Ahead of Wolves' return to major European competition after almost 40 years away, the club is aiming to build a larger fanbase both at home and abroad.
At the End of Season Dinner and Awards last week, managing director Laurie Dalrymple announced plans to expand Molineux over the coming years after this season saw more than 30,000 supporters at the ground for every top-flight game for the first time in 70 years.
Executive chairman Jeff Shi explained the success of Wolves on the pitch is key to the club becoming more attractive to fans across the world, especially with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side heading to China this summer for their debut appearance in the Premier League Asia Trophy.
On the redevelopment of Molineux
“Laurie spoke about the future plan for the stadium and I think it will happen sooner rather than later. Before we formally start the job, we have to make everything ready, so it’s about the funding, about a plan, about capacity, about how the whole designing for the new stadium, so I think it takes time.
“I cannot guarantee it will happen in the summer, but I can guarantee we are working hard to be ready for that, but it will happen.
“We believe we can reach a capacity of more than 45,000 or 50,000 in the future. But it’s more complicated than just saying we will do it, we have to make sure every part of the plan is in place, so maybe within the next three or four months we will know more about the timing.”
On building the fanbase overseas
“We are going to China this summer and we are increasing our fan base in Portugal and in Mexico and we are at a good moment to have more global fans, but in my view, if we want more fans in the future we have to win something.
“The performance of the first team is still very important and if we can go to Europe, if we can win some trophies, it will be very important to attract fans around the world.
“At Anfield, I saw a lot of Asian fans in the stadium, and it means a lot to me because for teams like Liverpool it took a long time for them to go from a local club to the stage they are at now.
“That’s the same for us. It’s cannot happen just by one day, we need to work every year and we need the performance from the first-team. But in the meantime, our team will go to Asia, to Africa, to South America, but it takes time.
“I can see the trend is going very fast, but our goal is not just about to make 100,000 or 200,000 fans more, our goal is to try to reach the largest fan base in the world. In the future, we have to compare ourselves with Liverpool, with Man City, with Man United and if you are thinking like this, it’s still a long way to go, but I’m happy to see the growth now.”
On Premier League Asia Trophy
“We have many things to do in China and it will be a very busy schedule for all of us. While we’re there we are doing something new; for example, we will have a flagship store in Shanghai and sell all the things about Wolves.
“We will also have a new fashion product line to only sell in China and I think we will maybe do some fashion shows there, so it’s not only about the team, it’s about the trip to China.
“We will do something around the concept of Wolves to try and make the brand of Wolves wider. It’s not only about the team, not only about the Premier League, it’s also about the products in your life, for example, you can wear some t-shirt from Wolves, you can wear a hat, and I think we will do many events in China to engage the fans there.
“Although there are many things to do [off the pitch], Nuno is very serious about the two games and he thinks the games will be a part of the training sessions to be prepared for the new season.
“We will take it very seriously, so it’s a very busy two weeks and I’m looking forward to that.”