Express & Star

Jeff Shi: Team-building comes ahead of Molineux redevelopment at Wolves

Jeff Shi insists improving the Wolves first team and academy is a priority over a Molineux redevelopment.


Fosun have a long-term vision of increasing the stadium capacity to 50,000 with a redevelopment of Molinuex, which would see the current stands expanded.

Although those plans were always set to take some time, the coronavirus pandemic has put them further on the back-foot as executive chairman Shi insists they must wait for the right moment – while also prioritising the squad for next season.

He said: “When the moment is right – I mean financially, when the moment is right – then we take the risks like this pandemic into consideration.

“If we think it is right to do that, we will do that. And it is not to make profit. If it can break-even, then it can work, but now by current calculation, it’s harder to break even.

“And also if we meet a year like the last year, it will be disastrous. So we have to be careful.

“Also, if you have any money spare, I think the first priority is the first-team, the starting XI, and even the academy is ahead of the new stadium.

“Different owners have different views. Of course, I understand that Sir Jack has done a lot of good things for the club, but I think you cannot compare two owners, because they share different backgrounds.

“And for Fosun and for myself, we always put the team first. When we talk about a club, the stadium is important, but in modern times it’s more about the squad.

“When you talk about the top clubs the first thing in your mind is not the stadium, the first thing is, in history, the players. So the focus will always be about the first-team.

“Also, the challenge in the Premier League is so tough now, you can see everything is so challenging. So we have to think about the first-team squad, the academy, ahead of everything else.

“But, of course, it’s nice if we have a new stadium. But we have to be patient to wait for the right time. Timing is everything. When the timing is right, I dare to do this. But above that, I’m like the captain of the ship. I have to keep the ship stable, it’s very important. I do not want a shipwreck or anything.

“Financially, commercially, sporting wise, it should be stable, that’s the most important thing. And people are celebrating the fourth year in the Premier League like it’s something amazing, but to me it’s not. I think we can stay here forever.

“So if you want to do that, you have to think about the players first, rather than think about a new stadium. I think a lot of cases in the past years in the world, you built a new stadium and then you jumped to League One or the Championship or whatever. So why do this?

“That’s my reasoning and maybe it’s different from the previous owners, but everyone has their own character, so I just be myself.”

However, the club are looking into renovation plans for the Steve Bull stand which will see changes to the turnstile access, upgrades to hospitality and a new-look concourse.

Meanwhile, Shi has revealed moving to a new stadium away from Molineux is now out of the question.

That had previously been something Fosun were considering but they will now focus on redeveloping the current site.

When asked if moving to a new location was still on the table, Shi said: "No, I think Russell (Jones) has good done a good job and he proposed to me a good plan. Before that plan, I thought a new location would be possible, but after that plan – I have seen that plan, it’s a very good plan – so I don’t think we should move to another location."