Express & Star

How Wolves plunged to the lower leagues and nearly ceased to exist - Part 28: Turner moves to Molineux

In more detail than ever before, the Express & Star tells the full Bhatti brothers story – a troubled era that saw Wolves plunge to depths of the lower leagues and face financial oblivion. In Part 28, a Little change as Turner moves to Molineux.

Graham Turner quickly replaced Brian Little - not to the universal welcome of Wolves fans

Up the M6 at Villa Park, one-time 14-day Wolves chairman Doug Ellis was having a few problems of his own.

At the end of the 1984 season, he sacked European Cup winning manager Tony Barton for finishing a disappointing 10th in the First Division. It was a decision he would live regret.

Barton was replaced by Shrewsbury Town boss Graham Turner, who won many plaudits for the way he had taken athe Shrews to eighth in the Second Division, their highest-ever league finish.

Ellis thought he was the exciting young up-and-coming manager he needed to re-invigorate the stagnating side, but the decision proved nothing short of disastrous.

Having stayed up by the skin of their teeth during the 1985/86 season, Villa lost five of their opening six games in the new campaign. A 6-0 humiliation away to Nottingham Forest was the final straw, and Deadly Doug finally pulled the trigger. Turner had been in charge of Villa for just over two years, and many felt Ellis should have acted earlier.

The decision to replace the popular Barton with the untested Turner marked a souring of Ellis's previously good relationship with the Villa fans, from which he would never recover. Ellis poached Billy McNeill from Manchester City, sparking a brief revival, but that wouldn't last. McNeill achieved the unique distinction of seeing both the clubs he managed during the 1986-87 season relegated to the Second Division.

But Ellis's actions would trigger another earthquake at Molineux.

The official team picture for the start of the 1986-87 season, with Brian Little as manager