Wolves museum kicks off tribute to city icon

Molineux’s new museum opens with a simple sentence to begin such an epic story.

“In 1877, St Luke’s School in Blakenhall started a football team . . .”

Some 25,000 words later, the tale of Wolverhampton Wanderers is brought bang up to date – but that doesn’t even begin to cover the experience in between for visitors to the new museum unveiled by the club last night.

About 600 square metres of the rebuilt Stan Cullis stand have been utilised to house what can only be described as a homage to the club’s rich and eventful story since that simplistic origin at St Luke’s.

Within the dimensions, ancients artefacts are glass-cased alongside up-to-the-minute touch-screen technology, all of it devoted to the story of the city’s most famous institution. As if to drive home the point, entrance is with a computerised ticket – but through an old, clanking turnstile that will bring the memories flooding back for generations of fans.

The museum has been the baby of owner Steve Morgan and as former players, including Ron Flowers, Steve Bull, Derek Parkin and Jim McCalliog – all the way from Ayrshire no less – revelled in the memories it provoked last night, he looked on with paternal pride.

“When I came to here, I knew the story of Wolves was a proud one, that the club had so much history,” he explained. “But when I took over, there was nothing for the fans to see it or feel it.

“That’s what I hope we have changed with this museum. I think we have.”

It was difficult to disagree because this is a football museum which can proudly stand its ground with any of the others the club researched – from Hampden to Real Madrid via Liverpool and Arsenal – as it fought to bring the owner’s vision to a £1m reality.

Mr Morgan was committed to providing a display which would captivate across the generations, “from eight to 88-year-olds,” he said.

As a result, more than 25,000 pieces of memorabilia have been archived on the museum’s computer data base although there is capacity to triple that upload. The museum has also had access to hundreds of photographs from the Express & Star archive.

Want to take a look at that 1938 match day programme? Want to revisit the news reels of the 1960 FA Cup triumph? Want to see newspapers, films, letters, documents from key moments in the club’s history? Touch a screen and watch them come to life.

And while you’re doing that, the kids can be busy playing the interactive games available.

“I’ve just beaten Bert Williams from the penalty spot,” laughed former striker Mel Eves after taking his turn in the digital games corner. “Bert will be disappointed he didn’t reach it - mind you, he is 93 now!”

Mums and dads meanwhile can gaze in awe at some of the stand-out exhibits such as Ron Flowers’s World Cup winners medal, finally struck and presented to him a couple of years ago.

He’s handed it over to the Museum for safe keeping: “Well, it would only be at home with me to see it.”

There’s a diary kept by a Wolves footballer – his identity is unclear – from a 1938 overseas tour which proves that players have always been players which means young bucks likely to get into trouble. Read about the night Denis Westcott and pals finished up in jail after what we can presume were some high jinks.

Or perhaps your eye will be taken by arguably the greatest letter in the history of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, addressed on the club’s headed notepaper to a Mr N D Simpson, of Senior School, Madeley, Salop on June 30, 1938.

“Dear Mr Simpson,” writes the secretary-manager Major Frank Buckley, “Thanks very much for your letter of the 28th. Would you please arrange for the lad Wright to be at the above address on the morning of July Monday July 11 ready to start on the grounds. “Again, thank you for the interest you have taken in this matter....”

You can gaze in wonder at that one item, recalling the career of William Ambrose Wright which it launched, for what seems an eternity. In reality, this is no “pop-in and take a quick look round” tour.

Manager Stale Solbakken at the launch of the museum.
Manager Stale Solbakken at the launch of the museum.

Wolves have been irritated by critics who have chipped away at the decision to charge £7 admission. “Wait until they see it,” was the club’s silence response - and no-one last night felt it would fail the VFM test. Fans could get lost in here for hours.

Visitors will be able to follow the story chronologically or break off to consider some fascinating focal points – the Molineuxs that were never built, the Hall of Fame or perhaps watch in the 30-seat cinema the specially-commissioned film telling the club’s story.

New manager Stale Solbakken attended the champagne reception as he broke off from what has become a difficult first season as the man charged with the task of bringing back Premier League football.

Perhaps there will be times ahead when some fans question their devotion to Wolves. A visit to the Museum is guaranteed to rid them of any such doubts.

Comments for: "Wolves museum kicks off tribute to city icon"

Staales syrup

Fantastic thing. However it should be free not £7 which is extortionate. Okay we have a great history but of late the histroy books will not make good reading when the pages are turned to the chapter of when Mcarthy was in charge when we were in the prem! Wonder what it will say? Wonder if there will be investment in players com Jan 13 as they have invested in this museum?

Players make the club not by gone days! Sorry!

UTW.

Breretonwolf

"Perhaps there will be times ahead when some fans question their devotion to Wolves." What an absolutely ridiculous line. It is total drivel. I have never known any fan that questions his devotion to Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. They might moan and whinge about certain managers, or certain players. They might even complain about certain performances. We would all like to be in the Premier League than where we are currently, BUT that NEVER means that our devotion to the club wanes. That remains firm and steadfast no matter what else changes.

If you were a fan, rather than a "journalist" that writes about football for a living, you would KNOW that.

North Carolina Wolf

Well said, mate.

Arkansas Wolf

You got it right - I live 4000 miles away - left Wolverhampton 25 years ago but I am a Wolves fan and always will be - even when we were in Div 4. You either are a fan or you are not, there is no inbetween or questioning.

tinalirawolf

Well done Steve Morgan and all at Wolves, a very proud day for all connected with the club, i cannot wait until i get across for another game and get to see it,well done again.

snoddy

Wait till they change our name to Wolverhampton City

Malvern Wolf

Wonderful to see some of the stars of yesteryear, all of them still looking good. Can't wait to visit and reflect on almost 60 years devotion to the finest club in the world.

Trevor Lloyd.

It sounds absolutely marvellous, well worth the money full of cherished memories of days gone by , It is nice to know that a distant relative of mine played his part in those glory days, he was the late great Jesse Pye.

Cairo Wolf

Well let's hope we add some history to be proud of in the next few years instead of some history we want to forget.

chris h

Wolves are irritated at criticism of the charge are they.Not as irritated as a lot of fans are of the dreadful performances on the pitch since they started building the museum. Ask those who are critical,go and see the FA museum in Manchester which is free.It is not the cost,it is the principle.

Solentwolves

Just reading this gave me such a warm feeling and a few tingles, remembering the early days of my supporting. I used to stand on the old South Bank, our equivalent of Spion Kop. I remember well the clanking turnstiles and, what was it, the two shillings schoolboy/girl entrance fee? I attended those glory games against Honved and Moscow Dynamo. I missed out on the Spartak game, didn't get a ticket, but remember stepping outside our Mill Lane, Wednesfield home when the game was on and hearing the roar of the (huge) crowd, and seeing the night glow of the floodlights, even at that distance. Then there was the friendly when we beat Real Madrid, with Broadbent excelling and scoring, and George Showell deputising for Billy Wright marking the great Alfredo di Stefano. Yes, what a history - no wonder we were spoken of in the same breath as the Man Us, Arsenals and Spurs of those days. Somehow, next year, I will get up to W-ton from the South Coast and visit the Museum (Just hope I will be able to cope with the technology!) and relive some memories.

Malvern Wolf

Mill Lane was obviously a good breeding ground for Wolfies everywhere, that's where I was born.

Hi there Malvern Wolf. I'll remember that now, every time I see your name. In my time living in Mill Lane, there used to be waste ground about half way up, behind the houses, where we used to play football matches, umpteen a side, that seemed to go on all day, with people coming and going all the time. Happy days.

Martin Brewer

Just looking at the old faces and reliving the memories brought a tingle to the spine and a tear to the eye. I live in the States now but made it up to Wolverhampton for a visit in the late summer. Graham Hughes was gracious enough to give me a tour of the stadium and it is fitting that he takes his place amongst so many greats, Seeing Bully and Mutch together after so many years brings back a flood of memories (and a ton of goals!). I started supporting Wolves in the early 1970's and the old-timers kept complaining that the team was not fit to lick the boots of the 1950's squad. They were complaining about a magnificent side which contained the likes of Richards, Dougan, Waggy and Bailey - great players all. My point is that we should honour the past but be 100% supportive of the present. We are Wolves through the good and the bad and the museum is a place where, in a fractured and inconsistent world, we can gather to share memories which bond us all together. I bet many of us are grateful to our Dads for getting us to the games when we were youngsters - I hope to visit the museum with my father next summer. The entry fee is less than a movie ticket - I know how I'd prefer to spend my money.

Silver Wolf

It truly looks superb. Compared with the cost of getting to see it the £7 entrance fee will be excellent value.

Vincent Fairclough

Went to see the opening of the museum last night. It was great. Plenty to see and do and well worth a £7 admission charge.

I couldn't see everything in the couple of hours I had, so will have to go back again.

snoddy

You Steves cousin

khs

despite the £7.00 fee you can see from the above comments who are the genuine supporters and who are the deluded we should be champions league winners ever season playstation wannabe managers.

well done wwfc we may have been struggling for the last 40 years, but as someone has said , real fans stay through good times and bad. utw.

AucklandKiwiWolf

The Seven Pounds entrance charge just goes to show Wolves penny pinching attitude.I'm sure many fans are going to be put off by this.Again the fans treated like dirt.

smithy

£7 to walk around the Wolves museum. Today's Wolves fans come around to my house and I will tell you story's of a Wolves fan since 1960 that will make your hair curl, The happiness and the tears,The smell of Bovril, Those little toilets flooded in wee on the South bank,Waggy.The Doog & Richards, Fag smoke filtering into the night sky getting crushed an hour before kick off,Wembley triumphs 1960,1974,1980,Chelsea trying to take the north bank ,Propper Wolves greats Bailey, Dougan, Richards Waggstaffe ,Parkin,Knowles,Getting out of their cars at the corner of the North bank & now Steve Bull stand signing autographs and having a chat, The thuddering noise of the wolves fans stamping the wooden flooring in the North bank..,That's just a starter in my head .Not £7 worth Blimey have hours more memories my head must be worth thousands.

mardygit..

I am looking forward to walking around this museum and reminisceing over our glorious passed. Just hope it don't interfere with the job Staale as got to do, how lucky and jammy are Arsenal fans never to have been relegated. COME ON THE WOLVES.