop,” he said.

"At 32,000, this stadium is already putting a huge pressure on the local area in terms of the roads and transport infrastructure.

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"So if we are going to take this stadium to 45,000 plus, we're going to need a huge amount of support from many different providers within the area.

"This is not just a football club programme or project, this has to be reliant on everyone else coming together to support it.

"As we've seen, and the statistics bear it out, the financial benefit [to the city] of this football club just performing in the Premier League, let alone potentially Europe where we want to be in the future, is already significant.

"So I'm confident that everyone is going to pull together because we're going to see greater value for the whole community as to where this football club can go."

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
Football MMPJ - @mjmarr_star

Sports journalist for the Express & Star

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