Wolverhampton W 1 Cardiff City 2: Wasteful Wolves miss the chance to attract well-heeled suitors

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The Independent Football

Wanted: new owner for football club. Once considered best club in Europe. Now in second division of English football. Bids above £20m considered.

Not exactly how Wolverhampton Wanderers' brief to the investment bank Rothschild will read, as Sir Jack Hayward continues to try to relieve himself of the burden of running the West Midlands side, but, having rejected Graeme Souness' consortium last week, they are having to look once more for new purchasers.

If the way that Wolves' chief executive, Jez Moxey, handled Souness' bid was a less than impressive affair, first denying there was any offer and then rejecting it, on the basis of this game it is unlikely there will be potential suitors queuing up around this part of the Black Country.

Mick McCarthy's men had a host of chances which they failed to turn into a healthy lead and in the end were caught out twice by a Cardiff City side who had not won for 13 games and had no supporters either.

After fighting between fans at the past two games at Molineux between these sides it was decided by a Safety Advisory Group to ban Cardiff's support. The Football League agreed and the Wolves board upheld that move in November. Both managers agreed that it wrecked the atmosphere, although McCarthy felt his side had played well enough to win most games. For Dave Jones, returning to his old club, this was an immensely satisfying day out, and one he enjoyed with his chairman, Peter Ridsdale, by his side in the dug-out, the Welshmen having refused Wolves' hospitality.

Michael Chopra chose this fixture to end his six-game streak without a goal, lobbing Matt Murray confidently. He was then involved when setting up the debutant Jason Byrne, a prolific scorer in his native Ireland and a cousin of the former Wolves striker Robbie Keane, for the winner two minutes from time. In between, Seji Olofinjana had given the hosts hope with his tap-in from close range, but they were then denied by the post and the goalkeeper Neil Alexander.

Wolves have never been a club low in self-esteem, claiming to be the best in Europe when they beat Honved, of Hungary, before the onset of the European Cup in 1955. They also believe they are worth more than Souness' £20m.

Moxey said: "After giving careful consideration to this offer, Sir Jack and the board have unanimously decided to reject it formally on the basis that they do not believe it fully values the club and the opportunity at Molineux and that the offer is also significantly below proposals already put forward by other parties."

While the next four months will demonstrate whether the club can make the play-offs, they could also determine the much longer-term future of the men from Molineux.

Goals: Chopra (27) 0-1; Olofinjana (57) 1-1; Byrne (88) 1-2.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-5-1): Murray; Little, Fleming, Collins, Clapham; Kightly, Henry, Olofinjana, Potter, McIndoe (J Johnson, 85); C Davies (Ward, 82). Substitutes not used: Oakes, M Davies, Collins

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Alexander; McNaughton, Purse (R Johnson, 41), Loovens, Ledley; Parry, McPhail, Scimeca, Whittingham (Flood, 76); Chopra, Thompson (Byrne, 62). Substitutes not used: Forde, Campbell.

Referee: J Moss (Yorkshire).

Booking: Cardiff City Whittingham.

Man of the match: Chopra.

Attendance: 16,772.