Wolves' poised for highest opening-day crowd for decades

Wolves are set for their biggest opening-day Molineux crowd for 42 years when they get their Championship campaign underway against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Wolves' attendance against Boro could be the biggest for any game at Molineux since a 1981 FA Cup sixth round game against the same opposition, watched by 40,524 (© AMA / Dave Bagnall)
Wolves' attendance against Boro could be the biggest for any game at Molineux since a 1981 FA Cup sixth round game against the same opposition, watched by 40,524 (© AMA / Dave Bagnall)

The curtain-raiser is a complete sell-out, meaning an attendance of around 30,000 is expected.

Molineux's capacity is technically 31,700 but segregation issues mean the total figure will be smaller than that.

The last time Wolves attracted more than 29,000 for their first home game of the season was 1980, when 31,955 watched a 1-0 win over Manchester United thanks to George Berry's winner.

However that was the second week of the season (John Barnwell's team lost 2-0 away at Brighton on the opening weekend) and you have to go back to 1975 for a higher opening-day Molineux crowd than the one Wolves should get on Saturday.

The opposition on that day were also Manchester United although Bill McGarry's Wolves lost this one 2-0 in front of 31,973.

That was still comfortably short of the highest-ever Molineux opening-day attendance of 54,361 who watched a local derby against Birmingham City in 1948. It finished 2-2 with Jesse Pye and Sammy Smyth on the scoresheet.

The lowest ever opening day attendance came for Wolves' first ever Football League match in 1888 when an estimated 2,500 watched them draw 1-1 with Villa at the club's Dudley Road ground.

That number was threatened in the dark days on the 1980s. Just 6,016 saw Wolves lost 2-1 to Cambridge United in the Fourth Division in 1986.

Opening Molineux league attendances in the past 20 years (Championship unless stated)

2016/17 – 20,425 v Reading (won 2-0)

2015/16 – 20,062 v Hull City (drew 1-1)

2014/15 – 22,053 v Norwich City (won 1-0)

2013/14 – 19,102 v Gillingham (won 4-0) *League One

2012/13 – 24,400 v Barnsley (won 3-1)

2011/12 – 22,657 v Fulham (won 2-0) *Premier League

2010/11 – 27,850 v Stoke City (won 2-1) *Premier League

2009/10 – 28,674 v West Ham (lost 0-2) *Premier League

2008/09 – 22,491 v Sheffield Wednesday (won 4-1)

2007/08 – 23,115 v Watford (lost 1-2)

2006/07 – 19,199 v Ipswich Town (won 1-0)

2005/06 – 24,745 v Crystal Palace (won 2-1)

2004/05 – 26,115 v Preston North End (drew 2-2)

2003/04 – 27,327 v Charlton Athletic (lost 0-4) *Premier League

2002/03 – 27,904 v Walsall (won 3-1)

2001/02 – 23,012 v Portsmouth (drew 2-2)

2000/01 – 19,086 v Sheffield Wednesday (drew 1-1)

1999/00 – 21,024 v Portsmouth (drew 1-1)

1998/99 – 20,203 v Tranmere Rovers (won 2-0)

1997/98 – 23,102 v Sheffield United (drew 0-0)

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