Express & Star

How Wolves plunged to the lower leagues and nearly ceased to exist - Part 11: Descent into chaos at Molineux

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 11, supporters want change – declaring: 'Bhattis out!'

A demonstration against the Bhatti brothers

On May 29, 1985, the staff on duty at Molineux must have rubbed their eyes in disbelief. A man in his mid-30s walked into the stadium carrying a suitcase stuffed full with bank notes. Mohammad Bhatti had dropped in for a unique personal appearance.

The very sight of one of the mysterious brothers in Wolverhampton was itself a remarkable event. After almost three years of invisibility and silence, Wolves fans could have been forgiven for wondering whether their secretive owners really existed. But with questions about whether the club could even pay their electricity bill now at fever pitch, the sight of a real, living Bhatti bearing gifts must have been too much to take in.

A snatched pic of the Bhatti brothers

Bhatti's appearance came two days before a deadline imposed by the Football League, to convince officials the club had the resources to complete the impending season's fixtures.

The League had written to Wolves, warning that failure to satisfy this would result in expulsion, and the effective end of Wolves, at least in the form the everybody knew them.

The signs were not good. A winding-up petition was pending in the High Court for alleged debts of more than £300,000. Unpaid wages were the prime concern, the preceding weeks had been dogged by reports that the Professional Footballers’ Association were chasing Wolves over pay owed to their members. But the club had also been told that it would face immediate disconnection if they did not settle their outstanding gas, electricity and telephone bills by the end of the week.

It was further reported that Allied Properties themselves were also in financial turmoil, with a winding-up order for alleged debts of more than £400,000.

The day before Bhatti's surprise visit, joint vice-chairman Doug Hope was quite candid about the situation – and appeared to be as much in the dark as the fans over what the future held for the club.

"We need our financial position to be stabilised," he told the Express & Star.

"It is also obvious we cannot continue to lurch from crisis to crisis. The owners know that and the remedy is in their hands. I am convinced they are trying to sort it out.