The Inside Pack | Jeff Shi on a successful year, the transfer period and Covid’s impact

In his own words, executive chairman Jeff Shi gives a glimpse into life behind the scenes at Molineux and Compton Park ahead of Wolves’ 2020/21 season.

A SUCCESSFUL 2019/20

At the beginning of last season, my personal goal for the first team was to surpass the points tally of the 2018/19 season, but I said to myself it would be tough. In a Premier League debut season, when you reach the top seven, you actually make the next season a very hard challenge.

I’m happy and proud of our team because they have achieved it and we’ve also got to the last eight of the Europa League – that’s not easy, which broke a long-term record for the history of Wolves.

Also, we have seen many unforgettable moments, some obvious improvements from our players, and, clearly, we’ve had a more balanced squad than before.

They have been playing hard, training hard, working hard, and they are very focused. It’s impeccable when you see how the whole team, from players to staff, prepare every match.

HARD WORK STILL GOING STRONG

The first-team have been playing for more than one calendar year, so it’s important for them to take a break, even if the break is not that long, only several weeks.

In the meantime, our Academy have come back to work. I have been to their training camp several times. The Academy staff and players are very passionate and dedicated.

It’s been a long time to get back, the grass smells so good, and only when you put your feet on the pitch, you feel normal life is getting real. 

If you look back at the last four years, every season we have made some progress. It’s just a small step followed by a small step, consistently, continuously, persistently, going to the summit.
Jeff Shi

INTO A BUSY TRANSFER PERIOD

The transfer window is now open until October, which is a long window. We’ll keep working hard, but we will stick to our principles and not rush into anything that isn’t right for us.

We will wait and when the time comes, we will go for it, but if we don’t see a perfect target, we have to wait – we still have two months.

We have our own targets, but the targets that the media are talking about are 99 per cent not true. Of course, I understand our fans are keen to know the progress, but I want to assure them that we are committed to any possibility to improve our squad.

Our recruitment team are not resting, they are working night and day, and I’m deeply involved in any transfer discussion and decision. For the next two months, 50 per cent of my job will be about recruitment.

COVID’S EFFECT ON LONG-TERM PROJECT

Covid-19 has been a big issue for us all. It’s an issue that has been extremely tough to handle, but we have tried our best to rise to the challenge. We’ve tried to make the staff safe; not only about their health, but also financially.

We tried to give our players the environment to make them feel safe, make them feel looked after, as well as give the coaches and staff a better environment to allow them to do their jobs to the best.

In the long-term, our aims are still the same. There has not been any change. Even in a really big pandemic that could go on for more than a year, that time frame is still a small part of our 10-year, 20-year plan. 

For our long-term aims, I’ve repeated it many times, we want to be an elite team in the world, and also a top brand in the world, but we are not in a rush. We want to do things steadily, step-by-step, to build the club to that level. 

If you look back at the last four years, including the first season when I came here in the Championship in 2016/17, every season we have made some progress. It’s just a small step followed by a small step, consistently, continuously, persistently, going to the summit. Time is not our enemy; in fact, time is our friend, our best friend.

It’s not all about short term results, it’s about getting closer to the final goal of ours; sometimes they match each other, sometimes they differ.

Read more from Jeff:

Shi on managerial structure, the Wolves brand and the Academy

Shi on the journey, new businesses and Molineux development