Express & Star

Matt Maher: You can’t dampen Wolves fans’ expectations...then tell them they must pay more

We have reached that point of the year when the mood of a fanbase is no longer dictated by results on the field but developments off it.

Last updated
Executive Chairman, Jeff Shi and owner of Wolves Guo Guangchang are seen during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighton (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC)

Top of the feelgood charts as we head into the summer are obviously Villa. This transfer window, at least in the early part, is unlikely to be straightforward yet any worries supporters might have about profit and sustainability rules can instantly be eased by two words: Champions League.

For Albion, there are also reasons to be cheerful. Granted, Carlos Corberan was unable to work the same magic he had for the previous nine months in the play-offs. But the Baggies still ended the season with you convinced they had the right man in the dugout and – just maybe – the right people in the boardroom after Shilen Patel’s much-needed takeover.

Even Blues fans can find some solace in new ownership. Playing in League One is an embarrassment for a club of their stature and Tom Wagner’s Knighthead Group must take most of the blame following the disastrous appointment of Wayne Rooney. Yet you still suspect the long-term prospects at St Andrew’s are brighter than they were 18 months ago under the chaotic reign of Trillion Trophy Asia.

Which brings us to Wolves, where the atmosphere feels a whole lot chillier after yesterday’s confirmation of significant season ticket price rises.

The news arrived, admittedly, off the back of a season which went better than many feared when Julen Lopetegui walked out just a few days before it began, even though the 14th-placed finish (or 15th, if you add Everton’s docked points back on) again left Wolves at the lower end of the Premier League’s mid-table.

You saw enough, however, from Gary O’Neil to suggest he is a coach capable of setting up a team and bringing the best out of the talent at his disposal. There were enough memorable moments to make the campaign feel a better one than the finishing position might suggest.