1. ITV Report

What has gone wrong at Wolves?

Wolves manager Dean Saunders is dejected at the final whistle after losing to Burnley Photo: David Davies/PA Wire


Wolverhampton Wanderers' chairman Steve Morgan and board member Jez Moxey Credit: Daniel Hambury/EMPICS Sport

Owner, Steve Morgan, has long felt the ire of the Wolves fans going back to last season in the Premier League with the infamous 'Scouse mafia out' banner.

Fans point to his failure to back both Sale Solbakken and Dean Saunders in the transfer market this year, instead choosing to invest in a new stand in the stadium.

Morgan was widely criticised for his appointment of an inexperienced manager in the form of Terry Connor last season and he has also been attacked this year for his choices.

Hiring Solbakken was a leftfield choice but many people believe he was not given enough time. Solbakken himself says he was hired to build a new culture and identity in the long term but was never given the chance.

After Solbakken's sacking, Dean Saunders was hired - a man considered too inexperienced for the role.

Some fans have defended Morgan's spending policy, claiming only Blackburn spent more than them in the Championship. But a lack of January spending is considered a huge factor in their continued decline.


It took Dean Saunders ten games before he won his first as Wolves manager Credit: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Stale Solbakken was appointed as manager at the start of the season, promising to change the culture of the club and to provide some long term stability.

His arrival brought a mixed reputation having won league titles and experienced some success in the Champions League with Copenhagen but having just been sacked after taking German side Koln to the brink of relegation.

Managers appointed at clubs who have just been relegated to the Championship tend to be those experienced at providing instant promotion (Allardyce, Warnock etc.) Therefore, Solbakken's appointment was considered a surprise.

Wolves began well under his watch, entering October in third place. But no wins in nine games meant Wolves entered the Christmas period in 19th.

The lowest point came as Wolves suffered the humiliation of getting knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Luton Town - a team 59 places below them in the league. The result led to the sacking of Solbakken and the signing of Dean Saunders.

Saunders' appointment was considered a risky one, he had taken Doncaster down the previous season, and results did not improve. No wins in his first nine league games saw Wolves slide into the relegation zone.

The defence has struggled under Saunders who has not helped by chopping and changing between experience and youth. Results such as the 3-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Huddersfield were examples of the club's failure to hang onto leads. Ultimately this has proved a huge factor in a second successive probable relegation.


Karl Henry has been in and out of the team this season Credit: Lewis Whyld/EMPICS Sport

Many of the players who were expected to dominate the league when Wolves were relegated to the Championship have either failed to perform to the same levels or have spent more time on the treatment table.

Top scorer Sylvan Ebanks-Blake suffered a season-ending broken leg last month while other important players such as Bakary Sakho (hamstring), Dave Edwards (foot) and Carl Ikeme (hand) also missed significant time.

Karl Henry has admitted that his form has not been good enough this season but others such as Roger Johnson and Jamie O'Hara were expected to lead the team's fight back to the Premier League and have performed way below expectations.