PICTURES: Wolves fans' delighted to head back to Molineux for the first time since pandemic

Wolves fans were delighted to finally be returning to the Molineux for a home game – after more than a year away due to the Covid pandemic.

Wolves fans returned to the Molineux for the first time in 14 months for their home game against Manchester United
Wolves fans returned to the Molineux for the first time in 14 months for their home game against Manchester United

Molineux welcomed 4,500 fans back on Sunday as they faced Manchester United, in what was also head coach Nuno Espirito Santo's final game.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, fans have been forced to stay away from stadia across the country – but as those restrictions loosen, supporters have been given the opportunity to watch their teams in the flesh over the past week.

Levi, Craig and Louie Lefevre turn out at the Molineux to show their support for their team

Government guidelines state that 10,000 or 25 per cent of a grounds capacity, whichever is smaller, can be filled with fans - but following discussions over social distancing and safety measures Molineux will only accept 4,500, despite having a capacity of just under 32,000.

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It's the only chance any supporters will have this season to see their side in person, but is also the final time fans will see Nuno in charge of the club – following the shock announcement of his exit following the conclusion of the campaign.

Fans turned up in their thousands – some without even having tickets to get into Molineux - to show their support to Wolves.

Wolves fans celebrate as the coaches turn up outside Molineux

One fan who had travelled a long way for his first match in over a year was Mark Feehan, who now lives in Sutton, in Surrey. The 58-year-old said: "I have been a Wolves fan my whole life, even though I'm originally from south London. The first game I was ever taken to was Tottenham v Wolves, I was only eight years old – and Wolves won. It's just stuck since then.

"The first year I had a season ticket was 1976/77 and I have been ever since.

"It's been 443 days since fans have been in here – since the Brighton game. Not being from this area and seeing on Twitter when people are going around saying they are taking photos of the ground – of course, we haven't been able to see it. This is my first time to Wolverhampton since that day.

"We have lots and lots of friends and acquaintances here. It really is quite emotional to be here – added to what's going on with the club. It's going to be incredible to be there.

"When we were umming and ah-ing about entering the ballot, being here, could we bothered and the travelling – but we have got to be there. It's going to be emotional."

Mark Feehan and Stan Armett

Joining Mark was Stan Armett, 67, who lives in Kilburn in north west London, but is originally from the Midlands. He said: "I have been a Wolves supporter since 1960 – I have been coming to Molineux since the late 1970s. Before the pandemic, I'd only missed one game in over 40 years – home and away.

"It's just great to be back here – and with the news announced on Friday that Nuno was leaving, it's just going to be a special day. I was really disappointed when I heard he was going, but I accept that the club has to move forward – and maybe he isn't the person to do it. With what he has achieved here, he has obviously gone down in history – and it is sad to see him go. A lot of supporters will be disappointed he's going."

Paul Davies, 58, from Pattingham, said: "I have supported Wolves since 1970 – my first match was Wolves v Leeds November 21, 1970, we lost 3-2. I have been a season ticket holder for the last 30 years.

"It's brilliant to be back here at the Molineux. It means everything. Everyone is moaning about the price of the tickets – but for a one-off game you would pay that anyway. And especially now with Nuno going too. I was absolutely gutted, it's heartbreaking."

His brother, Andy Davies, said: "Our dad used to bring us to the games – 1973 was my first game. It means everything – with Covid it kind of feels like that's coming to an end and we're coming together again. It's going to make it so sad because of Nuno now as well. Not only is it so upsetting coming back into Molineux, but with Nuno going too.

"We've seen some rubbish in our time, the best four years we have had is under Nuno – and to see Nuno go it will be emotional."

Paul and Andy Davies and Dan and Jay Hammond return to the Molineux

Brothers Dan, 16, and Jay, 19, Hammond, were also heading to the match on Sunday. Jay said: "I have been a fan since I was like six or seven years old – we've just grown up with it.

"It means a lot, we grew up coming to Wolves matches since as long we can remember. We've been season tickets in the South Bank for years and years, so it is good to be back."

Jenny, Gerard, Rosie, Jonah, Chris and Ethan Byrne weren't going to the match, but turned out to support Wolves anyway

Tony Price, 52, from Tettenhall, said: "I have been a Wolves fan for 35 years – and I've been a season ticket holder for longer than I care to remember, probably about 25 years, something like that.

"It's been too long – so it is great to be back here with the rest of the fans – hopefully it will be a good game. And obviously with it being Nuno's last game too, it's quite poignant. Hopefully the club can learn some lessons for next season, how they are going to manage any restrictions and things like that."

Tony Price with his ticket for Wolves v Manchester United on Sunday

Also heading to their first game in over a year was father and son Darren and Daniel Hickey, 53 and 18, from Wolverhampton. Darren said: "He [Daniel] has been coming to Wolves games since he was like six years old. We're season ticket holders.

"It's amazing to be back – to get just one home game in, it's just brilliant. Obviously it's sad that Nuno is leaving – he's brought the team such a long way in short a such space of time. It's going to be emotional day. We are looking forward to giving him a good send off and thanking him for what he's done for us."

Father and son Darren and Daniel Hickey
Far right Chinner Mann with Punjabi Wolves

Chinner Mann, 36, from Wolverhampton, from Punjabi Wolves, added: "There's about 20 of us here going to today's game. I've been coming to games for the last 20 to 25 years, I'm a season ticket holder. The days I don't know since we've not been here, but it feels like it's been two years! It feels like ages.

"Just coming back and meeting the guys, having a few drinks before, a bite to eat – the whole experience has been amazing. It's just been lovely. I can't wait to get inside.

"Obviously with the news of Nuno leaving as well it has dampened it a bit too. The experience he has given us over the last four years. I was really gutted and shocked when I found out, normally you hear those things a few weeks in advance. But it came in and I read it, I just couldn't believe it. It was disappointing – the memories we have had the last four years.

"I'd love for Nuno to be here for many years personally, so it is sad. We will hopefully give him a good send-off with this match."

Fans celebrate as the Wolves coaches turn up at Molineux on Sunday

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