In these tough times for the construction industry it’s hard to believe that anyone would fight hard to get back into house-building.
But Wolverhampton Wanderers owner Steve Morgan has done just that. Clearly seeing the promotion of his beloved Wolves as a good omen for the future he has bought his way back into house building firm Redrow eight years after leaving it. He owns 29.9 per cent of the company and has returned to the helm as chairman.
And he’s keen to focus the firm on future success, creating new jobs and getting back into the business of building houses.
He has taken on 70 direct staff and created a further 500 jobs for sub-contractors after abandoning the previous management’s focus on apartments and starter homes to concentrate on the family market.
Redrow launched a rights issue last year to give them the financial headroom to pursue land purchase opportunities. This is expected to net around £150 million. The company also bought Steve Morgan’s Harrow Estates business which specialises in buying brownfield sites.
Steve Morgan, aged 56, began his successful business career in construction in 1974 when he founded Redrow Homes with the help of a £5,000 loan from his father. He built it up into one of the country’s most successful housebuilders. When it floated in 2000 he sold shares worth almost £240 million. His holding is now worth around £70 million.
His other interest – Wolverhampton Wanderers – lost money last year, but has dipped into a transfer pot to give it a squad worthy of the Premier League. The club made a £4 million loss, but Steve Morgan has provided working capital and paid off some of the club’s bank loans.
He continues to have ambitious plans for Molineux. The man who bought Wolverhampton Wanderers for just £10 in 2007 wants to see the ground’s capacity increased from its current 28,500 to more than 40,000.
His rebuilding plans involve all four stands, plus a hotel on the site. He has already carried out extensive refurbishments to the Molineux hospitality facilities.
When he bought Wolves from the legendary Sir jack Hayward he pledged to invest at least £30 million in the club. He’s looking on course to exceed that.
Molineux will certainly benefit from the investment. It was last refurbished back in the early 1990s when Sir Jack rebuilt three sides of the ground. He built the £5 million Billy Wright Stand and the new North and South banks as well as improving what is now the Steve Bull Stand.
Steve Morgan always described Wolves as his “second club”, being a lifelong supporter of Liverpool FC which he twice unsuccessfully tried to buy. However, his first love is now Wolves who have performed well under his ownership.
He is a firm believer in philanthropy and in 2001 founded the Morgan Foundation which helps charities in Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales, and funds Wolves Aid, which supports local charities and itself benefited from a £125,000 donation from the Morgan Foundation. One of its latest donations was £10,000 to The Nessie Club, a youth project in Runcorn which has enabled more than 1,000 vulnerable and at-risk young people escape poverty and deprivation.
He is also involved in projects to supply running water to villages in Uganda.
Born in Garston, South Liverpool, he is married to Didi and has five children. He received the OBE in 1992 for services to construction.