Laurie Dalrymple, managing director at Wolverhampton Wanderers, has insisted the Premier League club is committed to developing its Molineux stadium amid suggestions that a separate, purpose-built site would be explored.
Molineux has a current capacity of 32,000 and Wolves hope to expand the ground so it can hold up to 50,000 spectators. The ambitious redevelopment plans have been outlined by Fosun International, the Chinese conglomerate that has owned the club since 2016.
The 2018-19 season marks Wolves’ first top-flight campaign in seven years. The club has enjoyed an impressive first season back in the Premier League and currently sits seventh going into tonight’s home match against Newcastle United.
Demand for tickets has been high, with some 2,500 fans currently on the waiting list for season tickets. With this in mind, along with ambitious plans for on-field growth, the club is confident that a 50,000-seat stadium would be a realistic aim.
The first stage of the project would involve the redevelopment of the iconic Sir Jack Hayward Stand, also known as the South Bank, into a single-tier, 10,000-seat stand.
Wolves chairman Jeff Shi has previously hinted that a new purpose-built stadium could be explored but Dalrymple has insisted that the club’s future is at Molineux.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Dalrymple said: “I’ve got no doubt whatsoever that we’ve got enough space here to stay at Molineux and I see Molineux as being intrinsically linked, both with this club’s history, but similarly with the club’s future as well.
“I’m spearheading that project work and we’re working closely with a number of key consultants, from architects to surveyors. We see a benchmark that this club could grow to a 45,000-50,000 capacity in the medium to long term if we continue on the trajectory that we’re continuing on.
“So that means bringing the right players in, getting the right development through the academy, getting the right results, performing at the right end of the table, having consolidated our position in the short term. And if we do that, we can see there is a clear pathway that will take us through to something that will be in the high 40,000s.”
Shi also said that a 40,000 to 50,000-seat stadium would not be a problem, describing Wolves, which won three league titles during the 1950s, as a “sleeping giant”.
Dalrymple added that discussions have taken place with the local council, as well as the University of Wolverhampton and other local stakeholders regarding the club’s plans for Molineux.
“At 32,000, this stadium is already putting a huge pressure on the local area in terms of the roads and transport infrastructure,” he said. “So if we are going to take this stadium to 45,000 plus, we’re going to need a huge amount of support from many different providers within the area.”