Wolves in China: Huge crowd flock to launch of new Shanghai megastore
Wolves unveiled their 2019/20 away kit during China megastore opening.
Wolves' brand new megastore in Shanghai has been officially opened to a crowd of hundreds of Chinese fans.
The shop, based in a new shopping centre in the middle of Shanghai and will sell high-end fashion brands incorporating the Wolves logo, was unveiled today.
Captain Conor Coady and club legend Steve Bull cut the ribbon on the new store during the madcap launch, which was attended by chairman Jeff Shi.
Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota, Willy Boly and youngster Austin Samuels then walked out wearing the team's new black away kit, which went on sale today.
The launch event included a dancing Chinese version of Wolfie and then the players being interviewed in Mandarin via a translator, including Jota being asked what clothes he wears away from football.
It was a surreal but ultimately successful event and the turnout of Chinese fans, most of them wearing Wolves shirts, was impressive.
Lost in translation? WATCH Coady help launch the megastore
The aforementioned players, plus Jonny Castro Otto and Terry Taylor, then joined Bull for a signing session, in-between signings autographs and taking selfies.
Coady said: "This is unbelievable. To think of where we were a few years ago to where we are now, the club has been built up so much, it's amazing to see.
"I'm surprised with how many people are here but we know how big Fosun are in this country and Wolves are starting to become popular now.
"It's a new experience and it's something we're really enjoying.
"I love the new away kit, it's really smart, I hope the fans all like it."
Record goalscorer Bull is out in Shanghai in the role of a club ambassador.
While the likes of Coady and Neves are hugely popular with fans out in Shanghai, so is Tipton lad Bull, who has attracted just as much attention.
"It's weird being mobbed!" Bull said. "Whether people actually know me or not I don't know! I think when they see me they google who I am and then they want a picture!
"This whole thing just shows you the fanbase Wolves have got.
"We used to Torquay or Portsmouth for pre-season. This is unreal now, the players have got to embrace it, this is what big clubs do.
"It's an achievement and new territory for the club.
"It's scary. Its opened my eyes, coming from 1986 in the doldrums and now here in Shanghai. But they've earned it. Last season they over-exceeded themselves.
"Who'd have thought it? Wolves in Asia, it's surreal. They're good people who've looked after us well. I'm walking around the street seeing Wolves shirts, I can't get my hat on it.
"I didn't expect the turnout they've had. I felt like a £30m player cutting the ribbon! It's surreal. You've got to sit back sometimes and pinch yourself."
Around the corner from the new megastore is a pop-up exhibition displaying Wolves shirts from years gone by, inspired by the 'They Wore the Shirt' book compiled by Steve Plant.
Wolves-branded beer-flavoured ice creams were being sold there.
Marketing boss Russell Jones said the megastore launch - the first of many events this week - had been a big success as club chiefs look to 'tell the story' of Wolves to a new Chinese audience.
"It's been an eye-opener in terms of the interest in Wolves out here in China," he said.
"It's exciting and great to see a store here - if you'd told Wolves fans a few years ago that we'd be opening a megastore in China they'd have been surprised to say the least!
"It's a big week for the club and Fosun. We're home, as far as they're concerned.
"They want us to tell the Wolves story to as many people as we can.
"From a brand perspective Wolves realise we're still a very small club here. Therefore perhaps you can tell your story in a bit of a different way. The megastore does that, because it's more about fashion rather than products you might see back home.
"There have been a number of collaborations with high level fashion brands to create a very unique sense of products.
"It's early days for the shopping mall that the megastore's in as it's only just opened, but come September when those shops open this will be really busy. It's exciting, there's a lot more to come."
The black kit, which boasts black shorts and gold socks, will go on sale on Saturday at 9am (BST).
The club will not be taking pre-orders ahead of their release.
Wolves' first game in China takes place against Newcastle on Wednesday before their second and final game of the trip on Saturday - against West Ham or Manchester City.
The club are due to attend a number of other events throughout the week in China.