Nuno Espirito Santos – The Wolf of Sao Tome
Now, to be clear, there are no actual wolves on Sao Tome. However, there is a bright star that shines over the premier league football team that is affectionately called ‘Wolves’. This bright star is the team manager, Nuno Espirito Santo; a warm passionate man who was born on the little-known, but incredibly special African island of Sao Tome.
Wolverhampton Wanders, ‘The Wolves’, have always been a link to my home town and although I’m not as passionate about football as many in my family are, there are still stories to tell. My Dad, David, was the son of a local butcher who lived in the village of Albrighton, about 7 miles from the Wolves football ground of Molineux. My grandfather had no interest in such ‘trivial’ things as football, so Dad would pester Ronny Ray, the only Wolves fan who worked for grandfather, to take him to Saturday afternoon matches. At the end of each match Dad would wait as the players left so he could ask them to sign photos he’d cut from the local newspaper then he’d put them in his scrap book when he got home. Dad would always say his greatest regret was not stopping his mother from throwing the scrapbook out when he reached his teenage years… what a waste!
The Wolf of Sao Tome and his pack are back. However, I think I’m safe in saying that following the ‘Wolves’ is a bit of a roller coaster ride. In the mid to late 1950’s they were at their best, winning the league cup on 3 occasions. By the 1970’s my Dad had started to lose interest and had become a devout follower of Brian Clough, but the Wolves still kept our interest as we’d often see players like Derek Dougan (The Doug) in the village. In 2017 Sao Tome came to Wolverhampton in the form of Nuno Espirito Santo, the team’s new manager, and soon after things started to change and winning became the game to play.
Nuno left Sao Tome when he was 7 years old and went to live in Portugal (Sao Tome was a former colony of Portugal) and by the age of 20 he was playing for Guimaraes and later playing in goal for FC Porto and Dynamo Moscow. Since arriving at Wolves he revitalised the team through his dedication to community and team work. Simple things like improving the quality of the food served in the club canteen, changing the dinning tables to large round ones where 11 players can all sit as one makes a huge difference to the dynamics of how a team relate to each other. Community is also hugely important in strengthening the ties between the club and those less fortunate in the Wolverhampton area. All over the world the pandemic has had an awful impact on many people’s lives, however through the club’s ‘Feed our Pack’ initiative, Nuno has donated £250,000 of his own money to foodbanks and to help with additional support offered by the local ‘Good Shepherd Ministry‘ to people who are struggling in the area.
If you’re curious about when Nuno was born and you’d like to know more (or even visit) – The check out our Sao Tome website
Alternatively, call me on 01768 721050
Come on you Wolves….
Ian Coates (The Curious Wolves fan)