Wolves' main director gives his extensive thoughts
Wolves main director Jeff Shi from the club’s owners the Fosun Group, has spoken of his confidence in Wolves’ long term future as he gave an interview to Wolves Player HD.
In an extensive interview which can be seen below, Jeff reveals how:
* He believes Wolves now have a squad which could challenge for the play-offs next season, but that the club will look to add further quality in the summer to try and aim for the top two.
* He is confident in the structure and the personnel of Wolves’ management team on and off the pitch, and maintained his trust and confidence in Paul Lambert even through the disappointing spell of results.
* The Club may not be able to continue breaking their transfer record due to Financial Fair Play, but will not shy away from spending big on players with the potential to improve.
* Fosun are aware of how tough a challenge promotion is from the Championship, but believe it can be achieved within the first three years of their tenure.
* He values the support of Wolves’ fans and views it as paramount to the team’s overall chances of success – “without the fans, what is the meaning of the club?”
THE FOSUN STORY SO FAR
It has all been new to me and to Fosun as owners and we only took over late before the start of the season.
So it has been a learning curve for me.
Last summer we had to bring more players in and better players and it is a difficult league.
Everyone in Fosun knows that this is a tough job.
It is a challenge and it was always going to be really difficult to get promoted in the first season.
We took over very late before the season but Fosun have tried to help the club as you can see from the investment.
Chairman Guo (Guangchang) has been over here once, President (Qunbin) Wang has been over here once, and they have spoken to the players and the coach.
They can feel what is happening here, and they can see that there is a very good team here to look after all the investment and to make progress.
Now I think we are fully ready for next season and that we have the players for the future to do better.
Paul has come in and is a very good coach.
Even when we were losing games and some fans wrote emails to me saying ‘Jeff, what is happening?’ I always kept confidence in Paul.
Sometimes on the outside you cannot see but when you are in the club, day to day, you can see how he is working, very hard and very professional and with very good and smart leadership.
His pedigree is impressive and we have to give him time, and I think he is now showing he can do very well here.
We will always communicate and discuss things but the trust and the confidence is there.
I hope he is going to stay with us for a very long time and help us go to the Premier League.
CLUB STRUCTURE/MANAGEMENT TEAM
We already have a good management team in place here.
It is not just about Kevin (Thelwell), Laurie (Dalrymple) and Paul (Lambert) – there is a good coaching team here and a good staff off the field as well.
I can see how people work and how it all works here and there is no reason to change it.
I can see the ambition and the plan and the chemistry they have with us.
Coming to almost one season we can see we have a good management team and that is good to see from the perspective of the owner.
You can see the performance from the team on the pitch but I can also see what happens off the pitch and how hard the coaching staff work every day to try and get a win.
They train, they talk, they analyse and they discuss, and when I am here I see them every day and we talk a lot – it is a team.
And the most important thing is that we are a united team – Paul, Kevin, Laurie, myself – we should work very closely.
It is not easy because I am new to the club, Paul is new to the club, Laurie has a new position, and Kevin has a new boss!
It is a new team, but we have been together now for a few months and I feel like we are a true team and hopefully one which will be together for a long time.
In the Championship there is always Financial Fair Play to think about.
You cannot keep breaking your transfer record or you will be punished!
I am not saying we cannot sign a very expensive player again if he is very good because it is about quality.
Maybe if you buy a player who is expensive, in the future he may be worth more.
Look at Helder (Costa) for example.
We can all see what a great player he is and why we spend a lot of money on him in the Championship but we can all see his potential.
In the future he is going to be worth even more than that.
You want to invest in good players, the same with Cavaleiro as well – we have confidence that these players are going to get better.
In bringing in players it is about that potential to grow but also whether they are the right player for our team.
In some positions we already have some very good players so there is no need to strengthen.
But in other positions we need better players.
So we do need to bring in players to help us in the league next season because then in every position we will be strong.
You cannot get promotion with just a few very good players – you need to be strong throughout the whole team.
We need to keep investing and making the team better but we will be careful with every investment.
I feel the fans can understand what is going on here.
I think we are well on our way towards being a strong team which can go for promotion and I think the fans can realise that.
I think they can see it is going to be very exciting and that we are close to making something happen.
Everyone who loves the club will want to come to games and be together with us to make something very strong and successful.
It has been a good feeling for me, to share the same emotion with the fans.
Whatever achievements we have made, or we will make, belong to them.
Without their support we would be nowhere.
The first question for us has been how to enhance the connection with the fans.
We need to be creative and do something like the promotions we have done for the tickets.
We should let the fans know that we are trying to change – we are trying to improve and to satisfy them.
Sometimes it may just be a small thing – a scarf or a flag – but it is about showing the fans we have the heart or the mind to do something.
We want to make then happy.
IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL
I said at the beginning it is a long term plan, a ten year plan.
We have a huge ambition and we have started from year one and have to move forwards.
You cannot do everything in one day.
It is difficult and I think we need at least three years.
This season it was about trying to compete for the play offs.
Now, with the squad that we have and the wins that we have, I think there is a squad there that would be able to compete for the play offs.
Going into the second year now, we will try to get the squad stronger and maybe with the potential for the top two.
We will try to get promoted next year, and if we cannot, then we should still be very strong in this division like Newcastle and Brighton are this season.
Of course it is the sooner the better, but within three years if we can get promoted I will be very happy.
After that more challenges will come, and we will have to stay there and be as strong as we can.
That is the long term focus, but for us now the focus on how to get promotion.
I have had a lot of talk with Paul and Kevin, and some friends, and some experts from the industry.
I think it is about three things for us going forward.
From my view, I think if you want long term success for your club, and not going up and then coming down, you need a very good owner.
The owner should be wealthy, the owner should be smart, the owner should be committed, but also patient.
You can see in the Championship and the Premier League that owners come and go.
It is not easy to find an owner to look after the club very well.
It is still very early for Fosun but I am confident and ambitious that we can be.
Maybe we can be one of the best owners in the UK?
That is something I feel very strongly about.
Secondly, we also need a very good management team, and every individual in that team should be strong and smart.
I am glad that we have such a team at Wolves.
The third thing, and where I maybe need some feedback from fans, is that hopefully they realise that we are working very hard.
We need support, - fans are our source of revenue, our source of excitement – we work for them.
Without the fans what is the meaning for the club?
Their support, encouragement and inspiration is very important for the team to go forward.
I am very keen to make something happen for them and to bring happiness for them.
Everything feels very positive to me now because we know we are working very hard and that we have no fear.
Sometimes outside the club when you look in you can only see the win, draw or loss.
For us we know what we are trying to do and we know what we can achieve and I think we are heading in the right direction.
For me I don’t care so much about short term results, I care much more about the potential for the team and how they are working because that is what will impact the future.
We know what we are doing now to buy players and make a better team and that will influence the future results, maybe in one year or two years.
We should be proactive, always looking for the future.
Read more at http://www.wolves.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/read-jeff-shi-interview-3662139.aspx#TTft11X3TD1cg7tV.99