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Official Review by Andrew Kulyk, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Molineux Stadium, located smack dab in the center of the city of Wolverhampton (130 miles northwest of London), is one of the oldest stadiums in the Premier League, with its origins going back to the founding of the Wolverhampton Wanderers FC way back in 1889. It was one of the first stadiums to install floodlights to be able to host night matches, and hosted some of the first European Club games back in the 1950s. A multi million pound renovation in the 1990s brought it to its current configuration, four separate stands with a capacity of almost 30,000. Plans for future enhancements should bring capacity up to 36,000 while also adding new modern day amenities, museum, hospitality areas and electronics.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Food menu here is simple and spartan, with beer, soda pop, tea and coffee along with crisps and pot pies the only items available. The best bet is to check out and patronize one of the many vending carts surrounding the stadium. There are plenty of hot dogs, burgers, pizza and brats along with specialty food stands to satisfy anyone's palate. Our favorite was the roast pork, gravy and stuffing sandwich served up an oversized roll. At £3.50, it's an absolute delight. We should also mention a modern and well stocked team merchandise store outside the stadium's Billy Wright Stand.
Wolverhampton fans are loud, and they are passionate. The entire stadium is engulfed in the team colors of black and yellow. As in its peer venues, the away fans are seated in their own special section, far away from the hometown fans. Chanting, singing and insults fly back and forth throughout the match, all in good fun. Little is done in terms of game day presentation, although they did sponsor a youth game at halftime with a penalty kick contest. No national anthem is presented here, the game just starts after brief introductions.
Molineux stadium is located inside a ring road that circles Wolverhampton's city center. Clean and tidy residential side streets surround the stadium with some neighborhood service establishments and a few pubs, all with ample outdoor patios, to cater to thirsty fans before and after the game. It is all very tidy and safe in this mid sized town.
In recent seasons, Wolverhanpton has fallen on some tough times, often relegated to the second tier Championship League, so their return to the Premier League in 2009 was greeted with jubilation, fans pouring onto the pitch and dancing in the streets. Despite a dismal start to their current season, fans pretty much gobble up all of the tickets here and are hoping for better days ahead. The team almost went into financial ruin in the 1980s, before the city council bailed the team out with stadium improvements, and a new owner swooped in back in 1990 to stabilize the team's finances.
Getting to Molineux is a snap, with easy access via the ring road which surrounds the city center. There are parking lots surrounding the stadium, mostly reserved for prepaid permits, and paid lots as well as ramps in the city center within easy walking distance for as cheap as £5. There is also free street parking and stadium lots about a 20 minute walk away which offer complimentary parking. American style tailgating is nowhere to be found, although it would work well here. Ingress and egress flows pretty easily via the road network around the venue. Wolverhampton's train station, serving other points in England, is about a 20 minute walk from Molineux Stadium.
Adult ticket prices for "A" games run £30-£40, with discounts offered to youth and seniors. There are also fixed prices available for "B" games running from £24-£30. The team publishes available ticket information for its next two home games and pricing on its web site along with ordering information.
Sportingbet.com is the betting agency with betting parlors situated throughout the stands and legalized wagering available for the in stadium match and other matches.
As things stand now, there are no operable video boards or scoreboard inside the stadium. The boards are dark, and rough time for the fans is kept via analog clocks situated along the roof lines in either end zone.
Despite the lack of electronics, the team has splurged on an opulent fine dining option, a restaurant named Sir Jack's Restaurant with a tableside view of the soccer pitch. Located in the Billy Wright Stand, it is open for reservations on match days as well as for private functions.
Member Review by Anluanhennigan on Jan 07, 2011
Wolverhampton will never be one of the Midlands jewels, but you don;t have to stay there outisde of the football!
Nearby Birmingham and Coventry offer a myriad of attractions and shopping. The excellent transport links (public and private) mean that tripping around the area is a breeze.
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