As they enter into a new era of closer than ever integration with parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, Wolves Women are heading towards playing in what will be their sixth decade of competitive football.
Formed in 1975 as Heathfield Rovers, initially as a West Midlands League second division club, they later became Wolverhampton & Wednesbury Tube and then Wolverhampton Ladies before taking the name Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1993.
That final name switch was a good omen as the1993/94 season saw them promoted to the Premier League – then the top flight of the English women’s game – where they spent two seasons before relegation.
In 1999 the club was incorporated under the Companies Act with several influential business people joining the board, among them BBC presenter Jenny Wilkes (Chair) and former England Women’s cricket team captain Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint.
The club evolved a strong youth development programme, several players going on to become senior internationals – Rachel Unitt, Jody Handley and Emily Westwood for England, Kerrie Manley for Wales and Amy McCann for Northern Ireland
Aston Villa’s European Cup-winning captain Dennis Mortimer was appointed manager in 2000 and led the team for three years, narrowly missing out on promotion.
In a landmark move in the 2008/09 season the women’s section was taken on board by Wolverhampton Wanderers FC as part of Wolves Community Trust.
Recent seasons have seen the club promoted and relegated twice, managers James Astle and Tim Dudding both leading successful promotion campaigns.
At junior level the club was awarded a new FA Girls’ Regional Talent Club license in 2016, supporting the identification and development of players with elite potential as part of the England Talent Pathway.
The RTC has seen some talented young players moving through the ranks and making their mark at senior level under the guidance of Technical Director Steve Cullis, proud of his family link to legendary Wolves manager Stan Cullis.
Current first team manager Dan McNamara took over at the start of 2018 after a poor start to the season and led the battle to avoid the drop, but after a hard-fought campaign relegation was confirmed – agonisingly on goal difference.
Further disappointment followed last season, their first in the FA Women’s National League Midlands Division One, as McNamara’s team finished runners-up and so missed out on the only promotion place available.
The 2019/20 campaign will thus be totally focused on taking top spot and promotion, with the longer term aim a return to the upper echelons of the women’s game.
With that ambition firmly in mind the women’s team will benefit from the solid support of their parent club, whose training ground facilities – including sports science, analysis and physiotherapy – they share as part of Wolves’ ‘one club’ ethos.