Football League chairman Greg Clarke has paid tribute to former Wolverhampton Wanderers owner Sir Jack Hayward OBE, who has died today aged 91.Sir Jack was born close to the club's home at Molineux and supported the team as a boy. He bought the club in 1990 and during his time as owner transformed Wolves on and off the field, redeveloping their stadium and realising the dream of playing in the top flight once again.
Paying tribute to Sir Jack this afternoon, Greg Clarke said: “Along with everyone at The Football League, I’m saddened to learn of Sir Jack’s passing. He made an enormous contribution to Wolverhampton Wanderers and our competition during his 17 years as owner.
"One only has to look at Molineux today to see the enduring legacy of his generous support for the club and everyone at Wolves will miss him greatly.”
In 2007 Sir Jack handed stewardship of Wolves over to current chairman Steve Morgan for a sum of £10 in return for a £30 million investment in the club. Two years later they won the Championship to secure a return to the top flight, where they would remain for the three seasons.
Mr 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. 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 that 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 that it secured even more investment into the club."
As a mark of respect, Wolves players will wear black armbands and a minute’s silence will be held ahead of this evening’s FA Cup Third Round replay with Fulham at Molineux.
A full tribute to Sir Jack’s life and achievements will take place before Wolves’ home game with Blackpool on Saturday.