Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple has left the club after a breakdown in the relationship with the board.
Dalrymple has left with immediate effect and been placed on gardening leave. He had been with the club for four-and-a-half years, initially as head of commercial affairs but in his current role for the last three years.
The suddenness of his departure was reflected by the fact his Twitter account still said he was Wolves managing director many hours after the announcement of his exit.
It’s understood there was friction between Chinese owners Fosun and Dalrymple, who oversaw the commercial and non-football operations at the club.
Criticism of the staffing and catering at last month’s Rod Stewart concert, which Dalrymple ultimately was responsible for, might not have helped his cause.
After the concert, he tweeted to his 15,500 followers: “We had some teething issues with staffing, and those will be ironed out for August. That aside, a brilliant performance by @rodstewart last night and extremely proud of the @Wolves team for all their hard work to make this happen. Hope you all enjoyed the first of many more.”
But it’s believed there were other issues behind the scenes, not least the 24-7 nature of the job, which placed the relationship between him and the board under strain.
Dalrymple’s family home is in south London, so he often spent the week living with his in-laws in Sutton Coldfield and travelled back south to see his family whenever he could.
Chairman Jeff Shi will assume some of Dalrymple’s duties but the club have no immediate plans to appoint a replacement.
Dalrymple was brought to the club by previous chief executive Jez Moxey under the stewardship of previous owner Steve Morgan and seemed to be the golden boy of the new Wolves under Fosun, being promoted to MD.
His team launched the first Wolves app, and the club had by far the biggest growth in social media in Europe’s top five leagues last season.
He was a popular figure among fans, many believing he strengthened the bond between the club and its supporters, in stark contrast to Moxey, who was not one to mix as readily with the fanbase. Dalyrmple’s popularity only soared when he went into pubs with Shi to buy fans a pint before games to thank them for their support, the last time being before the FA Cup quarter-final at home to Manchester United on March 16.
Dalrymple was regularly a public face of Wolves and spoke passionately and eloquently about the plans to rebuild Molineux and outline the ambitions of owners Fosun, as well as engaging with fans on Twitter.
But since the end of last season – notwithstanding it is the close season and he has had a holiday – his tweets have become less frequent.
However there was no hint of what was to come with his tweet on May 12 following the final game of the season at Liverpool.
He said: “And that’s a wrap for 2018/19. You all deserve huge credit for a fantastic season with so much amazing support throughout. We look forward to next season together, and we’ll work hard over the summer to be ready to go again. Safe journey home tonight, next stop (picture of the Chinese flag) #OnePack”
In a statement, the club said: “Wolves can confirm that managing director Laurie Dalrymple has had his contract ended and been placed on garden leave with immediate effect.
“Initially hired as head of commercial affairs, Dalrymple exits Molineux after four-and-a-half years, three of which have been in his current position, overseeing all commercial, stadium and non-football administrative staff at the club.
“There are no immediate plans to replace Dalrymple, with chairman Jeff Shi assuming some of the managing director’s key responsibilities going into the new season.
“The club would like to place on record its appreciation to Laurie for his contribution during his time at Wolves.”
Shi said: “With the strong management team we have in place at Wolves we will continue to push forward on and off the pitch.
“We have very clear strategies for all areas of the club, and we are very much looking forward to the new challenges that this season will bring.”