Wolves are now such an important asset to Fosun that the club’s owners want to keep it forever, according to executive chairman Jeff Shi.
The club have just finished their third season under the ownership of the Chinese investment giant and Shi believes Wolves have only grown in popularity among the company’s portfolio after the team have gone from the Championship to the Europa League under their leadership.
On Wolves’ part in the Fosun family
“Fosun can have many assets in the portfolio, some of them are bigger than Wolves, but you can see Wolves can still give Fosun a lot of marketing exposure because football is a special thing and it’s special for us.
“I had a discussion with Chairman Guo; I asked him if Wolves win everything in the world will you sell it at a good price, he said: “No, I will keep Wolves in Fosun forever.”
“In Fosun, we have some assets where we’ll buy and sell, but some are very crucial assets which we’ll keep forever, now it looks like Wolves will become a kind of legacy for the Fosun group because it’s so important to us.
“If we keep it forever, it means we will try to keep investing, we will try to make the club better and better in the future, but our aims will not change, because if you want to keep it forever we have to help the club to be the best, else why are we keeping it?”
On Fosun’s plans for Wolves
“When I was at the press conference at the beginning [of Fosun’s ownership], I said it’s a ten-year plan and three years for promotion – but it’s still a ten-year plan.
“We are still on the way and we were very serious when we said that we are aiming to take the club to the highest level in the world within ten years or so. We are reaching something, but I think it’s harder and harder to reach the next level.
“In the first year we were trying to stay in the Championship, second year was about promotion, the third year is about the top ten, top seven, but it’s harder and harder.
“If you want to break into the top six, top four, you’re competing with the big guys, but they have more revenue from their fanbase than you, they can spend more than you regarding Financial Fair Play, and the only way to beat them is to work harder than them, be brighter than them and try to do something different and unique.
“But the key is not only about the money, it’s about the people and if you have the best people in the industry, if you can motivate the people to work harder for the club, then sooner or later we can get there.”
On Wolves’ global brand
“There are problems happening in some clubs and what we can learn is to avoid that and we will have our unique strengths to compete with them; maybe Nuno is one of those, maybe Fosun will be one of them, maybe the fans will be one of them.
“We will have our own identity, not only for the team, for the club. Wolves is the only Wolves in the world and if we can build something it’s harder to be copied and then we will have the base to compete with others for a long time.
“That’s what we are trying to do, and I think it’s also what Nuno is trying to do here.”
On Wolves fan’s support
“Every time I go to the stadium I see the huge support from the fans and sometimes even when I go to away games I can see our away fans are very loud and very noisy.
“In Wolverhampton you can see them, but not only in Wolverhampton, in Liverpool, in London. You can see that Wolves fans are everywhere, so I’m very thankful to them.
“At the beginning, I didn’t realise the fanbase was so big. I remember the attendance for a game was about 18,000, but now I realise more and more fans are awake. They are trying to come back, and you can see when the team is doing better, more fans will come back.
“It is a very good feeling for me, especially because they inspire us to do better. But it’s not only about a job, it’s about how to make the city and the fanbase more dynamic, then I think it’s a two-way thing. If we do better, they help us.
“But we are in a growing period and I can see the fans are really embracing what we are doing and it’s a good feeling.”