Birmingham & Black Country

Sir Jack Hayward funeral: Wolverhampton pays respects

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Media captionA boyhood fan, Sir Jack bought the club in 1990, spending some £70m of his own money before selling up in 2007

Thousands of people lined the streets of Wolverhampton as the city said farewell to Sir Jack Hayward.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers owner, businessman and philanthropist died on 13 January, aged 91.

A boyhood fan, he bought the club in 1990, spending some £70m of his own money before selling up in 2007.

His funeral included a helicopter flypast and a big screen in Queen Square broadcast the service.

'Celebration of life'

At the Molineux ground, fans left floral tributes and banners at the Billy Wright statue.

Wolves legend Steve Bull was among players present to pay tribute.

Image caption Roads closed in the city as the procession moved from the ground
Image caption Roger Newton said Sir Jack was one of the city's "few heroes"

A room in the Stan Cullis stand was opened for fans to pay their respects, with a book of condolence and a display of photographs.

Fan Daniel Wilkes, 20 from Wolverhampton, said: "I've never met Sir Jack, but he's done so much for the club and the city - he's made it what it is."

Roger Newton, from Wolverhampton, said Sir Jack was a, "great Wulfrunian".

"Wolverhampton hasn't got many heroes but he was one," he said. "His heart was here."

Image caption A hush descends on the crowds in Queen Square as they watch the service
Image caption Fan Daniel Wilkes says Sir Jack 'made Wolverhampton what it is'

A number of roads in the city closed for the funeral cortege which left Wolverhampton's Molineux ground and travelled to St Peter's Collegiate Church.

Fans applauded as the cortege passed, chanting: "He was one of our own."

Former cricketer Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint, and Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant were among those paying tribute.

Lady Heyhoe Flint said the late Sir Jack had reminded her of "a naughty schoolboy".

"He loved to play tricks," she said. "He would always try to trick me with his Black Country accent - but it was a bit too posh."

She added Sir Jack had been proud of his country and had only driven British cars.

"He asked me to check what tyres the Queen had when she visited once," she said.

Sir Jack sold the club to Steve Morgan in 2007 for £10. Speaking to BBC WM, the Wolves chairman said of the church service: "Fittingly the service lasted exactly ninety minutes and Sir Jack must have organised that."

Image caption Fans gathered to watch Sir Jack on his "final journey"

Rob Gurney, BBC WM

There was applause at Molineux from hundreds of supporters who have waved Sir Jack on his way.

We saw a Lynx helicopter and a 671 Squadron Army Air Corps fly past - that was the regiment for whom Sir Jack served in World War Two.

Appropriately enough Sir Jack, who loved all things British, made his final journey in a hearse built by Jaguar. It bore his coffin and was draped in a Union Flag.

The cortege passed down the track in front of the Billy Wright stand, and left the stadium beneath a banner bearing a photo of Sir Jack with his thumbs raised and the phrase, "Glad to have helped" underneath.

Two hundred fans, chosen by ballot, gathered in the church alongside Sir Jack's friends and family.

Club chaplain Rev David Wright, led the service, said Sir Jack had organised much of it before his death.

"He chose all the music, he chose virtually all of the readings. He really had a hand in his own celebration of his life," he said.

Image copyright Wolverhampton Wanderers
Image caption Sir Jack was passionate about Wolves' ground maintaining its historical name

The man in quotes

  • "If anything in the stadium has to bear my name, how about the Hayward loos?" Sir Jack on the importance of keeping the Molineux name.
  • "If anyone ever tries to change the name from Molineux, I'll come back to haunt them."
  • "Seeing Wolves lose the FA Cup Final to Portsmouth in 1939 is still one of the most disappointing days of my life."
  • "Billy Wright was my all-time hero and I had tears in my eyes when I asked him to become a director."
  • "My friends in America say I must love owning my home-town club but unless we're 6-0 up with 15 minutes left, I hate the tension."
  • "I've only done what every fan would do."

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