|WE WILL WIN THE WAR YET
(Saturday 27th April 2002)
Wanderers Chief Executive Simon Monkman says he is going into battle with Wycombe District Council in an effort to get Wasps into Adams Park by the start of the Zurich Premiership season in September 2002. Speaking at the recent fans forum, Monkman said he was 'fairly confident' that Wasps will come this year and is ready to take a £500,000 gamble by installing a 'Desso' pitch and undersoil heating at Adams Park. Wanderers have now made a formal planning application for Rugby to be played at Adams Park and it's due to be discussed at a Council meeting on 29th May. Monkman admitted that the Council had been better prepared than the Club regarding the previous application but said "It enabled us to understand exactly how to play the game the next time around moving into the second phase of the 'war' "
Monkman made it clear that the Council were being extremely helpful following the Club's formal planning application and added "I think there is more chance of us having Wasps here this year than not and therefore we are going to make pitch changes this year. It is a gamble and we are looking at whoever else might want to use the pitch from August onwards to try and recoup some of that cost. But that's the sort of 'brave' decision that has to be taken."
Monkman wouldn't reveal how the Club intended to raise the money for the new pitch but told fans to put faith in the financial experts within the Club, saying "I can only say to you that you need to put your utmost trust in these people in the terms of their funding agreements because they haven't made many mistakes in the 8 or 9 years they've been in the Football League." He added "It's a slight risk but I think and know it's a risk worth taking"
The pitch gamble is also coupled with Wasps being patient enough to wait for the availabilty of Adams Park. Wasps having been looking again at Oxford United's ground as further back-up should Wycombe fall through. Wasps director of rugby Warren Gatland inspected United's Kassam Stadium during the week and they have also heard the same day that they won't be able to return to Loftus Road for at least two years. Fulham forced out Wasps due to the redevelopment of Craven Cottage but the start of building work has been delayed and it won't be until the start of the 2004/5 season before they are due to return.
It's looking ever likely that Wasps will never return to Loftus Road. Their ten year agreement with QPR is on hold while Al Fayed's club are in residence. Speaking earlier in the year, QPR Chief Executive David Davies said "The deal is still in place but the whole deal is suspended until post of Fulham".
Meanwhile Wasps have been given special permission to use Adams Park by the RFU "on the ground that their move will not be permanent". This proviso is liked with Wasps forgoing fixture priority. However, Monkman wants a long term deal despite initial reports suggesting a shorter agreement. "We were always looking at a couple of years as a starting point with an option for them to extend that term if they were happy here at Adams Park." The actual contract has yet to finalised but Monkman added "They are as determined as we are to come and play rugby here"
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