Express & Star

How Wolves plunged to the lower leagues and nearly ceased to exist - Part 7: Grand plans for Molineux unravel

In more detail than ever before, the Express & Star tells the full Bhatti brothers story - a troubled era which saw Wolves plunge to depths of the lower leagues and face financial oblivion. In Part 7, cracks grow deeper for Wolves on the pitch and grand plans for Molineux start to unravel.

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Andy Gray went to Everton

Derek Dougan insisted Wolves had worked hard to back his manager Graham Hawkins during a disappointing start to the 1983-4 top flight season.

But he repeated his assertion that the days of profligacy were over, and that he was not going to endanger the long-term future of the club with big-money signings.

He said the club had tried to bring a number of players in, but had been frustrated by the lack of courtesy and co-operation by other clubs.

He told the Express & Star he had offered Stoke City two Wolves players in exchange for midfielder Paul Bracewell, but the Potters never came back to him. Bracewell was then sold to Sunderland for £200,000.

Andy Gray went to Everton

In October, Andy Gray finally got his move away from Molineux when he was sold to Everton for £250,000.

One man who was conspicuous by his absence from Wolves’ inauspicious start to the new season was Mike Rowland, who was nowhere to be seen in the directors’ box.

The Wolves director, and boss of the club’s owner Allied Properties, had been the driving force behind plans to redevelop Molineux as a multi-purpose venue combining the football ground with leisure, commercial, housing and retail uses.

Mike Rowland

An ambitious timetable had been set to get the work started within months of the takeover, but he appeared not to have reckoned with either the glacial pace of the planning process, or the amount of hostility the plans would generate.

And on September 30, two days after the humiliation at the hands of QPR, the club announced he had resigned as both a director of Wolves and from his role as managing director of parent company Allied Properties.

Dougan issued a brief statement saying the businessman had quit for personal reasons.

“I wish to place on record the thanks and appreciation of the board for Mr Rowland's efforts on our behalf over the past 12 months,” said Dougan. He stressed that there had been no conflict between them.

Rowland could not be found at his home in Stockport, but his wife confirmed that he had also quit his role at Allied Properties.