Who's afraid of the big, bad Wolves?

PUBLISHED: 10:36 28 May 2007 | UPDATED: 10:19 14 September 2010

Wolves' new-found wealth is set to “raise the bar” for Championship clubs looking to reinforce their squads for the coming season - but don't expect the division to be overrun by big investors with money to burn.

Wolves' new-found wealth is set to “raise the bar” for Championship clubs looking to reinforce their squads for the coming season - but don't expect the division to be overrun by big investors with money to burn.

That's the view of City chief executive Neil Doncaster as another summer of transfer wheeling and dealing gets under way.

The decision of Wolves owner Sir Jack Hayward to sell the club to businessman Steve Morgan for just £10 - in return for a pledge to invest £30m at Molineux - is bound to give them a big advantage over their rivals in bidding for new players.

Mick McCarthy's team will be desperate to go one better than this year's play-off qualification by regaining Premiership status.

But Doncaster is not afraid of the big wad Wolves receive being replicated across the Championship.

He said: “Wolves is a really interesting one. If the reports are correct, that cash will go straight to the bottom line into the player budget.

“Undoubtedly that will have an impact if you are going for similar players and will raise the bar for the rest of us.

“The truth is that we can't compete for players with people who are going to put that kind of money in, but there aren't too many like Wolves about. If every club was like that I would be worried.

“And there are only a certain number of players they will want to have.”

He expects the Molineux windfall to be something of an exception in a division where most clubs are losing money. Whether the arrival of former Portsmouth owner Milan Mandaric as chairman of another Midlands club, Leicester, means the Foxes can match the Wolves in the hunt for new talent remains to be seen.

“I can't believe there will be too much more investment in the Championship in the way it happens in the Premiership because clubs are operating at a loss,” said Doncaster.

“There are still people queueing up to buy Premier League clubs where they are profitable - we're talking about something like £30-35m a year in TV money alone - but there aren't that many people in life willing to put money into loss-making businesses, even though football is slightly different.

“Even Charlton, Watford and Sheffield United, coming down with big parachute payments, also have players on Premiership wages to pay.”

City's spending limitations were highlighted last summer when just one new player arrived during the close season, winger Lee Croft making the £600,000 switch from Manchester City, while they were outbid for former boss Nigel Worthington's top targets, such as strikers Rob Hulse and Steve Howard.

Asked if he was confident there would be more new faces this time for manager Peter Grant, Doncaster said: “I wouldn't want to make predictions because football is a very, very unpredictable business.

“But the work is ongoing to identify players and as we brought Mark Fotheringham back from Switzerland and Simon Lappin from Scotland, it's fair to say the net is cast more widely than may have been the case in the past. We are very open-minded about players coming in.”

City's financial welfare was boosted earlier this month when Andrew and Sharon Turner, owners and directors of Norwich-based personal finance giants Central Trust plc, joined the board and handed over a £2m interest-free loan which, says the club, means Grant will not need to sell his best players.

The Canaries also have nearly 18,000 season ticket-holders on board for 2007-08 and expect to get close to their ceiling of just over 20,000, though Doncaster would not say exactly how much those sales brought into the City kitty.

He said: “I wouldn't want to put a figure on it but we're obviously very happy with the sales so far. But we also know that if a club gets £30m it have be far bigger impact than anything we can make from season ticket sales.”

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