Jez Moxey today vowed that Wolves need to maintain a positive and united front after going through a “terrible 12 months” – but praised the Club’s loyal fanbase for responding in “fantastic” fashion.
Wolves head into Saturday’s npower Championship clash with Leeds occupying 21st position in the table, far from what was expected after relegation and at the end of a year which has seen the team overseen by four different managers.
But Moxey, who says Chairman Steve Morgan remains fiercely committed to bringing success back to Molineux, insists everyone will learn from their mistakes amid some continuing excellent support despite the repeated setbacks.
“I don’t think you could accuse our supporters of contributing to our problems at all – not one bit,” said the CEO.
“I actually think they have been as good a supporter base as you could wish to see based upon what they have seen over the last 18 months.
“I think they have been fantastic.
“That’s not me pandering to them and I have been critical of the support sometimes in the past.
“But the fans have been as supportive as they can be from what they have seen, I really do.
“We are in it together, all of us, even though I am sure the fans don’t really want to hear that from me at the moment.
“We accept that there have been mistakes made but a lot of football clubs make mistakes and it is not an easy thing to get right.
“When we brought in Ståle we were hoping for a bright, new fresh era with a different style of play from what we had.
“I think people were maybe tired of what we had been doing and we’d got relegated.
“We thought Ståle was an outstanding man and were convinced he could do a super job but it just didn’t translate itself enough onto the field of play.
“So we had to make a change.
“We felt we had enough quality, experience, youth, a great stadium and great supporters.
“It shouldn’t be that difficult but don’t ask me why it has happened.
“My job is not to set the team up, coach or train the players, that’s not my job.
“If people want to blame me then fine – it goes with the territory and I accept it and understand it.
“But there is nobody that is more committed than I am to wanting this team to do well.”
Moxey knows he will once again be seen as the “pantomime villain” from many supporters who view him as the figurehead behind the recent disappointing times, despite his Molineux tenure including two promotions to the Premier League and the club’s most successful league spell in 30 years.
He accepts all that responsibility, and accepts that criticism, but will not be swayed from an over-riding ambition to help the Club return to the top table as soon as possible.
“You don’t think I’m under pressure? Nobody puts me under more pressure than myself,” he said.
“But again people want scapegoats don’t they?
“I’m not a popular figure, I am the pantomime villain - always have been always will be.
“I am perceived to be some Machiavellian figure who is not interested in the football and don’t know anything about football.
“I’ve only worked in it for 25 years but I know nothing about it!
“That goes with the territory but I know what my job is and what my strengths are - what we do and what we don’t do.
“There is some confusion out there I guess about what roles people play but we talk to our Fans’ Parliament - which is being copied around the country because it is perceived to be so brilliant and we were the first at it - we are transparent about it with our supporters.
“We want to hear what they are thinking and we know what they are thinking but don’t forget the elephant in the room this season.
“And that’s results – because we are not winning enough football matches.
“If you want to blame me for it, then that’s fine.
“We will always front up and take our fair share of criticism and we take constructive criticism on the chin.
“We take our responsibilities extremely seriously but ultimately we have a team that should be good enough on that pitch.
“You can blame whoever you want but our players need to step up, simple as that.
“They need to look at themselves as we all do – we have all played a part – and say: ‘We are now going to give something back to our supporters and to our football club and to ourselves, a bit of self pride, and demonstrate what they can do.
“If they can do that then this season will be looked back upon as a really difficult year for everyone but at least we can then get things sorted from next season onwards, with a new manager who will have been bedded in for six months, and start motoring on.”
Chairman Steve Morgan has maintained a consistent policy of not wanting to be regularly in the media since taking the helm in 2007, generally speaking to the press on several occasions a year and most recently at the unveiling of Saunders a month ago.
It is Moxey who has the responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Club who is more hands-on with taking the questions, but he has confirmed the Chairman remains as committed and determined as ever to bring success back to Wolves.
Indeed the CEO reports some fairly vigorous behind-the-scenes discussions at all levels of Molineux in terms of thrashing out what has gone wrong and what is required to put it right.
“Steve Morgan first and foremost is a football fan, and clearly a tough and successful businessman,” says Jez.
“He is brilliant at what he does and doesn’t profess to be anything else.
“We talk a lot about the issues we’ve got - there are serious tensions within the club that we have to manage about our predicament in terms of all of us wanting to put things right.
“This isn’t just some kind of cosy club, there are serious issues that we are talking about to try and find a solution.
“Things can get pretty lively but then once decisions are reached we go out there and we are united in getting behind what we are doing.
“The other guys on the Board are Wolves fans through and through, I think we’ve got a good combination.”
Moxey meanwhile insists whilst acknowledging the need for results to move away from the lower reaches of the table, Wolves are focused more on expecting to be upwardly mobile over the remaining 16 games as opposed to looking over their shoulders.
“To be honest we are not thinking about that (relegation)at all,” he says.
“We are thinking about staying positive, keeping the fans together, keeping the spirits up at a time when it is difficult for everybody.
“The manager has come in and lifted morale and is trying to make people feel good and feel positive because when they feel that way then very positive things can happen.
“And we are all trying to stay as positive as we can after what has been a terrible 12 months for the club.”