Now in his second stint at Wolves, Matt Wild returned to the club in 2017 as club secretary and has progressed to general manager of football operations. Wild has worked for four clubs across five tiers of the English game and brings his wealth of experience to all football matters at Compton Park.
Matt, what are the responsibilities of you and your team at Wolves?
Initially when I joined, I was responsible for the administration primarily – contracts and fixtures, but it’s expanded now, so we’re also looking after the operational aspect at the training ground. There are various teams at Compton. We’ve still got administration, making sure the regulatory requirements are kept on top of, as well as the registrations for players, making sure they’re kept in check – we have around 70 players on professional contracts and 21 players out on loan, so it’s always busy. Also, we’ve got the kit and laundry team who are responsible for professionals, all the way down the academy. We have player care who look after the needs of them and their families. We have security who are day to day, covering home and away matches, so it’s very busy.
Tell us a bit about your background before joining Wolves.
My background is primarily in accountancy because I did that at university. At the time my mother was working in hospitality at Cambridge United, so I used to go and help her. The secretary at the time was looking for someone to help, so I decided to go down that route. After being at Wolves 13 years ago as assistant secretary, I joined Rushden & Diamonds, Peterborough United and Hull City, all in similar roles as club secretary. It’s been a great journey, working at every level from the National League to the Premier League, and I’m proud of my roots. I feel privileged in this position now, but don’t forget where I came from.
What attracted you to the Wolves project?
I think Jeff’s passion. It was evident that he was determined to get this club to the Premier League. He was very succinct in the plan, at the time Wolves were 14th in the Championship, but he was adamant the club would be up in three years. I’d never met anyone like him before, he was so committed, so determined. It was exciting to become part of that. I met my wife 12 years ago and always said that one day we might end up back in Wolverhampton – I always had a feeling I’d be back and it’s great to be part of it.
How do your team embody the Wolves spirit?
We’re very progressive – we want to be the best, with a one pack mentality. We’re very determined, which has shown over the last few years, with the journey we’ve been on. Unity is important too. We love working as a team and we’re always going to do well if we can keep it going. We want to get as high as we possibly can. The first season finishing seventh, the second finishing seventh again, we want to find ways to keep improving. Being bright is crucial – coming up with new ideas for how we can improve season on season by creating marginal gains.
What do you love about working for Wolves?
A lot of it is the people. We really enjoy working with one another. All the players, all the staff, it’s a great place to work. You want to help each other when you work so well together.
What are your objectives for the future at Wolves?
After having the taste of European football, that would be my objective. We want to be playing European football year in, year out. We’ll keep working as hard as we can to get there. We also want a state-of-the-art training ground – we want to build on the facilities we already have. Liverpool and Leicester have recently opened training grounds, so if I was here to witness something like that, it’d be great.
What would you describe as your best achievement while working for Wolves?
Promotion from the Championship in my first full season was a massive achievement. However, for me, I think the Europa League journey we went on. We’d been out of Europe for 40 years, so to get to the quarter finals was fantastic. For an operational perspective, for everything to run so smoothly, with very minor issues we overcame on the way, it was a great achievement.
Finally, tell us something about you that we don’t already know.
If you ask my friends, they’ll say I’m the world’s worst footballer. They find it ironic that I’ve carved out a career in football and I really can’t play football – I’m so bad, and they find it hilarious. I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie, with some of the stress of the work, sometimes it’s nice to go home and chill out with family. My wife and I will watch easy-going TV, Love Island, I’m a Celebrity. It’s great to come in for breakfast and chat about stuff like that with the people at Compton. A lot of them watch it as well, even if they won’t admit it.