Club owners Fosun have been targeting a redevelopment of the famous old gold stadium for some time now, with discussions ongoing with Wolverhampton Council’s planning department for around three years.
Plans were approved in May last year for a temporary 500-seat stand between the Sir Jack Hayward and Steve Bull stands – similar to the existing 800-seat Graham Hughes Stand in the south west corner – but work has yet to begin on that with Wolves obligated to commence work within two years.
Meanwhile, the club have been working on plans to extend and improve the existing stands – rather than demolishing and rebuilding them – with the aim of getting to a 50,000 capacity.
Fosun have been keen to retain the stadium’s character and make small improvements over time, meaning money can still be invested in the first team and academy.
Executive chairman Jeff Shi also said this year that improving the playing squad would be a priority over any stadium plans.
In May, Shi said: “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 eleven, and even the academy is ahead of the new stadium.”
Of the almost 32,000 capacity to date, it is estimated that around 20,000 fans use their own transport to arrive at the ground.
That number could be significantly increased if Molineux’s capacity is boosted and there have been some concerns over how the road network would handle it.
But chief executive of Wolverhampton Council, Tim Johnson, does not foresee any issues with transport as they work with Wolves to deliver the Molineux plans.
He said: “We enjoy a close working relationship with Wolves.
“I had a positive and energised meeting with senior officials from the club earlier this month to discuss their plans for the stadium and the wider Molineux Quarter. The council is 100 per cent committed to facilitating the club’s vision for its stadium, it is a matter for Wolves to announce what that redevelopment will look like and I am sure they, like all clubs, are taking stock and reviewing things moving out of the pandemic.
“What happens with Molineux going forward is driven entirely by the club, but nothing I have heard indicates there will be any significant infrastructure requirements in terms of transport, access, etc, that would hold anything up.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Wolves and the university to realise our exciting short-term and longer-term plans for the Molineux Quarter.”
Supporters have long been calling for the Steve Bull stand – the oldest in the ground – to be redeveloped with many reporting significant issues with accessibility and facilities.
On match-days it often takes at least 30 minutes to get through one of the nine turnstiles for the upper tier, while the toilet facilities leave much to be desired.
The seats in the ground are cramped, too, resulting in fans calling for changes to be made sooner rather than later.