Paul Ince admits he feels a tinge of jealousy when he looks at the way the club is doing its business these days.
And in his first year, the 2002-03 campaign, they won promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs.
Ince is adamant that, had the levels of investment then been comparable with the sums Fosun International have pumped in, he could have helped Wolves establish themselves as Premier League perennials.
Wolves have turned themselves into European contenders
(Image: Getty Images)
Instead, they were relegated a year later and spent the next five years trying to fight their way back into the top flight.
They got there under Mick McCarthy but were relegated again in 2012 and the club slumped further still 12 months later when it dropped into League One.
Wolves won promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt under Kenny Jackett and, after Fosun bought the club, they finally got back to the Premier League in 2018 with Nuno Espirito Santo at the helm.
Ince said: “I kind of feel jealous, in a way, because when I was at Wolves we got promoted in the 2002-03 season under David Jones.
“And if we’d had the finances they have now, I’m not sure Wolves would ever have come out of the Premier League.
Paul Ince spent the tail end of his career at Wolves
(Image: Birmingham Post and Mail)
“We didn’t have enough money at the club to invest in the team and we went down the next year.
“But what they have done the last two years has been unbelievable. Listen, money does help, and then you have Jorge Mendes, the agent, bringing in top, top players.
“It helps, but you still have to get these top players to come to Wolves. It’s notChelsea or Arsenal.
“That’s not being disrespectful but the likes of Joao Moutinho, Raul Jimenez has been unbelievable, and that shows the pool Wolves have now got as a team and it’s great to see.
Nuno Espirito Santo has been a huge part of Wolves’ upward rise
(Image: Getty Images)
“I sensed from Wolves fans over the previous years that they have been a bit frustrated about not pushing forward and not getting to where they want to.
“But now when I go there it’s a completely different atmosphere. The fans are ambitious, they get packed houses and the football is a joy to watch.
“And if you look where they were in July to where they are now, it’s an unbelievable feat.
“I hope they can push for the Champions League place now, fingers crossed,
if and when the season resumes.
“And the fact they have put themselves in that position alongside Sheffield United is a great achievement in itself.
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“The last nine games are what Sir Alex Ferguson always used to refer to as ‘squeaky bum time’.
“You can’t get away with mistakes. You can maybe get away with a few at the start of the season because you’ve time to make up for them but when it gets to this stage of the season everything has to be perfect and for that, of course, you have to have a bit of luck.
“If ever they can get in the Champions League, this is the time to do it.
“In the next nine games everyone has to be 9/10 — you have to be at your optimum.”
Paul Ince is a Paddy Power ambassador. To read more go to http://news.paddypower.com