Steve Morgan spoke of a ‘fantastic’ history and a chance to pay fitting homage to the club’s Hall of Fame icons when Molineux’s magnificent museum was unveiled last night.
Click here for free video.
A VIP gathering of Wolves officials, former players, project partners and media representatives savoured the numerous treasures on display across some 600 square metres high in the rebuilt Stan Cullis Stand.
Malcolm Finlayson, Ron Flowers, Jim McCalliog, Geoff Palmer, Derek Parkin, John McAlle, Terry Wharton, Phil Parkes, Gerry Taylor, Ted Farmer, Mel Eves, Steve Bull and Andy Mutch were among those in attendance for the first feasting of outside eyes on almost 500 items of memorabilia.
The new facility opens to Wolves season ticket holders and members today, with the general public admitted for the first time tomorrow, and the club’s chairman is excited by what he sees.
“Once we get youngsters coming here, we will be capturing them forever as fans,” Steve said in his opening address in the WV1 . “It’s very much a long-term project. Wolves is a club with a fantastic history. It’s well known I used to be a Liverpool fan but I remember Wolves being the greatest club team in Europe and probably the world.
“This is an opportunity to say thank-you to those legends in the Hall of Fame and those that will come into it in the future. It’s a proper tribute to them that we could never offer before.”
Graham Hughes was thanked by both Steve and Chief Executive Jez Moxey for helping pull the whole project together and for donating numerous invaluable keepsakes out of his private collection for the enjoyment of the masses.
More than 25,000 pieces have been catalogued but three times that many remain to be sorted by a team led by the club’s Museum and Archive Manager Sophie Cawthorne, who gave interviews yesterday when the BBC Midlands and Central TV cameras called.
“There are very few clubs with an exciting facility like this,” she said. “Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are the main three, plus Liverpool, and there’s the National Football Museum in Manchester.
“We definitely want to add to the collection and keep it fresh, changing the exhibits as we go along if, say, we want to celebrate an anniversary of some kind. We’ve had to think hard about what to display and there’s a lot that we’ve held back for the future.
“We haven’t yet catalogued many of the medals or trophies and of course it was felt very important that we maintained an impressive display in the main stadium foyer as well. We’re fortunate so many items have been donated or loaned, like one of Johnny Hancocks’ England caps recently, and we’re excited that supporters can now see so much of the club’s heritage.”
Ron Flowers’ World Cup medal and a drawing of Molineux as ‘a pleasure gardens’ are among the most prized items in the handsome displays. Elsewhere are countless programmes, photographs, newspapers, cigarette cards and clips of footage. The oldest artefact is the original poster advertising the meeting in 1876 to form the club.
Twenty-two touch screens, one of them called ‘Glory of Wolves,’ are dotted around the museum, which combines state-of-the-art ideas with satisfying the craving for nostalgia.
School groups will not only attend workshops to learn about the club’s history and the dietary and fitness regimes footballers undertake but to engage in fun activities such as taking penalties, as if on a Wii, at the great goalkeepers of Molineux’s past. Or, if they prefer, to face up to the shooting power of Hancocks, Steve Bull, Dennis Westcott, Kenny Hibbitt and John Richards. There’s even chance for visitors to be a manager or player and be interviewed by John Motson!
Jez Moxey called it ‘a major new visitor attraction in the city’ and said Wolves were very proud to be the first Midlands club to have such a facility.
“This has been over two years in the planning and development and it’s very much Steve Morgan’s passion and vision that has driven it forward,” he added.
He referred to the ‘reservoir’ of memorabilia that is the foundation to the museum, which has a game zone, history zone and the special Hall of Fame area.
Also among those present from the club last night were manager Stale Solbakken, coach Patrick Weiser, secretary Richard Skirrow, Rachael Heyhoe Flint and directors John Bowater, John Gough and Bob Laslett.
The standard admission charge is £7 but Steve Morgan concluded: “Compare the value for money with a cinema ticket," he said. "Well.....there isn't any comparison. I couldn't get my kids out of here.”
The Museum is open today as a special preview for members before opening for the first time to the general public tomorrow (Saturday).
Please visit www.wolvesmuseum.co.uk for further details.