A “devastated” Dean Saunders paid tribute to the support of the travelling Wolves fans after relegation was sealed with this afternoon’s 2-0 defeat to Brighton.
The travelling support continued to sing loud and proud despite another defeat with a first half brace from Kazenga Lua Lua ensuring Wolves finished the season on a losing note.
Results elsewhere meant even victory would have been immaterial, leaving Saunders vowing to immediately set about rebuilding the club after a difficult few years.
“It’s a massively disappointing day for everyone and I am devastated,” said the boss.
“The game was symptomatic of our season – we missed chances and just couldn’t put the ball in the net and Brighton did.
“We played some decent football but it is all about the end product.
“As soon as that final whistle went I am now starting to rebuild the football club because we have to move forward now.
“I shook all the players’ hands and then from now on I am starting again.
“Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom before you realise it has got to change, and I have got to change everything and rebuild the club.
“I knew what I was coming into when I walked into the club – I have done this before with clubs who have been struggling and had lots of problems.
“I have no hesitation in wanting to try and take this club forward.
“The fans were absolutely magnificent today and they have been magnificent since I came in.
“They have had lots of bad weekends over the last three or four years – lots of pain - and they deserve a whole lot better.
“I feel sorry for that and I feel obliged to do something about it.
“They've come all that way today, knowing we were probably going to be relegated and stuck by us right through the game.
“It is a great club, and if the fans are like this when you are struggling, just like what they will be like if I can get things right.
“Straightaway I am concentrating on what we need to do to make things better.
“I know what to do, I'm up for the fight and I've got to lift them off the floor now – I have got to turn it around.”
The boss plans to sit down with Chairman Steve Morgan and CEO Jez Moxey in the coming days to try and plan for a new League One season, targeting players who will be “proud to pull on a Wolves shirt”.
“I’ve been here since January and haven’t been able to get my team on the pitch yet,” he said.
“I will sit down with Steve and Jez in the next few days and start looking at things.
“I have got targets in mind to bring into the club.
“I need to get players into the club who are going to put the shirt on, be proud to wear the shirt and get the culture right at the club.
“We need hungry players who will be delighted to come and play for Wolves and will roll their sleeves up and have no mental baggage.
“There is so much damage that has been done mentally to the players that it will be hard to put it right.
“I’ve been feeling sick every morning since the Burnley result and if people don’t feel like that then it’s time to pack it in.”
Saunders acknowledges that teams as big as Wolves have been relegated to League One in the past, and used the example of today’s opponents Brighton as an indication that it can lead to a longer term revival.
“Everyone has to take responsibility for what has happened,” he added.
“I knew there were problems here and the situation I was coming into.
“Things can’t be right as I am the fourth manager in just over a year and there are four groups of players.
“Things can happen and has happened to clubs like Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Norwich, Southampton.
“We need to hit the ground running next season and we have to do something similar to what Brighton have done.
“I played for this club 20 years ago and they have since gone bankrupt and ended up playing in a stadium nowhere near Brighton.
“But look at them now.
“They have gone up from League One with momentum and gone into the Championship and now have a great chance of going into the Premier League.
“It is absolutely devastating for everyone connected with the club but we have got to roll our sleeves up, dig in and come back.
“And with support from the fans like we had today we can do it.”