Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club was founded in 1877 as St Luke’s F.C. by John Baynton and John Brodie, two pupils of St Luke’s Church School in Blakenhall, who had been presented with a football by their headmaster Harry Barcroft. The team played its first-ever game on 13 January 1877 against a reserve side from Stafford Road, later merging with the football section of a local cricket club called Blakenhall Wanderers to form Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 1879.
Having initially played on two different strips of land in the town, they relocated to a more substantial venue on Dudley Road in 1881, before lifting their first trophy in 1884 when they won the Wrekin Cup, during a season in which they played their first-ever FA Cup tie. Having become professional, the club were nominated to become one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, in which they played the first Football League match ever staged (against Aston Villa).
They ended the inaugural season in third place, as well as reaching their first FA Cup Final, losing 0–3 to the first “Double” winners, Preston North End. At the conclusion of the campaign the club relocated for a final time when they moved to Molineux, then a pleasure park known as the Molineux Grounds. They have played at Molineux Stadium, capacity 32,050, since 1889.
In 1953, Wolves was one of the first British clubs to install floodlights, taking part in televised “floodlit friendlies” against leading overseas club sides between 1953 and 1956 before the creation of the European Cup in 1955. Wolves’ traditional kit consists of gold shirts and black shorts and the club badge one or more wolves. Wolves have long-standing rivalries with other West Midlands clubs, the main one being with West Bromwich Albion, against whom they contest the Black Country derby.
With Major Frank Buckley (1927-1944) at the helm the team became established as one of the leading club sides in England in the years leading up to the Second World War, as they finished runners-up in the league twice in succession (1937–38 & 1938–39), as well as reaching the last pre-war FA Cup Final, in which they suffered a shock defeat to Portsmouth. In 1937–38 Wolves came within a whisker of winning the club’s first English league title: a win in the side’s last game away to Sunderland would have clinched things, but in the event Wolves lost 0–1 and thus ended the campaign one point behind the eventual champions, Arsenal.
One of the things Major Buckley and his Wolves side attracted a lot of attention for in the last two full seasons prior to the outbreak of the Second World War was Buckley’s insistence that his players be injected with monkey gland extract to enhance their stamina and performance, a practice that the Football League elected not to sanction.
Football League First Division:
- Champions (3): 1953–54, 1957–58, 1958–59
EFL Championship/Football League Second Division (1892–1992)
- Champions (4): 1931–32, 1976–77, 2008–09, 2017–18
EFL League One/Football League Third Division (Tier 3)
- Champions (3): 1923–24 (North), 1988–89, 2013–14
Football League Fourth Division (Tier 4)
- Champions (1): 1987–88
. Winners (4): 1892–93, 1907–08, 1948–49, 1959–60
Football League Cup
. Winners (2): 1973–74, 1979–80
FA Charity Shield
. Winners (4): 1949*, 1954*, 1959, 1960* (* joint holders)
In the Premier League we have a perfect away record against Wolves; however since the arrival of their current manager, Nuno Espírito Santo in May 2017, they are a very different proposition and I expect that it will be a difficult game.