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A Crucial Appointment


11:37 15th April 2014

CEO praises Jackett and staff

Jez Moxey has heaped praise on Kenny Jackett and the rest of Wolves’ off-field staff for the job they have accomplished in spearheading the club’s record-breaking campaign.

The Head Coach has followed up his promotion successes at Swansea and Millwall by leading Wolves up in his first season in the Midlands and is already relishing the forthcoming challenge at a higher level.

Wolves accept they made mistakes with managerial decisions in the not-too-distant past but are content they got their latest one just right.

“There have been very few bumps along the road and Kenny has been exceptional and led with distinction and professionalism,” Jez said.

“He has got the players playing a brand of football that our fans have really enjoyed. Many people said when we appointed him last summer that he was a safe pair of hands. I thought that was doing him an injustice. He's much, much more than a safe pair of hands.

“He's a complete football junkie. He lives and sleeps it. He loves the job he's doing, he really does. He saw the opportunity here and is very studious, hard-working and knows the game inside out.

“We made some poor appointments and they didn't work, so the appointment of Kenny was absolutely crucial. We found a man who matched our ideals in every way and he has carried out the job in an exemplary fashion. We’re delighted for him and Joe (Gallen).”

Wolves now feel vindicated in keeping the upheaval to a minimum after finding themselves under pressure to see that more heads rolled following the consecutive relegations.

The installation of Kevin Thelwell as the club’s first Head of Football Development and Recruitment was effected last year, though, and Jez believes the stability in the right places has been a positive factor in the runaway promotion triumph.

“The structure of the club stayed the same and it's worth mentioning because a lot of people think you should make a lot more change after relegation,” he added.

“We were resolute from the start that Kenny had to make the decisions from a football point of view. If we hadn't said the right things to each other at the interviews, the marriage between us probably wouldn't have been consummated.

“The support staff and the work that goes on behind the scenes are as important and there has been a cooperative approach. We knew Kenny would have to make some tough decisions and we have had some trying times, with one or two players not moved on yet.

“I'm more confident now than I've ever been, because of the relationship with Ken, Kevin and the support staff, about our ability to plan for the future. I think we're much more ahead of the game in terms of our scouting. That relationship between Ken and the rest of the group is really positive...scouting, recruitment, sports science, Academy, medical hasn't worked better in my time in football than it has in the last year.”

The question of how expansively Wolves may recruit in the countdown to Sky Bet Championship football has already reared its head.

But there’s a feeling at Molineux that the policies of the last ten months or so will continue to stand the club in good stead.

“Some people said we could only win this division if we stacked it with experienced players - those who had done it before,” Jez said. “But we've certainly disproved that because we've had a team sheet that has at times had 50% of players who have come through our Academy. And we have done it with some style if we're being honest.

“I wouldn't say we were broken but we were very damaged. We have cleansed the team. People will say: ‘So what? You have the biggest budget.’ The sub-plot they won't appreciate is that we have slashed our wage bill and completely turned over the squad to a point where it's unrecognisable from last year.

“We have done it with a load of Academy graduates and with players that Championship teams and League One teams let go or were persuaded to sell.

“It takes time to rebuild. You could say we have contracted and, when you contract, it's difficult to be successful. But we have set a club record for consecutive wins, for clean sheets, for the most points and, most importantly, we have won promotion.

“We'll be trading players. Some players will want to move on and some will come in. Hopefully we will have a very busy summer. We don't have any concrete deals but we have a very strong, wealthy, committed owner and he won't allow us to do any deals that aren't in the best interest of the club. No player will be able to ride roughshod over us.

“I don't think there has ever been a time when this club hasn't invested in players. What’s most important is to say we will carry on doing what we have been doing and do all of our work quietly and professionally. If we need to bring somebody in to strengthen, we will do all we can within certain parameters. It's an on-going process and you have to be open-minded.”

There is reluctance in the corridors of power to heap more pressure on the squad by talking of emulating the success Norwich and Southampton both had in achieving back-to-back promotions and reaching the Premier League.

Wolves have now built in contingencies aimed at ensuring that the drop to League One wouldn’t be as damaging again but are looking to relish and thrive in the more demanding surroundings of the Championship.

And that comes with its own side-incentives following the pain of 2012/13.

“We have created some momentum and the fans are behind our young team,” Jez said. “We want to be a force in the Championship obviously but we want to go into it with humility, be humble, and not have too much expectation on young players. In other words, just to enjoy it.

“They are fresh and new to it. They aren't tainted in any form. Go into next season, be delighted and proud and hopefully have a great season. Where that takes us, who knows?

“Kenny is the perfect fit. He's very clear about what we are trying to achieve but there is no lofty talk about where we will be in three years. We wanted our team to do the talking for us this season and I think they have done that exceptionally well.

“We're not publicly going to set any targets. There is a steely sense of determination about what we need to do and that hasn't left us. Although we're elated, there's still a sense of built-up tension.

“I feel there are scores to settle in going back to the Championship. We have to maintain the momentum from rebuilding the relationship with the fans and, personally, I feel we have to beat some teams who helped us get relegated last year.”

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