12 Obscure Facts About Wolverhampton Wanderers

Colourful Sketch of Wolverhampton Wanderers' Molineux Stadium
Wolverhampton Wanderers, often simply called Wolves, is a club with a rich and varied history that spans more than a century. While many know about their famous orange and black kit or their successes on the pitch, there are numerous lesser-known facts that paint a broader picture of this storied club. Let’s explore these intriguing aspects in a friendly, conversational style.

Contents

The Origins of the “Wolves” Nickname

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ nickname, “Wolves,” is an obvious abbreviation of the club’s name, but its adoption is rooted deep in the club’s early history. Initially known as St. Luke’s FC when founded in 1877, the nickname was embraced after the club’s merger with the local cricket and football club, the Wanderers, in 1879.

The Pioneers of Floodlit Football

Wolves were among the first teams to play floodlit football. In the 1950s, under the guidance of manager Stan Cullis, the club installed floodlights at Molineux. This innovation led to a series of high-profile friendly matches against top European teams, which were dubbed as the original ‘European Cup’.

The Molineux Name Origin

The iconic Molineux Stadium, home of Wolves, is named after Benjamin Molineux, a successful local businessman. He initially developed the land on which the stadium stands as a pleasure park in the 18th century, long before it became synonymous with football.

A Nod from Agatha Christie

In an unexpected literary crossover, Wolverhampton Wanderers received a mention in Agatha Christie’s detective fiction. In her novel “The ABC Murders,” the famous detective Hercule Poirot attends a football match which is hinted to involve Wolves. This reference in such a renowned work of literature highlights the widespread recognition of the club, even in the most unexpected of places.

Celebrity Supporters

Famous faces are often spotted at Molineux. One of the most notable celebrity fans is Robert Plant, the legendary lead singer of Led Zeppelin. Plant’s passionate support for Wolves is well-documented and adds a rock and roll edge to the club’s fan base.

The Record-Breaking Transfer

Wolves made headlines with their record-breaking transfer of Ruben Neves in 2017. The midfielder’s signing from FC Porto for £15.8 million was the highest fee the club had ever paid at that time, signaling their ambitions for the future.

The Gold and Black Evolution

The club’s famous gold and black colours were not always their standard. Originally, Wolves played in red and white. The now-iconic gold and black were adopted in the 1890s and have since become synonymous with the club.

The Cup Final Heartbreak

Wolves have experienced their share of heartbreak too. The 1939 FA Cup Final, held just months before the outbreak of World War II, saw Wolves lose 4-1 to Portsmouth. This match is remembered for its historical context and as a ‘what could have been’ moment for the club.

The Wolfie and the Three Pigs Incident

In one of the more bizarre moments, the club’s mascot, Wolfie, got into a comical scuffle with three mascots dressed as pigs, representing a local double-glazing company. This incident, which occurred in the 1990s, is a quirky footnote in the club’s history.

The European Trailblazers

Wolves were instrumental in the birth of the UEFA Cup, now the Europa League. Their series of floodlit friendlies against top European teams in the 1950s played a significant role in the creation of the European competition.

The Hollywood Connection

The club has also had its moments on the silver screen. Wolverhampton Wanderers featured in the football-themed film “Escape to Victory,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine, where Molineux Stadium was used as one of the filming locations.

League Champions for the First Time

Wolves have the distinction of being one of the first winners of the English Football League. Their triumph in the 1953-54 season marked the club’s first-ever top-flight league title, a landmark achievement in their rich history.

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