|WASPS TO BE GIVEN THE OK?
(Thursday 7th March 2002)
Wycombe District Council are set to give the green light to the request for Wasps Rugby Club to play at Adams Park according to sources close to the situation. An official announcement was expected this week that would see Wasps play at Adams Park for two years with an option for a third. It has since been revealed that the Council decision has been delayed until the last week in March after The Wanderers missed the planning committee deadline.
Last week it was revealed that the Club's legal experts had assured the Wanderers' Directors that there is no reason why Wasps shouldn't be allowed to use Adams Park and the matter was promptly put into the hands of the council's own legal team. In the unlikely event of a last minute change of mind by the Council, the Club say they are ready to fight their case through the appropriate appeal procedures. Wasps say that Adams Park is their prefered choice of venue after being forced out of Loftus Road, although the do have Harlequins Stoop HQ as a second choice. Wanderers Directors want Wasps in to help bail them out of any financial short comings.
The expected announcement will bring to an end a saga that began last December when the story was leaked to the media before either Club had made any official annoucement. Both Club's have since been criticised by their respective fans for the PR shambles that has followed. Wasps fans have been particularly aggrieved with the news of having to move home again and it will be a major gamble on their part how it will effect attendances.
However, while the deal may have been agreed, a whole new set of problems will begin for both club's. Wasps will need to draw up plans for temporary matchday administration offices at Adams Park and also negotiate and plan match day travel to and from the Stadium for their supporters. Wanderers have taken ten years to try and refine their matchday services and there are still massive delays on departure for cars despite solutions promised earlier this season.
For Wycombe, their part of the deal will see a new pitch laid during the summer and the ground made ready for rugby on matchdays. This would see large nets erected behind the goals to prevent balls being lost behind the stands, while Wycombe's matchday stewards will have to be re-trained to deal with different regulations that control Rugby Union crowds. This includes allowing spectators to drink within view of the pitch. All this will eat into any potential profit Wycombe may make from the deal and it's also understood that the ongoing maintenance on the proposed 'undersoil' heating and 'desso' pitch could also be a major financial burden if Wasps leave after two years.
These thoughts has brought about the suggestion of a potential longer term agreement between the two sides. Wasps ten year deal with QPR will be frozen while they take a break in Buckinghamshire but the two parties may conceive that a more permanent deal would provide a more stable financial situation. The access problems to and from Adams Park are seen as a major stumbling block to the progress of The Wanderers and it's thought that a possible new larger capacity ground on the outskirts of town maybe on the long-term agenda. Earlier this season Wanderers issued a statement that said "While our ground is safe, friendly and well maintained, it capacity and access would be a challenge if we got into Division One". Wanderers Directors could see a tie up with Wasps that could fund a new ground and 'maximise revenue streams' for both clubs. It's an option that is backed-up by their previous statement that said "Somewhere in the plan there needs to be a consisderation for expansion and upgrade if we are ever to be a serious player in the higher leagues"
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