Wolves unveil statue of Sir Jack Hayward

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Media caption,

Statue of Sir Jack Hayward unveiled outside Molineux

A statue of former Wolverhampton Wanderers owner Sir Jack Hayward has been unveiled on what would have been his 95th birthday.

The Bahamas-based multi-millionaire ploughed £70m into the club.

The statue, which was unveiled at Molineux, depicts him giving Wolves fans the thumbs up as his team reached the Premier League for the first time.

It was sculpted by artist James Butler, who created the existing Billy Wright and Stan Cullis statues at the stadium.

Sir Jack's son Jonathan said he would have been "humbled" by the tribute.

Sir Jack, who died in 2015, was responsible for transforming Molineux into a modern all-seater stadium.

He was the owner for 17 years before selling to Steve Morgan for a token £10 in 2007.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Sir Jack was responsible for transforming Molineux into a modern all-seater stadium

The bronze sculpture took two years to produce and depicts him giving supporters the thumbs up as the side won the 2003 play-off final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

It was unveiled earlier in the corner between the Sir Jack Hayward and Steve Bull stands.

"He will have the city of Wolverhampton to one side, and Molineux to the other, both of which were so important and so special to him. He is truly one of our own," his son Jonathan added.

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Managing director Laurie Dalrymple said without Sir Jack "we wouldn't even have a team to support"

Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple said the statue would act as a "sign of our gratitude".

He said: "Sir Jack touched the lives of everyone he met, and a lot of those that he never met, and for everything he did for Wolverhampton Wanderers and the city of Wolverhampton."

At the scene: BBC reporter John Bray

When Sir Jack Hayward was invited to sign the visitors' book in the Wolves Museum, a few months before his death in 2015, he wrote simply: "Glad to have helped."

Well Wolves fans think he did a bit more than just helped.

He rescued the financially-faltering club in 1990 and a once-dilapidated stadium was completely transformed under his stewardship.

His name is still sung on match days. "Thumbs up if you love Sir Jack."

He never forgot his Wolverhampton roots. And he definitely was not a man for fuss and would probably not consider himself worthy of a statue alongside Molineux giants Stan Cullis and Billy Wright.

But Wolves fans will tell you he is.

As supporters dream of an exciting new Premier League chapter next season, they recognise so much is owed to him.

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