Mel Eves: Wolves can be force in Europe
Wolves’ last European scorer Mel Eves believes Nuno Espirito Santo’s side can compete across the continent for years to come with the backing of Fosun.
Nuno’s charges will find out their Europa League second qualifying round opponents on Wednesday.
And Eves – who netted against Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven at Molineux in 1980 – reckons they will make it through the three two-legged qualifiers to get to the group stages – and then carry on growing.
“The difference, comparing the side now to then, is the backing of Fosun because shortly after we were in Europe we went into financial trouble,” he said.
“We had a great group of players and manager, but we just did not have the backing at the top.
“There are a lot of similarities between our team and the current team. I’d put John Barnwell up there with Nuno.
“But I can’t see the current side doing anything other than making steady progress, whereas we had players like Andy Gray sold.
“Looking back, if somebody said it would be nearly 40 years until we were back in Europe, I would have never believed them. Now, they just need to get through the early rounds, and I can see us progressing.”
Eves starred against PSV 39 years ago in the UEFA Cup first round – when the competition had a knockout format – as Wolves lost the first leg 3-1 in the Netherlands, and then just missed out on progressing after winning 1-0 in the return leg.
Under six years on from that, Eves and a host of others had left amid massive money struggles for the club – who had been relegated to the fourth tier.
The 62-year-old, recalling his goal and the two-legged tie as a whole, added: “I remember more about the lights going off at Molineux to be fair, but the goal was a bit of a goalmouth scramble – being in the right place, at the right time.
“We had to go back in the dressing room for about 10-15 minutes because of the floodlights going off.
“We were the better team over the two legs, but we just lacked that European know-how.”
Meanwhile, Wolves striker Raul Jimenez scored twice as Mexico crushed Cuba 7-0 on the opening day of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Their next match is against Canada.