Wolverhampton Wanderers’ managing director Laurie Dalrymple has said renovation work at the Premier League club’s Molineux stadium is likely to begin on the Steve Bull Stand in 2020.
The club has long-term plans to expand the 32,000-seat stadium into a 50,000-capacity venue. Dalrymple confirmed in an interview with Sky Sports last week that the club is committed to this renovation plan amid suggestions Wolves may seek to build a new ground on a different site.
Speaking at a recent Wolves Fans Parliament meeting, Dalrymple provided a further update on the project, which looks set to get underway next year.
“There has never been any lack of ambition for us to take the capacity in to the 50,000s or higher but we have to respect what the market dynamics are telling us, and we have to be adopting a more realistic and pragmatic approach that we are comfortable with,” Dalrymple said.
“So, with that in mind, we are presently looking at a further two phases to the project that would take the figure from 31,500 to about 36,000 in phase one, with a view to a further phase lifting it to 45-46,000 in phase two.”
It had initially been suggested that work would begin on the iconic Sir Jack Hayward Stand, also known as the South Bank, but it appears that the Steve Bull Stand (pictured), the oldest structure currently in place at the stadium, is now first in line for development.
“We said the South Bank might be developed first but, in all honesty, we have had a slight shift in opinion,” Dalrymple said. “From a commercial perspective and for us to maximise all aspects of the stadium, as quickly as possible, it makes more sense to develop the Steve Bull first. Additionally, we have some football regulations, such as the accommodation of disabled supporters to factor in to our stadium plans, as well as how we manage and execute our away fans segregation and location.
“Where we place away fans here is causing some frustration, it’s fair to say, as when a club brings over 2,000 fans, there’s little we can do other than put them in the Steve Bull Lower. This is a situation, that we will actively seek to improve sooner, rather than later.”
Dalrymple admitted that this summer would come too early for work to begin but the close season of 2020 is feasible. The redevelopment of the South Bank would potentially begin in 2022.
The renovation of the Steve Bull Stand would increase its capacity from 9,500 to 11,000, with the stadium’s overall capacity to rise to 46,000 once all work is complete.
The 2018-19 season marks Wolves’ first top-flight campaign in seven years and the club has enjoyed an impressive first season back in the Premier League, currently sitting seventh in the table. Yesterday’s 1-0 win at Bristol City also saw the club progress to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 2003.