Category Archives: Wolverhampton Wanderers

Dean Saunders Jailed!…

Dean Saunders, the ex Liverpool FC Striker, has been jailed today for 10 weeks for failing to be breathalysed, after being pulled over on suspicion of Drink Driving.

Saunders worked as a coach at Newcastle United, under Graeme Souness and has also managed Wrexham and Wolves as well as being capped 75 times for Wales.

Saunders was stopped by Police on suspicion of drink driving in Boughton, Chester on May 10th this year, but pleaded guilty by letter, on Tuesday, but appeared in Court Today (28th August).

Initially denying both charges at an earlier hearing, he was also banned from driving for 30 months. Saunders is currently working for BT Sport, so could it affect his job too?

The jailing, is a sad hiccup in what has been a good and solid career, as a player, and a steady, if unspectacular managerial career.

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The pack are well and truly back, and better than ever

On the 4th May 2013- Wolverhampton Wanderers are relegated for a second successive time after losing to Brighton on the last day of the season, dropping into the third tier of English football for the first time in 24 years.                                                              16th March 2019- Wolves stun United to book their place in the FA Cup Semi-Finals (only their second appearance at Wembley in 31 years) sit 7th in the Premier League, and have a squad jam-packed with exciting European talent.

Wolves have managed to transform themselves from a team going nowhere fast, to a trailblazing side looking towards Europe and a cup final appearance, from the dark days of League One to where they are now its quite staggering.

At the time a season in League One wasn’t a particular disaster after the pain and suffering of back to back relegations. Being the big fish in a small pond suited Wolves, and they still regularly attracted 25,000+ crowds as they stormed to the title, breaking the 100 point barrier and only losing five league games all year.

On their return to the Championship Kenny Jackett steered them to an agonisingly close 7th place finish, missing out on the playoffs by just four goals. However a disappointing 14th place finish in 15/16 brought an end to Jackett’s tenure, just as the Fosun International group had bought the club.

The new Chinese owners first act was to appoint their own man in the shape of Walter Zenga, who would only last till October with the team sat 18th in the table. Paul Lambert was brought in to steady the ship, and that he did, managing to achieve a respectable if not mind blowing 15th place finish and upset Liverpool in the FA Cup 2-1.

With these two drab seasons in the rear view mirror fans had a reason to be optimistic in the summer of 2017, and that was for one reason and one reason only. Jorge Mendes. The super agent had been involved in the Fosun takeover the previous summer, and had slowly started to gain increasing influence in his advisory role. Summer signings included European wonderkid Ruben Neves, strong centre half Willy Boly, skillful playmaker Diogo Jota as well as more homegrown talents Ryan Bennett and John Ruddy, and Mendes was thought to be behind most of these deals.

Manager Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed (another Mendes client) and what followed was a brilliant transformation of the club. With a strong defence, a brilliant midfield and pace in attack Wolves were unstoppable, cruising to the title and a return to the Premier League, with central midfielder Ruben Neves looking like a bargain at just £15 million, his price surely quadrupling as he adapted to English football seamlessly.

This summer saw experienced Portuguese internationals Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio join the club, as well as Adama Traore, Jonny and Ruben Vinagre all represented by Mendes, further improving an already strong squad. This has shown out on the pitch, as they have been a team capable of troubling the big boys, beating the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham while drawing with champions Manchester City, and look very much to be “the best of the rest”. While breaking into the top six may be beyond their powers this season, they have made an incredible return to the top flight and look very likely to be playing European football next term, weather that be through their league position or cup exploits remains to be seen.

All in all with a manager they adore and players they idolise, it really seems like Wolverhampton are well on their way back.

 

The make-or-break nature of Championship promotion

In recent years, the Premier League has flourished as one of the best leagues in the world, and with its success, the financial implications of the league have grown exponentially. Clubs have started to be managed as international businesses, and team crests have become commonplace icons across all cultures throughout the globe. TV rights have skyrocketed, with the Premier League’s current deal agreed in 2015 worth a humbling £5.14bn.

With all this considered, the gulf in profitability between the Premier League and England’s second division, the Championship, is unnerving. The Championship is considered by many as an unpredictable league, with a handful of teams every year making a push for promotion. However, for their team to compete amongst England’s best, club owners are required to get their cheque books out.

Reports have shown that clubs that successfully achieved promotion from the Championship in recent years averaged losses of £550,000 a week. Current holders of the Championship title, Wolverhampton Wanderers, took the league by storm in 2018, ending their campaign on a colossal 99 points. However, their dominance came at a huge cost, with the West Midlands side reporting a loss of £59.7m throughout the season, an average of over a £1m loss per week.

Similarly, after Newcastle’s promotion back to the top flight in 2017, the Magpies suffered a heavy loss of £59m during their journey back to the Premier League. Add on top the current predicament of Bolton Wanderers and their financial issues regarding players wages, it is apparent that the Championship is an economic wasteland for club owners.

The reason behind such huge losses for Championship clubs seems to lie in the cost of wages and transfer fee amortisation. In 2017/18, Wolves, Birmingham City and Reading all paid more than twice as much in wages and amort than their seasonal income. With the Royals finishing in a disappointing 20th position that season, it beckons the question over the sustainability of a Championship club when promotion is out of the question and such heavy financial investment has been made.

When teams are spending so much in a push for promotion, it seems that going up is a make-or-break situation for clubs in the Championship. However, the rewards for a promoted team are staggering. During the 2017/18 season, the smallest amount of TV rights money earned by a club was the £95.4m granted to West Brom. This figure alone trumps the seasonal income of the highest-earning Championship side in the same season, with Aston Villa reportedly making an income of £68.6m.

A disheartening correlation can be found when comparing the income of clubs in the Premier League, and the losses of clubs in the Championship. The income of Premier League giants is ever-increasing, with Liverpool’s expected profits reaching the eye-watering heights of £100m after their Champions League success last season. In contrast, the combined operating loss of Championship clubs since the 2014/15 season is spiralling out of control. The combined loss of Championship clubs in 2014/15 was £288m. That number has increased annually, eventually resulting in the £391m collective loss in 2016/17.

With the Premier League increasingly becoming a profitable international franchise, should more care be taken with Championship clubs in their pursuit of top-flight football?

Sean Fisher @seanfisher1502

Brexit: How will it affect the Premier League?

It comes without surprise that all 20 of the current Premier League clubs were against Brexit in the first place. With Britain set to leave the EU on March 29th, and a ‘no deal’ Brexit looming closer by the minute, what will happen to The Premier League and English football in the future? 

 

The first likely outcome of Brexit on English football is the restriction on the movement of players from Europe to the UK, and vice versa. Players will most likely have to acquire work permits when transferring from The UK to Europe. It is estimated that only 60% of all players in the top flight are UK nationals, so there is major potential of future issues within the league. The clarity of movements in the transfer market may be completely hindered, with it being harder for Premier League clubs to sign European talent, and harder for players with UK citizenship to move to European clubs. Furthermore, with the Champions League quarter finals set to take place just two weeks after the March deadline, and four out of eight teams being from the UK, how will the final three stages pan out?

 

Another potential issue Brexit may reveal regards the 1995 Bosman ruling. The Bosman ruling has made a vital development to football around Europe, allowing players to act as free agents once their contract with the club has expired. The ruling came after three separate legal cases between Jean-Marc Bosman and UEFA, The Belgian FA and Bosman’s club at the time – Royal Football Club De Liege. Bosman won his case at The European Court of Justice in 1995. With the UK departing European jurisdiction, and it no longer being a requirement to follow EU law, UK players could potentially be at risk from a lack of free movement. 

 

The FA has already made a pre-Brexit statement regarding all teams in the Football Leagues. Back in November, they stated that every roster must consist of a minimum of 12 players from a UK background. This could have a positive and negative effect on the league; forcing managers to train with a more ‘British’ based team, leading to further player development and possibly lead to a stronger English, Welsh and Scottish national teams. However, it could lead to a lack of European talent in Premier League teams. Talented players such as Van Dijk, De Bruyne, Sane and Hazard may aim to look at joining major clubs in Europe, to mitigate against the uncertainty that Brexit may bring. Premier League scouts will most likely put their focus on British talent, and the number of European players brought to the top flight could be dramatically reduced. Furthermore, more pressure may be weighted on football academies, as there is an increased need for young English talent. This would lead to the increased development of young English players, the likes of Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Callum Hodson-Odoi all generated their success through excelling in their respected football academies. Could Brexit result in a breakthrough for unseen flair?

 

The main question on everyone’s mind is “Can Britain beat Brexit?” Although the outcomes still remain indistinct, it is clear that it could be rough. Lets just hope that it doesn’t tarnish our league and restrict the luminous football we are all so familiar with. 

Can Wolves break into the top 6 in the next three seasons?

Wolverhampton Wanderers are undoubtedly having a fantastic season currently sitting 7th in the premier league , will we see them push even further and challenge for the top 6?

Wolves have been a team to watch ever since the Fosun takeover in July 2016. The Wanderers have been very active in the transfer market over the past couple of seasons with the signing of key players such as Ruben Neves , Adama Traore , Rui Patricio , Diogo Jota and powerhouse central defender Wily Boly. Spending over 100 million it was a busy summer for Wolves however they managed to accumulate 20 million from outgoings.

17/18 Summary

On the 31st of May 2017 Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed Wolves boss. Wolves ended up having an immense season , winning the championship comfortably. Ruben Neves ended up living up to the hype and Wily Boly turned out to be an excellent loan signing. 3 of their players made the PFA championship team of the season.

18/19 So far

In pre season predictions Wolves were never specified in the relegation picture nonetheless they also weren’t deemed to be only one place behind Chelsea at this stage of the season. Wolves had a blistering start losing just one of their first eight games , additionally picking up 1-1 draws with both Manchester clubs. Despite the Wanderers having a poor run of games losing 6 out of 7 games in October through to the end of November. They were strong enough to bounce back with 3 wins in a row beating Chelsea , Newcastle and Bournemouth. Still in the FA Cup Wolves could potentially be going to Wembley, however a revolutionised Manchester United team stand in their way. Wolves have been consistently picking up points for the duration of the campaign and are set out for top 10 finish come may.

How can they break the deadlock of the top 6 ?

As many people believe there is a great boundary between the top 6 and the rest of the league , it tends to be because the “Top” teams can attract better players as a result of European football and their status in the game. Nevertheless Wolves have been able to attract many high calibre players such as Joao Moutinho , Rui Patricio and Diogo Jota. Wolves’ outstanding performance in the league will also increase interest from players around Europe as they will look to build on a solid season.

Wolves are now recognised as a rich club with ambitious owners , despite Wolves already achieving a considerable amount they want to accomplish more. Wolves already have a stable Premier league team and their owners are highly ambitious and keep injecting money into the club. Should Wolves finish 7th place and gain European football they will be able to take the next step up and attract top 6 quality players. Despite it being a challenging task we’ve seen many clubs break into the top 6 before. On the other hand clubs like Everton can never seem to break the top 6. Its clear that it takes good management to become a top 6 club , Nuno Espirito Santo has done a tremendous job therefore Wolves are the front runners to break into the top 6 . Fosun international stated earlier this year they are targeting to win the Premier league by 2025 , this obviously puts pressure on the management team and also states Wolves are an enthusiastic and determined to become a top English club. Providing Wolves sustain the improvement they have a prospect of finishing in the top 6 in the coming seasons.

Do you think Wolves can win the Premier League by 2025 ?