As Wolverhampton Wanderers slipped to defeat against Blackpool, marking their tenth league game without recording a win, it would not be entirely incomprehensible to suggest that the atmosphere at Molineux took a turn for the worse as Tom Ince netted on the seventy-eighth minute – a goal that proved the eventual winner for the Seasiders.
Indeed, chants of “Morgan Out” and “where’s the money gone?” rang true from corner to corner of the historical ground, as frustrations toward the Black Country’s team recent poor run of form reached their pinnacle.
Though, it is somewhat unfathomable as to why the hierarchy are the target of such dissatisfaction – especially when taking investment into account alongside the club’s position just seven seasons ago.
Investing thirty million pound in exchange for buying the club for a measly tend pound at the request of former owner Sir Jack Hayward, Steve Morgan, a self-confessed Liverpool fan from birth and residing from Garston, inaugurated his reign with vows of Premier League establishment and rebuilding a stadium long past its sell by date.
If anything, Morgan’s solitary dishonour and indiscretion was underestimating the task ahead – and elevating the aspirations of the Molineux faithful too early, too hastily.
The number one objective of promotion to the elusive Premier League – one that had evaded Wolves ever since their exit at the conclusion of the 2003/04 season – was attained. Summer acquisitions of Sam Vokes, Chris Iwelumo, Richard Stearman and David Jones saw the Black Country club comfortably over the finish line as champions, spearheaded by Mick McCarthy’s stewardship throughout.
An undoubtedly hectic summer transfer window saw a cool fourteen million spent – including the six and a half million pound signing of highly coveted Reading striker Kevin Doyle. A proven Premier League player, Doyle more than justified his price tag with a plethora of unselfish performances in the lone role – simultaneously establishing himself as the talismanic figure of a grafting playing squad who secured the West Midlands side a comfortable fifteenth placed finish.
With the intention of building on previous success, a further fifteen million pound of the club’s, and Steve Morgan’s, money was parted with – in this case the bulk saw Steven Fletcher acquired from relegated Burnley, though the fee of Irishman Stephen Hunt wasn’t too far behind.
Despite a greater amount of wealth going out than coming in, Wolves will, without doubt, be forever indebted to Roman Pavlychenko and his last minute winner against Birmingham City that all but saw Premier League status sustained by the finest of margins.
Former loanee Jamie O’Hara and highly-rated Roger Johnson were attained in the wake of a third consecutive top flight season and, although acquired for modest transfer fees, both flaunted a healthy income of fourty thousand pound a week –a wage Johnson is still picking up to this present day.
In total, a generous and substantial thirty seven million pound was spent – comfortably positioning Wolverhampton Wanderers in the top six Premier League spenders for the three seasons they played there.
Therefore Wolves’ dilemma is not a lack of investment, but a misuse of the expense provided.
Steve Morgan saw ten million pound dissipated on personnel such as Stefan Maierhofer, Greg Halford and Andrew Surman – all of whom hardly lasted twelve months in the West Midlands.
To further amplify resource woes, nearest and dearest West Bromwich Albion have regularly recorded top half finishes upon promotion – dispensing a considerably more pragmatic twenty two million in the process.
Even upon relegation, ten million pounds worth of player incomings was injected into an already bloated squad, undoubtedly made possible by the twenty four million (even then, that sum includes add-ons whose criteria, perhaps, hasn’t been met yet) high profile outgoings.
In terms of the regularly acknowledged and vastly discussed fifty million parachute payment? Well, the club did lose forty million in turnover as a result of relegation. Morgan can be somewhat forgiven for not wanting to witness Wolves descend into financial disarray.
Fans yearning for a senseless and illogical squandering of fortune would do well to engage in conversation with followers of Birmingham City and Portsmouth – both gambled an irrational outlay on Premier League survival and return and, at present, suffer the consequences of their actions.
Certainly in this case, chants of “where’s the money gone?” would be best served in the direction of previous managerial regimes, as opposed to contemporary board members.