Molineux Stadium

Last updated

Molineux
Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, 2018.jpg
Molineux Stadium in 2018
Molineux Stadium
Full nameMolineux Stadium
LocationWaterloo Road, Wolverhampton
Coordinates 52°35′25″N2°07′49″W / 52.59028°N 2.13028°W / 52.59028; -2.13028 Coordinates: 52°35′25″N2°07′49″W / 52.59028°N 2.13028°W / 52.59028; -2.13028
Public transit MidlandMetroGenericSymbol.svg Wolverhampton St. George's (0.6 mi)
National Rail logo.svg Wolverhampton (0.7 mi)
Owner Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Operator Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Capacity 32,050 [1]
Field size105 by 68 metres (115 by 74 yd) [1]
Surface GrassMaster
Construction
Built1889
Opened1889
Renovated1978–1979; 1991–1993; 2011–2012
ArchitectCurrent design - Alan Cotterell Partnership
Redevelopment - AFL [2]
Main contractorsCurrent design - Alfred McAlpine
Redevelopment - Buckingham Group
Tenants
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. (1889–present)
Website
The Billy Wright statue outside Molineux BillyWrightStatue.jpg
The Billy Wright statue outside Molineux

Molineux Stadium ( /ˈmɒlɪnj/ MOL-i-new) in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England, has been the home ground of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club since 1889. The first stadium built for use by a Football League club, [3] it was one of the first British grounds to have floodlights installed and hosted some of the earliest European club games in the 1950s.

Contents

At the time of its multi-million pound renovation in the early 1990s, Molineux was one of the biggest and most modern stadia in England, though it has since been eclipsed by other ground developments. The stadium has hosted England internationals and, more recently, England under-21 internationals, as well as the first UEFA Cup Final in 1972.

Molineux is a 32,050 all-seater stadium, but it consistently attracted much greater attendances when it was mostly terracing. The record attendance is 61,315. Plans were announced in 2010 for a £40 million redevelopment programme to rebuild and link three sides of the stadium to increase capacity to 38,000 seats. The first stage of this project, the Stan Cullis Stand, was completed in 2012. The next two stages were postponed because the club prioritised funds for development of the youth academy. [4] There are provisional plans for a longer term redevelopment of every stand that could create a 50,000 capacity. [5]

Stadium

The stadium is a few hundred yards north of Wolverhampton city centre, at the far side of the city's ring road, and is a prominent building due to its size in an area with predominantly low-rise buildings.

It consists of four stands:

The Steve Bull Stand (formerly the John Ireland Stand), backs onto Molineux Street. The Lower tier typically holds away fans. The Sir Jack Hayward Stand (formerly the Jack Harris Stand). Behind it is the Molineux Subway, which on a matchday, thousands of fans pass through to get to the Jack Hayward Stand, affectionately known as 'The South Bank', it is a single tier, safe standing terrace and is where the loudest of the wolves fans are. The Molineux Subway was renovated in 2019 and is decorated with Wolves' history; Past Managers, legendary players, and a record of Wolves' major honours. The Stan Cullis Stand or The North Bank is the most recently renovated stand and backs onto the car park. It houses the Wolves Megastore. Finally the Billy Wright Stand holds the team dressing rooms, media booths and the family section . Both the Billy Wright and Stan Cullis Stands feature statues of each man in front of them and on 14 June 2018, a statue of Sir Jack Hayward was also unveiled near to the stand bearing his name.

The total seated capacity of the stands is approximately 31,500, with a temporary seating area lifting the present official capacity to 32,050. The current stadium design stems from the early 1990s when it was extensively redeveloped to become a modern all-seater venue in accordance with the Taylor Report, which required British football stadia to provide seating for all those attending.

In the days before seating regulations, the ground could hold more than 60,000 spectators; the record attendance for a match at the ground is 61,315 for a Football League First Division game against Liverpool on 11 February 1939. The 1940s and 1950s saw average attendances for seasons regularly exceed 40,000, coinciding with the club's peak on the field.

Molineux has hosted England internationals. The first was a 6–1 win over Ireland on 7 March 1891. England again beat Ireland, this time 4–0, on 14 February 1903 and lost to Wales 2–1 on 5 February 1936. The last was a 5–2 defeat of Denmark in a 1958 World Cup qualifier on 5 December 1956. It has also hosted four England under-21 internationals (in 1996, 2008, 2014 and 2018) and, in 2005, hosted some European Youth Championship qualifying matches.

On 24 June 2003, Molineux also became Wolverhampton's biggest live concert venue, with Bon Jovi performing in front of 34,000 people.

Up until May 2011, the ground had a capacity of 29,400. However the 5,500 Stan Cullis Stand was knocked down for redevelopment and 230 seats in the lower tier of the Steve Bull Stand were taken out as part of the process taking temporary capacity down to 23,670. The lower tier of the new North Bank (holding 4,000) was opened for use in September 2011 for the team's second home game of the season, which took the stadium capacity up to 27,670. The upper tier on the new stand (3,700 seats) was completed by the start of the 2012–13 season, taking the overall capacity of the stadium up to 31,700. However the club have delayed the second phase of the redevelopment in rebuilding the Steve Bull Stand. Following relegation from the top flight in 2012, the South-West Corner was dismantled until regaining promotion six years later.

History

Origins

The Molineux name originates from Benjamin Molineux, a successful local merchant (and a distant relative of the now extinct Earls of Sefton) who, in 1744, purchased land on which he built Molineux House (later converted to the Molineux Hotel) and on which the stadium would eventually be built. The estate was purchased in 1860 by O.E. McGregor, who converted the land into a pleasure park open to the public. Molineux Grounds, as it was titled, included a wide range of facilities including an ice rink, a cycling track, a boating lake, and, most crucially, an area for football.

The grounds were sold to the Northampton Brewery in 1889, who rented its use to Wolverhampton Wanderers, who had previously played at Dudley Road. After renovating the site, the first-ever league game was staged on 7 September 1889 in a 2–0 victory over Notts County before a crowd of 4,000.

Wolves bought the freehold in 1923 for £5,607 (£303,338.70 in 2018 prices [6] ) and soon set about constructing a major grandstand on the Waterloo Road side (designed by Archibald Leitch). In 1932, the club also built a new stand on the Molineux Street side and followed this by adding a roof to the South Bank two years later. The stadium finally now had four stands, which formed Molineux for the next half-century. The South Bank Stand terraces were one of the largest goal stands in Britain. [7] [8]

In 1953, the club became one of the first in Britain to install floodlights, at a cost of around £10,000 (£274,000 in 2018 prices [9] ). The first-ever floodlit game was held on 30 September 1953, as Wolves won 3–1 against South Africa. The referee for this match was Mr. F Read of Willenhall. The addition of the floodlights opened the door for Molineux to host a series of midweek friendlies against teams from across the globe. In the days prior to the formation of the European Cup and international club competitions, these games were highly prestigious and gained huge crowds and interest, the BBC often televising such events. A new taller set of floodlights were later installed in 1957, at a cost of £25,000 (£595,000 in 2018 prices [10] ), as the stadium prepared to host its first European Cup games.

Further redevelopment and decline

In 1958, plans were unveiled to rebuild Molineux into a 70,000 capacity stadium during the early 1960s, but these were rejected by the local council and there were no major changes at the stadium for another 20 years.

The Molineux Street Stand (by now all-seater) failed to meet the standards of the 1975 Safety of Sports Grounds Act. The club set about building a new stand behind the existing one, on land where housing had been demolished. The new stand, designed by architects Atherden and Rutter, had a 9,348 capacity, equipped with 42 executive boxes, although sporting red seats in contrast to the club's traditional colours. When the construction was complete, the old stand lying in front was demolished, leaving the stand some 100 ft from the touchline. This new stand, named the John Ireland Stand (after the then-club president), was opened on 25 August 1979 at the start of a First Division game against Ipswich Town. [11] This was intended as the first phase of a complete reconstruction of the ground, which would have given it a 40,000 capacity by 1984 and made it the first completely rebuilt stadium in postwar league football. However, the John Ireland Stand was the only phase of this project which would become reality. Further redevelopment was still a decade away. [12]

In 1981, plans were unveiled for further redevelopment at the stadium which would have cost more than £4million and involved five-a-side football pitches, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and an eight-lane running track. However, these were soon scrapped due to rising debts. [13]

The John Ireland Stand (renamed as The Steve Bull Stand in 2003 [14] ), completed in 1979, had cost £2.5 million (£13,675,000 in 2018 prices [15] ) and had been one of the most expensive developments at any football ground in the U.K. The cost of the stand's construction plunged Wolves deep into debt and the club narrowly avoided liquidation in 1982, when it was taken over by a group fronted by former player Derek Dougan.

By the time Wolves slid into the Football League Fourth Division in 1986, the John Ireland Stand and the South Bank terrace were the only sections of the ground in use, after new safety laws implemented following the Bradford City stadium fire forced the closure of the North Bank and Waterloo Road Stand, which had become very dilapidated. Additionally, attendances had fallen due to the club's on-the-field decline.

The club's perilous financial situation meant the stadium fell into ruin, with no funding either for repairs or to move the pitch. The club was saved from folding in August 1986 when Wolverhampton Council bought the ground for £1,120,000 (£3,236,800 in 2018 prices [16] ), along with the surrounding land, while Gallagher Estates, in conjunction with the Asda Superstore chain, agreed to pay off the outstanding debt – subject to building and planning permission for a superstore being granted. Although the stadium continued in use, the disused sections were never reopened.

Present-day stadium

The takeover of the club and stadium by Sir Jack Hayward in 1990 paved the way for redevelopment, which was further prompted by legislation following the Taylor Report that outlawed terraces which affected Premier League and Division One stadiums from the 1993–94 season. The North Bank terrace was demolished in October 1991 and the new Stan Cullis Stand was completed in August 1992, in time for the 1992–93 season. Next came the demolition of the Waterloo Road Stand, with the new Billy Wright Stand opening in August 1993. The final phase of the redevelopment came in December 1993, when the new Jack Harris Stand was opened on the site of the South Bank terrace.

The newly renovated stadium was officially opened on 7 December 1993, in a friendly with Honvéd, the Hungarian team who had been beaten in one of Molineux's most famous original floodlit friendlies.

Steve Bull stand, Molineux Stadium, 28 April 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. EFL Championship, Molineux Stadium.jpg
Steve Bull stand, Molineux Stadium, 28 April 2018

In 2003, the John Ireland Stand was renamed the Steve Bull Stand (in honour of the club's record goalscorer) and, at the same time, the south-west corner of the ground was filled with 900 temporary seats, known as the Graham Hughes Stand, which, until their removal in the summer of 2006, raised the Molineux capacity to 29,400. [17] This seating area – now officially named the Wolves Community Trust Stand – was again added on the club's return to the top flight in 2009, which lifted the capacity to 29,195 before the club began its redevelopment of the stadium in summer 2011. In August 2015, the Jack Harris Stand was renamed the Sir Jack Hayward Stand in honour of Steve Morgan's predecessor as the club's owner, who had died earlier that year. [18]

The record attendance for the stadium in its current configuration is 31,746, which was achieved against Liverpool on 23 January 2020 in the Premier League. [19]

Current redevelopment

The partially built Stan Cullis stand in October 2011 Wolvesnewstand.jpg
The partially built Stan Cullis stand in October 2011

Plans were announced in May 2010 to begin an extensive multi-million pound programme of redevelopment to enlarge the stadium's capacity and develop its facilities. [5] A full application for planning permission was submitted in September 2010, [20] and granted three months later. [21]

Phase 1 of this process was confirmed in February 2011, [22] [23] and commenced on 23 May 2011 as demolition of the Stan Cullis Stand began. In its place a new two-tier stand (seating 7,798), complete with mega-store, museum, café and hospitality facilities, was planned for the 2012–13 season which extended around into the north-east corner. [22]

This phase, costing an estimated £18 million, was carried out by contractors the Buckingham Group. [24] By September 2011 the lower tier was opened to fans, permitting a temporary stadium capacity of 27,828. [25] [26] The stand was fully opened on 11 August 2012 for the club's first fixture of the 2012–13 season, [27] creating a new official stadium capacity of 31,700.

Phase 2 will be the rebuilding of the Steve Bull Stand over a two-season period. Work was initially set to begin in summer 2012, [5] but has since been postponed with no revised start date yet set. [28] In January 2013 club owner Steve Morgan stated the club would prioritise the redevelopment of its academy facilities over the stadium. [29] At the conclusion of this stage stadium capacity would reach around 36,000 and see this stand connected to the new Stan Cullis Stand. Proceeding with this second stage would raise the redevelopment spend to in excess of £40 million.

Phase 3 is subject to demand and finance, but is planned to be the construction of a new top-tier on the Sir Jack Hayward Stand, that will connect it to the new Steve Bull Stand. This would bring capacity up to around 38,000.

Phase 4 is a tentative plan to completely redevelop the Billy Wright Stand in a move that would bring capacity to 50,000. However, no planning permission has yet been sought for this phase and it remains only a potential, rather than planned, development with no timeframe in place.

See also

Bibliography

Matthews, Tony (2008). Wolverhampton Wanderers: The Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN   978-1-85983-632-3.

Related Research Articles

Billy Wright (footballer, born 1924) English footballer

William Ambrose Wright CBE, was an English footballer, who played as a centre half. He spent his entire club career at Wolverhampton Wanderers. The first footballer in the world to earn 100 international caps, Wright also holds the record for longest unbroken run in competitive international football. He also made a total of 105 appearances for England, captaining them a record 90 times, including during their campaigns at the 1950, 1954 and 1958 World Cup finals.

Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. Association football club in England

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, commonly known as Wolves, is a professional association football club based in the city of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, England. Formed as St. Luke's F.C. in 1877, the club has played at Molineux Stadium since 1889 and has been competing in the Premier League, the top division of English football, since winning promotion in 2018. The 2020–21 season was the club's 66th season in total at the highest level and seventh since the foundation of the Premier League in 1992.

Sir Jack Arnold Hayward was an English businessman, property developer, philanthropist and president of English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Selhurst Park Football stadium in London, England

Selhurst Park is a football stadium in Selhurst in the London Borough of Croydon which is the home ground of Crystal Palace Football Club. The stadium was designed by Archibald Leitch and opened in 1924. It has hosted international football as well as games for the 1948 Summer Olympics, and was shared by Charlton Athletic from 1985 to 1991 and Wimbledon from 1991 to 2003.

Steve Bull English footballer

Stephen George Bull is an English former professional footballer who is best remembered for his 13-year spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers. He played there from 1986 until his retirement from playing in 1999, and holds the club's goalscoring record with 306 goals, which included 18 hat-tricks for the club.

Adams Park

Adams Park is an association football stadium in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Built in 1990, it is the home ground of the local Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship division. It was also leased from 2002 to 2014 to the rugby union club London Wasps from Aviva Premiership, and from 2016 to 2020 to the Reading F.C. Women football club. From the 2003/04 season to the 2005/06 season, the stadium was officially called Causeway Stadium, named after its sponsor Causeway Technologies.

Ewood Park

Ewood Park is a football stadium in the English town of Blackburn, Lancashire, and is the home of Blackburn Rovers Football Club — one of the founding members of the Football League and Premier League. Rovers have played there since they moved from Leamington Road in the summer of 1890. The stadium opened in 1882 and is an all seater multi-sports facility with a capacity of 31,367. It comprises four sections: The Bryan Douglas Darwen End, Riverside Stand, Ronnie Clayton Blackburn End, and Jack Walker Stand, which is named after Blackburn industrialist and club supporter, Jack Walker. The football pitch within the stadium measures 115 by 76 yards.

All-seater stadium

An all-seater stadium is a sports stadium in which every spectator has a seat. This is commonplace in professional association football stadiums in nations such as the United Kingdom, Spain, and the Netherlands. Most association football and American football stadiums in the United States and Canadian Football League stadiums in Canada are all-seaters, as are most baseball and track and field stadiums in those countries. A stadium that is not an all-seater has areas for attendees holding standing-room only tickets to stand and view the proceedings. Such standing areas are known as terraces in Britain. Stands with only terraces used to dominate the football attendance in the UK. For instance, the South Bank Stand behind the southern goal at Molineux Stadium, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers, had a maximum of 32,000 standing attenders, while the rest of the stadium hosted a little bit less than that; the total maximum attendance was around 59,000.

Stan Cullis English footballer and manager

Stanley Cullis was an English professional footballer and manager, primarily for Wolverhampton Wanderers. During his term as manager between 1948 and 1964, Wolves became one of the strongest teams in the English game, winning the league title on three occasions, and playing a series of high-profile friendly matches against top European sides which acted as a precursor to the European Cup.

Terrace (stadium)

A terrace or terracing in sporting terms refers to the standing area of a sports stadium, particularly in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. It is a series of concrete steps, with intermittent safety barriers installed at specific locations to prevent an excessive movement of people down its slope.

A large number of English football clubs have ongoing schemes to redevelop existing grounds, or to move to newly constructed stadiums. A trend towards all-seater stadiums was initially prescribed by the Taylor Report, and was originally a condition only of Premier League admission. It has now become a requirement that within three years of a club's first promotion to the Championship all paying spectators are seated, even if the club is subsequently relegated. This page provides an (incomplete) list and description of those clubs who have planned new stadiums or refurbishments, or who have already moved/refurbished since around the time of the Taylor Report.

Wolverhampton Wanderers W.F.C.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Women's Football Club, commonly known as Wolves Women, is an English women's football club affiliated with Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.. The club play in the FA Women's National League Division One Midlands.

The 2002–03 season was the 104th season of competitive league football in the history of English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers. They played the season in the second tier of the English football system, the Football League First Division.

The 2011–12 season was the 113th season of competitive league football in the history of English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers. The club competed in the Premier League, the highest level of English football, for a third consecutive season. The previous season had seen them narrowly survive on the final day, ending one point above the relegation zone after having occupied a place in it for much of the campaign.

The 1993–94 season was the 95th season of competitive league football in the history of English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers. They played the season in the second tier of the English football system, the Football League First Division.

The Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground is the training ground and academy base of English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. It is located in the Compton area of Wolverhampton.

The 1992–93 season was the 94th season of competitive league football in the history of English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers. They played the season in the second tier of the English football system, which was now titled Football League First Division after the reorganisation of the leagues following the introduction of the Premier League.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club is an English professional football club that represents the city of Wolverhampton in the West Midlands region. This article covers the history of the club from its formation in 1877 to the present day.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Under-23s is a football team that competes in Division 2 of the newly created Premier League 2. The club qualify as an entrant in the competition, by virtue of their academy holding Category 1 status. Although the league is designed for players aged 23 and below, three overage players may also feature.

Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. v Budapest Honvéd FC Football match

Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. v Budapest Honvéd FC was an association football match that took place on 13 December 1954, and was instrumental in the eventual formation of the European Cup. The match was played under floodlights, and was broadcast live on BBC television.

References

  1. 1 2 "Premier League Handbook 2020/21" (PDF). Premier League. p. 42. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  2. "Stadium Proposals". wolves.co.uk. 28 May 2010. Archived from the original on 31 May 2010.
  3. "Tims 92 - Wolverhampton Wanderers, Old Pictures of Molineux". Blogspot.com. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  4. Molineux Stadium Guide.
  5. 1 2 3 "Wolves unveil Molineux redevelopment plans". wolves.co.uk. 28 May 2010. Archived from the original on 31 May 2010.
  6. "Historical UK inflation rates and calculator" . Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  7. "Will you make a stand for terraces' return?". www.expressandstar.com. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 June 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Historical UK inflation rates and calculator" . Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  10. "Historical UK inflation rates and calculator" . Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  11. Corbett, Clive (2011). Out of Darkness. Kingswinford: Geoffrey Publications. ISBN   978-0955722028.
  12. "From 1958 to 2010 – What Molineux could have been". www.expressandstar.com. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  13. "Millennium Index". www.expressandstar.com. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  14. "Molineux: Wolverhampton Wanderers" . Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  15. "Historical UK inflation rates and calculator" . Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  16. "Historical UK inflation rates and calculator" . Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  17. "Ground capacity raised". wolves.co.uk. 11 June 2003.
  18. "Sir Jack Hayward stand named at Wolverhampton Wanderers". BBC.co.uk. August 2015.
  19. "Wolves v Liverpool, 2019/20". Premier League. 23 January 2020.
  20. "Wolves submit Molineux planning application". wolves.co.uk. 16 September 2010.
  21. "Green light for stadium plans". wolves.co.uk. 7 December 2010.
  22. 1 2 "Green light for Molineux redevelopment". wolves.co.uk. 10 February 2011.
  23. "Wolves confirm plans to redevelop Molineux ground". BBC News. 10 February 2011.
  24. "Stadium: Buckingham Group appointed". wolves.co.uk. 10 February 2011.
  25. "Date set for new stand". wolves.co.uk. 24 August 2011. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012.
  26. "Stan Cullis safety certificate granted". wolves.co.uk. 9 September 2011.
  27. "Stan Cullis Stand official opening". wolves.co.uk. 9 August 2012. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013.
  28. "Wolves to postpone Steve Bull Stand redevelopment". wolves.co.uk. 19 January 2012. Archived from the original on 20 June 2012.
  29. "Steve Bull Stand update". wolves.co.uk. 8 January 2013. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013.