Wolves returning to English Premier League after 6 years
LONDON (AP) — Wolverhampton Wanderers secured a return to the English Premier League after a six-year absence.
Promotion was clinched by the runway League Championship leader without playing, thanks to Fulham conceding a stoppage-time goal to draw with Brentford 1-1 on Saturday.
Wolves players watched the game on television and were filmed anxiously watching the closing seconds before embracing in celebrations.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves, who have won 28 of their 42 games in the second tier, don’t play until Sunday.
Wolves have occupied top spot since October and achieved promotion with four games to spare. Attention will now turn to clinching the title, with Wolves nine points ahead of second-place Cardiff.
Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple credits Santo, a former Porto and Valencia coach, with spearheading the team’s revival since taking charge last year.
“What he has brought in has been fantastic,” Dalrymple told Sky Sports. “He came in, he changed the playing style. We’ve recruited well and he’s galvanized the group really strongly in a very short space of time.
“And very, very quickly he had us playing a different style of football than we’d been accustomed to, and a brand of football that was delivering results really quickly.”
But there has been some disquiet around Wolves, which won three top-flight titles in the 1950s and the last of its four FA Cups in 1960.
Santo is represented by Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes, as are several Wolves players, including record-signing midfielder Ruben Neves.
In 2015, Mendes agreed to sell a minority share of his firm to a subsidiary of Fosun International, the Chinese company that has owned Wolves since July 2016.
But rival clubs have complained to the English Football League about the relationship between Wolves and Mendes.
Mendes’ most renowned clients are Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.