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A Story Of The Football Club And The City: How Wolves Dropped the Ball

18/04/2016 14:37

Wolverhampton; the city that brought you Banks Beer, Slade, the first football chant in the world via Edward Elgar and the home of the greatest football team the world has ever seen, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It's a wonderful place.

But this is probably the most depressing article I have ever written, so if you are having a nice day go ahead and look at puppies on the internet instead of reading this rant about second division football club who is ridiculously out of touch with the community it claims to serve.

Still here? Okay, you asked for it.

Sunny Wolves doesn't get a lot of good press in the media; it's been named one of the worst cities in the world by Lonely Planet, least happy place to live in the West Midlands by Rightmove and one of the most uncultured places in the country by the Royal Society of Art. The Office for National Statistics also reported that Wulfrunians are among the most dissatisfied people in the UK and The legatum Institute recorded that people from Wolverhampton are the UK's most miserable.

It's fairly bleak reading isn't it and I've only just started.

It's going to be no shock to you that Wolverhampton holds a high rate of marginalisation which is highlighted in Wolverhampton Council's 'Children, Young Persons and Families Plan 2015-25' strategy. The document states nearly one third of all children in the city live in poverty and almost 60 per cent of 0-15 year olds live in a deprived area.

Youth unemployment in Wolverhampton is at twice the national average in the country and 14,000 young people live in households that do not work.

Places like Wolverhampton are prime locations for people turning to payday or doorstep lenders thanks to frozen benefit levels and people who are working poor.

Over the past 5 years Wolverhampton Council has put a lot of money and resources into fighting payday lenders and educating the community of the damage organisations like this do.

Enter Wolverhampton Wanderers, the richest institution in the city region who states it 'work's hard to address health, inequalities, educational needs, employability, reduce antisocial behaviour and much more' signs a sponsorship deal with high street payday loan firm The Money Shop.

The same organisation that was ordered to pay back £700,000 by the Financial Conduct Authority in 2014 after admitting it gave out loans that people could not afford and in 2015 they were told to pay back £15m to 147,000 customers - many of whom were given loans they could not afford to repay.

Obviously there has been some resistance from Wolves fans which the club parried with a official statement defending the decision saying The Money Shop "are going above and beyond regulation in promoting financial transparency and the bigger main club sponsorship of Wolves gives them a significant media platform to champion this message."

Come on Wolves, no matter how you dress this sponsorship union it is clear it is just about money and I find it insulting you are trying to drape a veil of dishonesty that you are working together to address a lot of the problems your new sponsor had a hand in creating.

Yes you are a business and you are not executively accountable by the people of the city but you do have a responsibility to your community you claim to support. These are the people who pay your expensive entrance tickets and talk about you with pride.

I love Wolves with a passion but I won't be back at the Molineux until I see some accountability from the football club, if you were a real person I'd tell you to grow up and take some responsibility for your actions.

It's another sad day for Wolverhampton.

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