Jeff Shi's thoughts on the Fosun Group's takeover
Jeff Shi today marked the official launch of Fosun Group’s takeover of Wolves with a vow to immediately strengthen the squad to give it the best chance of promotion.
Jeff, a Fosun Group representative who will be sitting on the Wolves board, spoke to Wolves Player before facing the media alongside CEO Jez Moxey as the new regime swiftly get to work with their ambitions of improving the club.
Jeff confirmed he has already held two meetings with Head Coach Kenny Jackett, and the target is to bring “five to eight players” in to improve the squad.
“I have had two meetings with Kenny, on Friday and on Sunday, and all the talk is about the squad,” he said.
“We both understand that the squad needs some investment and I think we need between five to eight players.
“I like the players here but I think the squad is too small, we need left sided players, a striker, we share all the same opinions about the team.
“I like Kenny – he is a good guy and very professional and I am so grateful for his support with so many rumours in the air.
“He has been very professional to carry on with his work and I will support him and try to provide him with enough players to strengthen the team.
“We want to give a stronger squad for the fans to be fully ready for the new season.”
Jeff has also expanded on the reasons why the Fosun Group decided to take over Wolves, from those made in last week’s statement about the takeover.
He reveals that the Fosun Group had looked at “more than 15 clubs” before making their decision.
“I spent a lot of time looking for a club to invest in Europe,” he explains.
“Over two years I have looked at more than 15 clubs and we found this club which is the right one.
“It fits all of our standards that we wanted for our investment with the criteria here and a very good Academy with so many young talents.
“It is a very clean club and there are very good facilities here.
“We wanted to do something in the UK and I see very good potential to help this club to the Premier League.
“We know it is a strong challenge – we are not naïve, and we know about football.
“We have been preparing for a long time before making this investment and we thought everything over.
“It is going to be hard work – and we will have to work hard – but we are ready.
“We want to get the club promoted and then stay there.”
Jeff has spent several days in Wolverhampton now to re-inforce his view of the importance of Wolves within the local community.
And he has even found time to sample the local ale!
“In business we are an investor so we have to focus on the value of the club which I think is very good,” he added.
“But there are emotional reasons too - personally I am a fan of English football and I know the background and the history of the club.
“I am very happy to be involved in the club, to take the baton from Steve (Morgan) and try to give the club more trophies in the future.
“In China, football is just growing but this is a club which has 139 years of history and has won ten league titles which is amazing and very good.
“It is good for me to know the history here and how much the fans know the club and are so loyal.
“There is so much potential here with a very good structure and base and we can move it on now and do a lot of things to help that.”
There were also words of appreciation for outgoing owner Steve Morgan, and CEO Jez Moxey, who is leaving after 16 years but will stay on for three months during the transitional process.
“I appreciate so much what Steve has done and in the last nine years he has done a lot of good work for the club,” says Shi.
“We have such a good Academy here and he helped the Club into the Premier League for three years which is a very good achievement.
“He did some very good work here so I now face some pressure to do better than him!
“I will try to talk with him and learn with him as we invest into the club, to try and combine the tradition of the club and put in more investment to bring in more players and get the club to a high level in the future.”
On Jez, he added: “I am so sad that Jez has decided to leave. I didn’t want him to leave because he has been here for 16 years and is a good person who could have helped us.
“I do understand it – he has been here for 16 years and maybe this is the time in his career and personal life to move on.
“I understand his choice and he is still helping me now during the transition period and I would thank him for all of his support.
“We need to find a new CEO to manager the club with the daily work.
“I have been here in the UK for almost a month now and I miss my home.
“I will go back to China and I will spend some time here but not all the time.”
And the beer?!
“I asked in my hotel what is the local beer and so they recommended a Banks’s,” he said.
“I now know the brewery is here – and it tasted very good!”
Now it is very much down to business with plans to improve the squad to try and give Wolves the best possible chance of success.
“I am reading all the news every day and the comments from the fans,” added Jeff.
“I understand they are happy for a new owner and anticipate the growth we can bring for the club.
“I can feel the loyalty here – Wolves is the only club in the city and it is the focus of the City which I think is very good.
“I am working hard to bring the fans happiness in the future.
“The most important thing now is the players as I want to find any chance I can to improve the team.
“We will have enough investment – don’t worry about that – but it is about finding a smart way to do it.”