FORMER Wolves owner Sir Jack Hayward has died at the age of 91, the club have announced.
Hayward, who ran the club for 17 years from 1990 to 2007, passed away in Fort Lauderdale in the United States on Tuesday after battling illness for several months.
Paying tribute, current chairman Steve Morgan said: “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.”
Hayward was born close to Molineux, a ground he later transformed into one of the country’s first all-seater stadiums after taking over Wolves.
It was not until May 2003, however, that Hayward’s dream of returning the club to the top flight was finally realised, albeit only for a season as Wolves were swiftly relegated.
A renowned philanthropist, Bahamas-based multi-millionaire Hayward often gave money to good causes close to his heart.
One of his most generous acts saw Hayward sell Wolves to Morgan in 2003 for just £10, in return for a £30 million investment.
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Morgan added: “Our most sincere condolences go out to Sir Jack’s loved ones at this very sad and difficult time.
“Sir Jack always said to me 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 it secured even more investment into the club.
“That kind of philanthropy didn’t only extend to Wolves, of course.
“The purchase of Lundy Island for the National Trust and his huge donation to help rebuild 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.’
“That was the measure of the most generous, humble and special gentleman you could ever wish to meet, and the reality is we may never see his like again.
“On behalf of everyone connected to Wolverhampton Wanderers: thank you, Sir Jack. You’ll never be forgotten.”
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