Sir Jack Hayward: Former Wolves owner dies, aged 91

Sir Jack Hayward
Sir Jack Hayward bought Wolves for £2m in 1990

Former Wolves owner Sir Jack Hayward has died at the age of 91, the Championship club have announced.

Sir Jack, who passed away in Fort Lauderdale in Florida on Tuesday, was owner for 17 years before selling to Steve Morgan for a token £10 in 2007.

He was at the helm when Wolves were promoted to the Premier League in 2003.

The Bahamas-based multi-millionaire was also responsible for the transformation of Wolves' Molineux home into a modernised 28,000 all-seater stadium.

Wolves players will wear black armbands and a minute's silence will be held before Tuesday night's FA Cup third round replay against Fulham.

Manager Dave Jones and chairman Sir Jack Hayward celebrate Wolves' promotion to the Premier League in 2003
Sir Jack's proudest moment was winning promotion to the Premier League while Dave Jones was manager in 2003

"Wolves are a family and we're united in mourning at the loss of one of the club's, and the city's, most cherished sons," said Morgan. "Sir Jack always said that he was a custodian of the club during his ownership. He was merely looking after Wolves for the supporters.

"That philosophy shone through during his 17-year ownership of Wolves. Rather than trying to recoup some of his own huge outlay, he handed over Wolves in such a way that it secured even more investment.

Sir Jack's reign at Molineux
1990 - Bought club for £2m, putting in £70m of his own money over 17 years. Sons Jonathan and Rick both had spells at the helm during that time.
Seven Wolves managers worked under him: Graham Turner (resigned, March 1994); Graham Taylor (sacked, November 1995); Mark McGhee (sacked, November 1998), Colin Lee (sacked, December 2000), Dave Jones (sacked, November 2004), Glenn Hoddle (resigned, July 2006) and Mick McCarthy (sacked by Morgan, February 2012)
2007 - Sold to Steve Morgan for a nominal fee of £10, allowing the new owner to use his money to fund a further promotion in 2009.

"That kind of philanthropy didn't only extend to Wolves. The purchase of Lundy Island for the National Trust and his huge donation to help re-build a hospital after the Falklands War, were just some examples of where he made a real and long lasting difference to causes close to his heart.

"A few months ago Sir Jack visited the Wolves museum and was shown his own tribute in the Hall of Fame. When asked to sign the visitors' book, his message was simple: 'Glad to have helped.'

BBC Sport's Pat Murphy
"What a life he had: fighter pilot, bon viveur, entrepreneur. He put £70m into his beloved Wolves as chairman for 17 years, saw them get into the Premier League - he was absolutely thrilled on that particular occasion. He used to brag that as a five-year-old he used to jump under the turnstiles and get in, and he was determined to repay that to Wolves later on."

"It was the measure of the most generous, humble and special gentleman you could ever wish to meet. The reality is we may never see his like again."

Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey added: "We're devastated at the loss of Sir Jack. He was more than just my boss for a period of time, in the same way he was so much more than simply a chairman to our loyal supporters.

Tribute from BBC WM
"Sir Jack Hayward is the key figure in Wolves' modern history. His investment in his home town club lifted Wolves from their lowest ebb, rebuilding a dilapidated stadium and presiding, after many frustrations, over the club's first return to the top flight in the Premier League era. Sir Jack spent much of his life far from Wolverhampton but was always in close touch with events at Molineux, where he had first cheered on Wolves as a boy in the 1930s."Mike Taylor (BBC WM's Wolves reporter)

"He was one of this country's great, eccentric characters, philanthropists and football supporters who combined huge commercial vision in his business interests with the desire to put something back into his community and to make a real difference to the causes he loved.

"Wolves was obviously one of his greatest passions and he still retained the same love for the club - the same glint in his eye - that he had as a youngster climbing underneath Molineux's turnstiles, despite the inevitable ups and downs associated with running a football club."

Rick Hayward and Sir Jack, Molineux 2003
Sir Jack briefly handed over the running of the club to son Rick in 2003