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New Wolves Stadium Plan To Expand Molineux On Backburner

It's been several years now since Wolverhampton Wanderers announced a plan to expand their Molineux stadium.

The idea was to increase the capacity to around 50,000.

The club's promotion to the Premier League has seen a big increase in demand for season tickets, with an ever-increasing waiting list.  Coupled with the ambitions of the Club's Chinese owners, an increase in capacity seemed like an obvious move for the Midlands club.

Covid pandemic sees Molineux Stadium Expansion Shelved

It was back in summer 2019 when Wolves owners Fosun revealed their exciting plans for Molineux.

First up was to replace the Steve Bull Stand on one side. The plan was for extensive corporate facilities and an initial increase the capacity of Molineux from the current 31,700 to around 36,000.  The second phase of the development would see the Jack Hayward (South Bank) Stand being replaced at one  end with a much larger single tiered stand of around 10,000 as well as the corners of the stadium being filled in with seats.

Yet the empty stands throughout the Covid pandemic affected cash flow and forced the Wolves owners to reassess their priorities. Instead of the planned rebuild, they opted to splash the cash on the playing squad in order to remain competitive in the Premier League.

The Steve Bull Stand

Steve Bull Stand

Wolves fans been now been waiting several years for progress on the stadium expansion plan

Works were set to commence on the new Steve Bull Stand at the end of the 2019-2020 season, with the new Jack Hayward Stand following two years later.

However these plans have been now shelved until further notice, with no new updates currently emerging from the club. Season ticket prices have increased each season since, but with a high supporter retention rate and a large waiting list, it remains to be seen when the Wolves owners will find enough incentive to make the move to expand the stadium.

What has the owner said about when work will start?

“When the moment is right – I mean financially, when the moment is right – then we take the risks like this pandemic into consideration. If we think it is right to do that, we will do that,” Chairman Jeff Shi revealed in a supporter update back in 2021.

“And it is not to make profit. If it can break-even, then it can work, but now by current calculation, it’s harder to break even. And also if we meet a year like the last year, it will be disastrous. So we have to be careful.

“Also, if you have any money spare, I think the first priority is the first team, the starting XI, and even the academy is ahead of the new stadium. Different owners have different views.

What this statement confirmed to fans was that any building work on the stadium is third in the pecking order behind investment in the playing squad and development of the academy. Matters off the pitch have therefore taken a back seat.

Cost could be a prohibitive factor

It's thought that the stadium renovations will cost around £30 million, but the investment would at least preserve the club's history and place in Wolverhampton City Centre as opposed to building a new, out of town ground.

When expanded the stadium – home to Wolves since 1889 – will be the largest in the Midlands and one of the biggest football venues in England. A 50,000 capacity for Molineux would mean that only Wembley plus Tottenham, Arsenal, West Ham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester United & Manchester City would have bigger stadiums than Wolves.

How The Enlarged Molineux May Look

Molineux Expansion Plans

The artist's impression above is shown courtesy of the Wolverhampton Wanderers FC website from 2019.

Chloe Digby

An experienced freelance football writer, editor and podcaster, Chloe has worked for Forbes, the Guardian, the BBC, Mundial Magazine, FourFourTwo Magazine the iPaper, OneFootball, Tortoise Media and many more. Chloe has been a regular at Stockport County since 1995 and also follows Fiorentina. She is an expert on fan culture, having traveled all over England and Italy watching football.

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