The Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is a professional association soccer club, based in Wolverhampton city, in West Midlands, England. The team is most commonly referred to as the Wolves, and it was one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888.
Initially formed as St. Luke’s FC in 1877, the clubb has been playing at the Molineux Stadium since 1889, and has been competing in the Premier League since they won a promotion into it in 2018. So fairly recent, but before that the team was fairly within the top few teams, having won the FA Cup four times, and finishing as runner-ups in many.
Apart from having an awesome name, the Wolverhampton Wanderers have a striking logo with a wolf’s head on top of a yellow-gold background. Plus, they are very popular amongst their fans, and are quite well renowned throughout Europe, and even worldwide.
The team has a long-standing rivalry with other West Midland clubs, which makes sense due to the location. But their main rivalry is the Black Country Derby, along with West Bromwich Albion.
If you’re wanting to learn some of the basics about the team, or you’re already a fan and are looking to expand your knowledge, in order to be a proper connoisseur, then stick around.
In this complete guide, we will not only go through the basic key facts about the Wolverhampton Wanderers, we will also go through their history, their trophies, their players, and more. Let’s get right into it!
Before we flood you with information over the Wolves’s club, let’s start out with some basic key facts that all true fans of the team know pretty much by heart. Here they are:
- Location: Wolverhampton, in West Midlands, England.
- Founded: 1877
- Ground: Molineux Stadium
- Nickname: The Wolves, or alternatively, The Wanderers.
- Kit Color: yellow and black
- Owner: Fosun International
- League: Premier League
- Current Manager: Bruno Lage
- Current Captain: Conor Coady
When the club was first founded in 1877, the team used a field in the Blakenhall area, on Goldthorn Hill, which could accommodate around 2000 spectators.
In 1879 the team relocated to John Harper’s Field, on Lower Villiers Street.
After two years, they moved to Dudley Road, opposite the Fighting Cocks Inn. This is where they played their first FA Cup in 1883, and where they had their first Football League fixture in 1888. The site could initially only hold 2500 spectators, but it was developed to hold up to 10,000.
In 1889, the club moved to Molineux stadium, which has remained its main home ground ever since, and continues to be so to the present day. The name comes from the Molineux House that was built in the area by Benjamin Molineux, a local merchant in the 18th century.
In 1889, the Northampton Brewery Company purchased the grounds and rented them to the city’s soccer club. The site was renovated to have a higher capacity. Then in 1923 the freehold was bought by the Wolves, and more ground improvements were made.
Ever since the league’s inception in 1888, the Wolverhampton Wanderers are fourth in regards to the total points gathered across all divisions.
This means that only Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester United are above them. This in itself is proof that the Wolves are a team to be taken seriously, as they are big contenders to be watched.
But just in case you need to pinpoint further proof, here is a summary of all the main trophies they have collected throughout the years:
- Football League First Division: 1953-54, 1957-58, 1958-59
- EFL Championship/Football League Second Division: 1931-32, 1976-77, 2008-09, 2017-18
- EFL League One/Football League Third Division: 1923-24, 1988-89, 2013-14
- Football League Fourth Division: 1987-88
- UEFA Cup: runners-up in 1971-72
- FA Cup: 1892-93, 1907-08, 1948-49, 1959-60
- Football League Cup: 1973-74, 1979-80
- FA Charity Shield: 1949, 1954, 1959, 1960
- Football League Trophy: 1987-88
- Football League War Cup: 1942
- Texaco Cup: 1970-71
Beginnings and the Football League (1879-1893):
The Wolverhampton Wanderers were first founded in 1877, by John Baynton and John Brodie. However, back then the club was named St.Luke’s FC, due to the founders being pupils from the St Luke’s Church School, in Blakenhall.
The beginnings were humble, two students were presented with a soccer ball by their headmaster and a few initial matches here and there.
Later, in August of 1879, the club merged with the soccer section of a local cricket club that was called the Blakenhall Wanderers, and the team henceforth became the Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Wolves as we know them.
They relocated to Dudley Road, and in 1884 they won their first trophy: the Wrekin Cup. As they were now a professional soccer team, they became one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, and they then played in the first round of fixtures ever staged.
Later on, they moved to Molineux Stadium, which became their official home ground, and which remains as such to the present day.
FA Cup and World War Years (1893-1950):
In 1893, the Wolves won their first ever FA Cup, and they reached the final again in 1896. After a few victories, they ended up dropping to the Second Division, and on both ends of the First World War, they struggled to get back into First.
In fact, in 1923, they dropped down even further, and ended up in the Third Division, although they won it in their first attempt and went straight back up to Second.
After the Second World War, the Wolves were back in the First Division, but they were suffering failures as they just couldn’t snag up a victory. However, once Cullis became manager of the team, the Wolves won another FA Cup, and got back into the top leaderboard, with their performance back on track.
Stan Cullis Era (1950-1960):
The 1950s were the best years for the Wolverhampton Wanderers. With Billy Wright as their captain, they claimed the league championship in the 153-54 season, and they won more titles in successive years.
Wolves were known for their success, and for staging high-profile floodlit friendlies against other top soccer clubs around the world.
In fact, the Wolves were one of the first clubs in Britain to invest in floodlighting, investing £10,000 in 1953.
They also grew in popularity and their reputation soared, especially with them defeating the Spanish Real Madrid soccer team in both the home and away friendly matches, within the 1957-58 season. Pretty impressive!
Cup Success (1960-1980):
The 1960s started with the Wolves’ fourth FA Cup success, and they almost achieved the first League and FA Cup double of the 20th century, within English soccer. However, during this era, the Wolverhampton Wanderers began to go downhill.
After their many victories, Cullis was fired after his sixteen years as manager, after a bad start to the 1964-65 season. The club was relegated down to the Second Division, which was a low blow considering how long they had managed to stay on top.
After two seasons, they went back up to the First Division. During this 1967 season, they also played a mini-season in North America, as part of a United Soccer Association League, which was importing clubs from Europe and South America. They played as “Los Angeles Wolves”, and they won the Western Division, winning the championship.
They returned to being one of the top soccer teams in England too, with a period of victories under Bill McGarry, and with them qualifying for the new UEFA Cup.
The Financial Crisis, Downs, and Ups (1980-1990):
In 1979, a multi-million-pound rebuilding of the Molineux Street Stand completely left the club in financial ruin for the entirety of the next decade. It didn’t help that this also coincided with national and local economies going into a huge recession.
The club was saved from liquidation, just about, when it was purchased by Derek Dougan, a former player. This was financed by Mahmud and Mohammad Bhatti, two Saudi brothers, from the Allied Properties company.
This allowed The Wolves to go back into the First Division, led by Graham Hawkins as their manager. However, not enough money was invested into the club, and the team suffered through three relegations, as well as going through a few different managers, causing instability.
In 1986, the Wolverhampton City Council purchased the stadium and the surrounding land, while a local developer paid off all of the clubs’ debts. In return, they received planning permission to develop the land next to the stadium.
In the 1986-87 season, the Wolves were down to the Fourth Division, a pretty big low. However, Graham Turner, the new manager, saw them score a total of 306 goals, a new record for the club.
The Hayward Years (1990-2007):
In 1990, the club was purchased by Jack Hayward, a lifelong fan of the team. Immediately, an extensive redevelopment of Molinewux was funded, turning it into a modern all-seater stadium.
The funding then focused on improving the team in regards to the players themselves, hoping this would get them back into the Premier League. However, it wasn’t until 2003 that the Wolves were finally promoted back to the top, and they were then relegated back down almost instantly.
Promotion, Relegation, and More (2007-2016):
Mick McCarthy, seeing that the club wasn’t quite in shape to remain in the Premier League, began to rebuild the team. In 2007, the club was then bought by Steve Morgan, and after two years the team finally got back into the Premier League, as the Football League Championship winners.
Sadly, the victory was short-lived, with the team suffering relegation yet again. Stale Solbakken became the club’s first overseas manager, but he was replaced by Dean Saunders after just 6 months.
Saunders, however, could do nothing for the team, which was relegated down to the EFL League One, a level they hadn’t played in since 1989.
In 2013, Kenny Jackett was appointed to the Wolves, and he led them back into the EFL Championship, all while setting a new club record of 103 records, which was also a record for the most points accumulated by any team during a Tier 3 season.
Fosun Era and Present-Day (2016-Present Day):
In July of 2016, Fosun International (a Chinese investment group), was confirmed to be interested in the club, after them having bought the parent company.
The club went through a few head coaches, but eventually, in 2016, Nuno Espirito Santo (former boss of the FC Porto), was appointed to the Wolves, and they went on to win the 2017-18 Championship title. So after 6 years, they finally returned to the Premier League in full force.
They earned a place within the European campaign, had quite a few victories, and overall established themselves as a strong contender once again.
In the 2020-21 season, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the club played matches with almost no crowds, and they also lost their best striker: Raul Jimenez, due to an injury.
Nuno Espirito Santo left the club, by mutual consent, in 2021, and Bruno Lage has become the replacement and is currently in charge of the Wolves.
Going through the Wolverhampton Wanderers history can be a bit of a roller coaster, and we’re aware that it can be tricky to follow and keep track of all the dates and events. After all, soccer history is full of drama and changes!
So to make things a little easier, and in order to sum the whole history a little, here is a simple summary of the main events within the Wolves’ timeline:
- 1888: The Wolverhampton Wanderers are founded
- 1892-93: The Wolves win their first FA Cup
- 1906: relegated down to Division Two
- 1923: Relegated to Division Three
- 1931-32: Promoted back up to Division One
- 1948: FA Cup Winners for the third time
- 2013: Relegated down to League One
- 2017-18: Promoted to Premier League
Club Net Worth
Currently, in present-day, the club net worth of the Wolverhampton Wanderers is around $9.14 billion.
The home stadium for the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is the Molineux Stadium, located in Wolverhampton. It has housed the Wolves since the year 1889 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
It was the first stadium ever to be built for the use of a Football League Club, which makes it pretty important historically-wise, and it is also considered to be one of the pride and joys of the team.
It has a capacity for 32,050 spectators, as it was expanded in 2011 in order to be more modern and worthy of present-day soccer matches.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers have had a few owners throughout their history. Nowadays, they are owned by the Fosun Group, an International Chinese company.
Although the Wolverhampton Wanderers have had their ups and downs throughout their history, they have mostly managed to establish themselves as one of the top soccer clubs in England, with a good reputation at an international level. This, in great part, is due to the players themselves.
So let’s take a look at some of the most notable players that have given the Wolves the success they boast of nowadays, and that all fans should know about:
All Time Top Scorer:
The all-time scorer for the Wolves team is Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, with a grand total of 193 goals (he is now retired). In the second place, we have Kenny Miller, with 178 goals (also now retired). And in third place, we have Raul Jimenez with 110 goals, who still currently plays for the Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Conor Coady is the current captain of the Wolverhampton Wanderers, and he also plays for the team as a center-back. He has been there for the last six seasons and is a huge influence on the team both on and off the pitch.
The goalkeepers you need to remember for the Wolves team are Jose Sa, John Ruddy, and Andreas Sondergaard.
Some of the top Wolves defenders are Nelson Semedo, Conor Coady, Rayan AitNouri, Willy Boly, and Max Kilman.
Strikers to remember for the Wolves are Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore, Fabio Silva, Rafa Mir, Pedro Neto, and Daniel Podence.
The current manager for the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is Nuno Espiritu Santo, who took up the mantle in 2017.
Previous managers include Paul Lambert (from2016 to 2017), Walter Zenga (in 2016), Kenny Jackett (from 2013 to 2016), and many more. The team has been through quite a few management changes since it was first founded!
Bruno Lage is currently the head coach for the Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Alex Silva is the assistant coach for the Wolves team.
The Wolves’ Kit
The team has two different kits, one for home matches, and one for playing away from home (much like all other soccer teams). Let’s describe them to you:
The Wolverhampton Wanderers colors are yellow (some refer to it as more of a gold color), and black. The shirts also feature the Wolf head logo of the club.
The away kit is like a reverse of the home colors. So the uniform is black, with some gold trimmings, and of course, the wolf head logo to proudly show off the club badge.
The first logo that the Wolves team sported as a badge was the Wolverhampton City Council coat of arms. In the late 1960s, however, the team introduced their own club badge which was a single leaping wolf, later on, redesigned to be three leaping wolves.
IN 1979, the badge became a single wolf head, which was re-designed in 2002.
In 2019, the club actually won a legal challenge by Peter Davies, a 71-year old building industry manager, as he claimed he drew the wolf head logo as a schoolboy and entered it into a competition. However, he lost this claim, and the Wolves kept their iconic Wolf head untouched.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers Club Academy is for youth players under the age of 23, and they currently compete in Division 2 of the Premier League 2.
We’ve covered quite a lot of information about the Wolves, so just to sum it up, here are some fun facts you will want to remember:
- The highest attendance recorded in a Wolves match was 61,315 when they played Liverpool for the FA Cup fourth round in 1939.
- Wolves are the top fourth in the all-time table of points since the league’s inception in 1888.
- The Wolves are the eighth most successful club, right behind Chelsea.