I’ll let you in on a secret.
I was sceptical when Fosun bought Wolves. While the majority rejoiced, I was privately fretting that our club would become the latest to be rendered a laughing stock by inept owners.
After all, you only need to glance over at St Andrew’s to find an example of what can happen to a club when it falls into the wrong hands.
Fast forward five years and, with the Wanderers well established in the Premier League, it’s clear to see my fears were unfounded.
Or were they?
For the first time, it feels as if Fosun’s motives are being doubted by devotees of the old gold.
This inclination was never more prevalent than on transfer deadline day, when Jeff Shi appeared to be channelling the spirit of Dale Winton during a madcap, but ultimately unsuccessful, trolley dash around Jorge Mendes’ bargain bins.
As my fellow Wolves Blogger and namesake put it so poetically in a recent blog post, our failure to land a big-name centre back and/or midfielder was akin to being ghosted by an improbably attractive Tinder match.
In fairness to Jeff, he hasn’t shied away from communicating with fans this summer (albeit it through a paywall on the last occasion). The question, I suppose, is whether we believe what he is saying.
We were told that we needed to sell to buy this summer and, given our modest net spend, that appears to have been the case.
However, frugality in the transfer market doesn’t necessarily explain why the much-needed redevelopment of Molineux has been shelved.
I’m far from an economist, but I’m not sure I entirely buy Jeff’s reasoning for delaying those works. If the board want to grow the club’s fanbase, then surely it needs to cater for those who are sat eagerly on the season ticket waiting list? And surely the debacle with the Graham Hughes stand could have been avoided?
Whatever your take, it’s safe to say that Fosun’s initial ambitions have been considerably scaled back and that in itself leads to a much more prevalent question – should we be disappointed by this?
The success of our first two seasons back in the Premier League was more than a little unexpected. I’m certain that most fans, myself included, would have settled for the comforts of mid-table before we embarked on our return to the top flight.
And, while it’s easy to get a little punch-drunk on the ride to the top, I don’t think it’d be a terrible thing to settle for now. The league is becoming an increasingly closed shop. Wolves aren’t the only aspirational team that will struggle to compete with the financial might of the Manchester clubs, Chelsea, and Liverpool.
Just look at our neighbour’s result at Stamford Bridge last weekend. My old man is a Villa fan (and, I assume, paying for sins in a past life) and reliably informed me that they played well against Chelsea. That may be the case, but the scoreline still read 3-0 at full-time.
Cast your mind back to our opening three results and, at risk of sounding like from Rust Cohle from True Detective, I’m inclined to ask – what’s the point of trying to compete? To what extent could we ever realistically challenge the ‘Super League’ cabal anyway?
Perhaps we ought to ignore Jeff’s dalliances with esports and dodgy Chinese clobber and just carry on kicking back and enjoying the stellar football being served up by Bruno Lage’s charges, and worry about the future when it arrives.
We’ve had it worse.