Express & Star

Wolves in Shanghai: Nathan Judah's Day 3 tour diary

With all the excitement of England's stunning World Cup final was a very very late night for the troops.

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Tour diary with Nathan Judah

We finally got back to the apartment at around 4am and after typing out the first two days of the diary, it was a 6.30am bedtime.

Just a quick four hours' kip and then up for day three - but with all that adrenaline from the Super Over, I barely slept 90 minutes!

Chinese media wait for the players

However nothing could keep me away from an incredibly busy Monday that began with the opening of the brand new Wolves megastore.

Some may question how popular a Wolves shop would be in China when the Dudley Street store only closed its doors last year.

But Wolves are becoming a global brand and although some may scoff at that statement, the few hundred Chinese fans queuing to two hours to meet their idols would certainly verify said remark.

The unveiling was like nothing I'd seen before in my entire 38-years on this earth.

TS: 38?

With Jeff Shi looking on, out popped Conor Coady for a sneak peek at the merchandise before the new away kit unveiling.

Cue one of the craziest Chinese media scrums you have ever seen. The poor lad couln't breathe, let alone move.

Conor Coady is mobbed

But Conor is Conor, he just took it all in his stride, smiled, laughed, posed for a few selfies and quickly made his way behind the curtain.

The clothing line available is certainly not for the faint hearted - bold, brash, loud and very much of a street feel.

Some of the Wolves fashion line

Think knock-off Wolves merchandise you might see abroad with a Versace twist.

But this brand awareness has been an important part of a two-year product push in China.

You name it, they sell it. Anything from a female Hello Kitty plush Wolves doll to a tight fitting back rubber Wolves jacket.

Wolfie's pulled

Still whatever floats your boat! And whatever they have done, it's working!

The gear was flying off the shelves as were the new home kit with Neves, Jota and Moutinho lettering available.

Didn't see too many Ryan Bennett's though - sorry Ryan.

This shirt was a popular buy

Following a kind of mascot dance-off between Wolfie and this life-size Hello Kitty type 'wolf cat,' it was time to unveil the new away kit.

Up steps Boly, Neves and Jota looking very tidy indeed. I think it's going to be a big success and way better than this year's home shirt.

A player signing session ensued, that of course included the living legend Mr Steve Bull - although slightly worse for wear after a late evening/early morning watching the cricket.

TS: It was a quite stunning couple of hours, definitely up there with the most bonkers and surreal I've ever encountered in this job.

The sight of Chinese Wolfie unleashing a frenzied dance to zero applause, while normal Wolfie looked on in the background wondering what the hell was going on and probably thinking his mascot days were numbered, was completely surreal.

Throw in Coady being interviewed in Chinese and starting his replies with "yeah, er", Jota being asked what clothes he wears away from football, a Chinese woman screaming "Terry Taylor" in a desperate bid to grab a selfie and a bloke from Hong Kong coming up to me to ask how long Matt Doherty is going to be injured for, and you've just about got the most surreal event you could ever wish to report on. Not to mention the fact we're in Shanghai and they're opening a Wolves people have actually turned up to buy stuff.

And that was just the start of the day.

We then made the short walk to a special exhibition detailing some iconic Wolves shirts from the 19th century until the present day.

Huge props to Steve Plant who kindly helped put together some of the stunning memorabilia that was on show to the adoring public.

But that was not the only big hit - just three steps away, kids and adults alike were queuing up for Wolves ice-cream.

A Bull in a China shop

And it got weirder, the most popular flavour was Tsigtao beer with two scoops putting you over the drink drive limit!!

So when Spiers had polished off his third cornetto, it was a good time to walk back and start filing some copy from our dodgy wifi connection.

If someone knows of a good place with excellent wifi - please please let us know!

A quick turnaround and it was a swanky VIP fashion show for the players and your dynamic duo to attend.

Stunning views across the Bund, a huge neon wolf shooting out into the sky and 20 models showing off the latest stunning high-end clothing lines.

It's a tough life, but someone has to report on these things!

TS: I thought it was very cute that you got all dressed up for the fashion show in your best clobber. And you even did your hair. Then when we got there half the people in attendance were wearing t-shirts and shorts - I even saw a bloke in a Wolves top.

Also impressed that you used all your will power not to jump onto the catwalk and join in. Your blue steel pose was ready and everything.

The catwalk was a sight for sore eyes, some of the outfits were questionable at best - not quite sure what Nuno was thinking of it all on the front row, nor Terry Taylor and the other younger lads for that matter!

But this was not just a showcase for fashion, it was a showcase of the brand, the model, the pack.

And taking a step back to watch this surreal show, with 200 of the high rollers in China overlooking the Shanghai skyline, you couldn't help but be wowed.

Huge huge credit to everyone behind the scenes for making this a very special day.

Wolves are well and truly global.