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Grounds for complaint in Wycombe?

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Paul Fletcher | 11:22 UK time, Friday, 11 March 2011

Wycombe Wanderers play in light and dark blue but a sizeable minority of home supporters have started wearing black and white scarves this season.

In symbolic terms they are similar to the green and gold scarves worn by Manchester United supporters protesting against the Glazer family's ownership of the Premier League club.

Both sets of scarves depict the original colours worn by the clubs in question, although the protest at Wycombe is not against the club's owner per se, but rather what he wants to do with the club.

Steve Hayes is the owner of both League Two Wycombe Wanderers and rugby union Premiership side Wasps. He took over at Wasps in December 2008 and Wycombe in July 2009, in the process reportedly writing off £3m in debt in exchange for shares. Hayes, a long-standing Wycombe fan, wants to move both clubs away from Adams Park and into a new modern facility on a current green belt site at Wycombe Air Park on the outskirts of the Buckinghamshire town of Booker.

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The plan is being put together by Wycombe Sports Development Limited (WSDL) and, after some robust debate, the site is now the preferential option of Wycombe District Council for the development.

The vision is for a stadium with a capacity between 17,500 and 20,000, that serves as the focal point of a state-of-the-art sports village. There will be modern hospitality facilities as well as a strong community and academy presence for both Wanderers and Wasps. There will be numerous training pitches and facilities that are open to the public as well as an education tie-in with Buckinghamshire New University.

"What we have is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," WSDL chief executive Mike Brooks told me. "It will be a powerful destination, a sporting hub with a mixture of recreational and professional sports people rubbing shoulders."

Tony Green, the deputy leader of the council, explained: "It would be great and I think it would be very important for Wycombe."

It sounds like a bold and brave idea, one that could provide the town with a facility that is envied nationwide.

But there are doubts. Big doubts.

Groups Against Stadium Proposals (Gasp) is a broad alliance, all of whom are united by their opposition to the development of the 200-acre site at Booker. They include local residents, the gliding club, people with concern about the development of green belt land and many supporters of the football club.

"Some of the objections are quite reasonable, no one wants a big development next to where they live, but some are caused by confusion more than anything else," added Green.

"For example, we are hoping the air park can co-exist on the site; that the gliding club will be able to continue. Won't be sure until the plans are drawn up."

When I spoke to Brooks he was keen to stress that the project cannot be examined in isolation, from the perspective of just one of any group.

"This is about more than just Wycombe and Wasps moving to a new ground," he said. "We understand there are groups with concerns but as developers we must manage that and do the best we can with the planners, the council and the community to create something the vast majority will really love."

Hayes, Brooks and everyone else connected to WSDL have a lot of work to do before they assuage the doubts of Wycombe fans opposed to the move.

The influential Wycombe Wanderers Trust (WWT) has opposed the move, while supporters have formed a "No to Booker" campaign. I have spoken to people from both these groups and it is extremely important to stress that they are not necessarily against the move; they just want to know how it can benefit the football club.

"We are open minded about looking to see whether a combined ground with better facilities might work," said WWT member Don Woodward, who represents the Trust on the football club board.

"But the Trust's position on this is reasonably straightforward - as things stand as far as we are concerned the football club does not need to move."

Wycombe own Adams Park, with their tenant Wasps currently paying £650,000 a year to play there. Wanderers also own their own training facility, but the move to Booker will see these assets sold off and the profits absorbed into the cost of the new development. Wycombe and Wasps will both be tenants if the scheme reaches fruition.

"We cannot see how that will work in terms of putting the club in a better financial position or securing the long-term future of the club," added Woodward.

Wycombe currently have a debt in the region of £6m and lose approximately £1m per year. There are a lot of questions about the club's finances that supporters want answered. What will happen to the current debts? How will the club generate income at Booker if they do not own the ground? Will Wycombe and Wasps both pay a separate rent? Who exactly will pay for the building of Booker and how much will it cost?

Concerned supporters want WSDL to show them a clear and coherent business plan that explains how the move will add up for Wycombe. At the moment there isn't one. Brooks says it is too early, some of the opposition groups interpret it as a worrying sign.

"Supporters will remain sceptical until they see [a business plan] and I can appreciate and understand that," added Brooks.

"It is absolutely down to us to produce that information. We are at an early stage but in due course we have to do that. It will take time to produce and generate and I would ask people to hold on making a judgment until they have seen it."

Green told me that it is up to WSDL to submit an application to the council's planning committee and produce a plan that shows the venture will make financial sense.

"The next stage will be to apply for planning permission but that will not be the end of it, there has got to be a proper business plan," he said. "No one wants to build a stadium and then find it is not financially viable."

Brooks would not be drawn to specific timescales but when I asked whether something would be ready by the end of the year he said: "Yes, absolutely."

Hayes made his wealth in finance and has invested large sums in the club. "I think people need to appreciate just how much he has committed and how passionate he is to improving it," added Brooks.

But supporters are concerned that if the club sell their ground and move to Booker they will be left high and dry if, at some point in the future, Hayes were to cut his ties with the club.

"If Hayes pulled the plug then the club could cease to exist," said a member of the No to Booker campaign who wished to remain anonymous. "I am scared at the moment by a lack of answers."

Brooks argued that Wycombe District Council's involvement should be a source of reassurance, stating: "They would not be involved if the project did not create a long-term, sustainable and beneficial situation for both clubs."


Wasps in acton at Adams Park.

Wasps have played at Adams Park since 2002. Photo: Getty Images

 

Those against the move point out that Adams Park is easily a big enough stadium for a club that has pulled in more than 5,000 supporters just twice in the league this season. The suggestion is that Wasps are the big club with the established brand and that the move will benefit them more. Wanderers could be left in a situation like Darlington or MK Dons, with fans rattling around a stadium far too big for the fanbase it serves.

Brooks is adamant that WSDL have looked long and hard at Adams Park and concluded that they need to leave if they are to flourish. He points to the poor access to Adams Park, the limited car parking and the fact that the community programmes and academies for both Wycombe and Wasps are located away from the ground.

"We are talking about a long-term journey here but we need to start building foundations for the future," said the WSDL chief executive.

That ambition is Championship football and crowds edging towards an average of 10,000. The sceptics argue that is unrealistic. In their 124-year history the Chairboys have never played in the second tier of English football and only had two spells in the third tier.

If those who oppose the club's move are successful then Brooks told me there would have to be "fundamental change because the status quo is not tenable". He prefers to focus on winning over the doubters and believes that 2011 will be a crucial year in doing so.

"We need to develop a business plan, progress funding arrangements and a planning application," said Brooks.

"I would like [the development of Booker] to happen in the next four to five years but we need to be realistic and realise this is a medium-to-long-term project. I am quietly confident but we have a number of hurdles to overcome."

In January WSDL announced that after a public consultation process Booker had been chosen by the public and endorsed by the council. However, the council's scrutiny committee subsequently called in that decision for further review and although Booker remains the council's choice the issue remains a hot potato.

Securing planning permission to develop green belt land may not be easy and the various groups who are against the development are adamant that there are many more battles to fight.

And until Wycombe put forward a robust and logical case as to why it makes sense for the football club to leave the ground they own to become tenants in a stadium that it is questionable they need, the black and white scarves will continue to appear at Adams Park.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I don't understand the opposition from fans - the new ground is almost walking distance from the current one, which has no "sentimental" value given they only moved in the living memory of even middle-aged fans from the famously wonky Loakes Park. As an ex-local boy who watched non-league Wycombe what's wrong with a bigger ground that is easier to get to and more income to drive the club forward?

  • Comment number 2.

    "only had two one-season spells in the third tier."

    We were actually in the third tier from the 94/95 season through to the 2003/04 season some 9 seasons!

    Good article apart from that but what amazes me is why a business plan hasn't been drawn up before now. The stadium has been mentioned for some time and feasability studies carried out that cost at least £250K. It would have made far more sense to create a plan and then look into the possibility of a new ground to see if it were viable.


  • Comment number 3.

    I think one of the main objections from "locals" comes from the rumour / fact that if the Booker airfield is closed then Heathrow flightpath can/will be re-routed directly over Marlow! Unsurprising its not going down too well!

  • Comment number 4.

    I personally think moving to the new stadium would be a good idea, for both the clubs and the local community. The stadium itself would benefit a team like Wasps because it would be a more fitting home for a team of their caliber and would have the potential to bring in higher match day income for them through increased ticket revenues. For Wycombe Wanders I think it would also be beneficial as despite currently not drawing as large crowds as the new stadium would provide seating for, they would be able to offer lower ticket costs to fans bringing in more casual supporters and in turn, if balanced correctly they would be able to attract more fans and raise match day revenue for themselves. In turn increased attendance would be aided by the better access to facilities and of course both clubs would benefit from the academy set up. In Stirling they implemented a similar sports village idea although around an existing stadium and it is now a very widely used resource by the local community with 100s of school age children now involved in football mini leagues on a weekly basis that were not before hand involved in any other sports. There is also a state of the art swimming pool, climbing wall and gym facility as well as the local Cricket club benefiting from a new ground with 2 state of the art pitches and all the clubs co-exist and share the area without a problem.

  • Comment number 5.

    Glad to see this issue is getting some visibility.

    Have to point out some glaring errors though...

    1. Steve Hayes is not a lifetime Wycombe fan

    2. The WWT are not influential, some may describe them as spineless

    3. 2 one season spells in the 3rd tier? WWFC were in the 3rd tier of English football between 1994 and 2004 (10 years!!!!)

  • Comment number 6.

    You don't want a stadium between 17,500-20,000 capacity. I'm a Darlo fan and our white elephant stadium is embarrassing at best and financially crippling the club at worst. I know Wasps are the bigger partner in terms of support but I can't frankly see them selling out 17,500 either, except perhaps for big Heineken Cup matches. I don't understand this obsession with building new grounds that are far too big. It's the same at Coventry City and MK Dons. And Forest were recently proposing to build a new 50,000 capacity stadium - what a joke! Wycombe don't want to go down that route.

  • Comment number 7.

    Steve Hayes is not a lifelong Wycombe fan; I'd be interested to know the author of the article's reasons for saying that he is.

    One point it fails to address is whilst Mike Brooks calls for supporters "to hold on making a judgment until they have seen [a business plan]" the club have run a massive campaign, employing a PR company in the process, to persuade fans to "back Booker" in the recent consultation process.

    Finally, perhaps "DAG" (first comment above) could explain how the football club will generate more income at a new ground, because whenever I consider the loss of rental and associated income from Wasps' tenancy, the extra cost of paying rent to use the stadium and the loss of non matchday revenue from conferencing facilities etc I can't see how it possibly makes financial sense for the football club to move.

  • Comment number 8.

    Now then,

    Thanks for your thoughts so far. Please accept my most sincere apologies for suggesting Wycombe had only had two one-season spells in the third tier. I'm not sure where the one year error came from but I've taken it out.

    My understanding with regard to Steve Hayes is that he is a long-standing fan of Wycombe Wanderers.

  • Comment number 9.

    As a Stockport County sufferer I can only warn the WW fans about Rugby clubs feeding on Football Clubs . . . this move will harm WW permanently . . . if WW think this is a great opportunity, then THEY could look at the feasibility of a move and with the asset of Adams Park do a deal with one of the usual supermarkets and build it themselves, therefore retaining Landlord status and of course the asset of the ground would STAY in Wycombe's possession . . . just one word of warning guys . . . LOSE YOUR GROUND AT YOUR PERIL . . . it will definitely be the death of you . . . and I for one certainly wouldn't want that . . . my memory of Stephen Gleeson's equaliser and a certain Mr Lambert spouting, "that goal counts for nothing" will live with me forever, sadly behind the scenes was a catastrophe waiting to happen and alas it did . . . don't follow in our terrible footsteps WW . . . KEEP YER GROUND!!!!

    good luck with your promotion race . . .

  • Comment number 10.

    Steve Hayes is a Chelsea supporter, and I believe he still has a box there. He became involved with Wycombe as a result of his friendship with Terry Evans, a former Wycombe player who went on to join the coaching staff before becoming first team physio for a while.

    Hayes' first official involvement with the football club came in 2004 when his company loans.co.uk became the club's shirt sponsors.

  • Comment number 11.

    The objection from the WWFC fans is that they haven't been given any information about how this would help the club. Average WWFC attendance is 4,500 in the existing stadium which has a capacity of 10,500. So, it's not that they need somewhere bigger. Currently WWFC loses around £1m p.a. despite not having any rent to pay and receiving £650,000 p.a. from London Wasps. If they moved to a new stadium they'd have to start paying rent (fair estimate of £500,000 p.a.) AND would lose the income they get from London Wasps - so they'd be a further million pounds worse off.

    The local ratepayers are furious because it's the council who'll be paying for the stadium, not the clubs.

    Local residents in the district are aghast becasue it would involve building on a 240 acre piece of Green Belt land (which is more green belt than HS2 will take up) and impact the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It would also involve a major housing programme in order to help fund the proposal, all on green belt.

    A reason the clubs cite for wanting to move from Adams Park is access problems. Wycombe Air Park is no better (and in some respects is worse).

  • Comment number 12.

    The existing ground is a nightmare to get to and park at.

    As someone who watches football and rugby there, I would be a much more regular visitor with easy car access that hopefully the new stadium would deliver. If you are taking young children to a game you don't want to have to get to the ground an hour early to be sure you don't end up walking long distances.

    I agree that WW probably don't need the capacity at them moment, but the existing site will always be a barrier to either club progressing, and every supporter likes to believe that there club has at least a chance of progress.

  • Comment number 13.

    @gjowen - the problem is that for a club like Wycombe this new stadium would actually STOP you from progressing - trust me from my experience watching Darlo, only filling 10-20% of your ground makes for a terrible atmosphere and if anything it discourages people from going.It is also financially very damaging to have to pay for upkeep or rent for such a big staidum (depending on whether a club is owner or tenant), and as StuSCFC points out, losing ownership fo your ground will make your finances and hence the club's future VERY shaky indeed. I don't think it's a gamble worth taking, not if you want to have a club to support in 10 or 15 years time.

  • Comment number 14.

    Delighted to see supporters of a football club have taken heed of the situations at Portsmouth, Plymouth etc. and are approaching situations like these with caution rather than with open arms, as would perhaps have happened in the past.

    This may or may not be a good step forward, but Wycombe fans won't be able to make any kind of educated decision until there are basic facts available. The sports village could be a very successful project for all involved, but it is a bit of a moot point until it is understood who is signing the cheque for it all.

    I find it very bizarre that all this work has been done already without a business plan...

  • Comment number 15.

    so JJT you're a rugby fan then I guess?

    after our club was part of a sporting philanthropists vision we now gain NO income from 'our' stadium on match days OR any other day of the week from non-footballing revenue . . . our sponsorship, tickets, programme sales and lottery is all we have as a revenue stream, thanks to a vision from a sporting philanthropist! . . . WW heed my warnings, it will be the death of your club . . . at what point do WW need a 'darlington' white elephant with a capacity of 17,500/20,000?

  • Comment number 16.

    I think gpn01 has covered most of the issues, another being the topic he touched on about taxpayers.

    Not only are the council due to foot the bill but they aren't willing to put this to referendum at the moment as it seems they know they would lose.
    They seem intent to drive this through and get their white elephant stadium that WW don't need.

    Why should we sell our ground to help Wasps get a new one that they don't need either?

    The fact is that Steve Hayes has actually made both clubs worse, Wasps used to competing at the highest level, at this rate of decline they'll be relegated in the next couple of seasons.
    Both clubs are losing money, so to think that his leadership could help improve their future is laughable, the poor leadership being shown up as there being no business plan yet despite jobs being advertised by WSDL!

  • Comment number 17.

    Paolo55 . . . Premiership Rugby clubs have to have a 15,000 stadium to play in the premiership, sorry the greedy league, this decision may have been moth balled or put back from the original timeline, however it's still on the agenda so it's only a matter of time until it's part of RFU League Rules etc . . .

  • Comment number 18.

    Look, as things stand I think supporters are right to have genuine concerns - and for two clear reasons.

    1. I'm not sure the arguments for leaving Adam Park add up from a purely footballing point of view. I'm not sure there would be an upsurge in fanbase in the new ground and I am not sure there is the scope to grow Wycombe into a sustainable Championship club. On the second point I admit I could be wrong.

    2. No solid case has been put forward as to why selling the ground and training ground (both assets) to become a tenant at a new stadium makes long-term financial sense.

  • Comment number 19.

    jjt... For Wycombe Wanders I think it would also be beneficial as despite currently not drawing as large crowds as the new stadium would provide seating for, they would be able to offer lower ticket costs to fans bringing in more casual supporters and in turn, if balanced correctly they would be able to attract more fans and raise match day revenue for themselves - DID I READ THIS CORRECTLY? HOW? HOW CAN WE OWN A STADIUM, AND THEN RENT ELSEWHERE (INCREASING COSTS) AND EXPECT TO LOWER TICKET PRICES?

  • Comment number 20.

    Paul, as others have said, Steve Hayes is definitely not a long-standing fan, he's a businessman who had no connection to Wycombe before beginning his takeover.

    It seems to me as a long-standing fan that he has consistently shown he does not have the best interests of the club at heart. He is the person who has got the club into so much debt by running it like the Championship club he insists we can become. Until he assumed ownership, the money he put in was all in the form of loans, which he then used to "persuade" us into agreeing to his full takeover, threatening to put us into administration if we stood in his way. Are these the actions of a true fan?

    Nothing about this proposed move seems to benefit Wycombe. We will be getting rid of our biggest asset, turning from landlords into tenants and stuck in a stadium that we will never be able to even half fill. We need to stop this before it is too late, but of course it's already too late because the people who really care about the club no longer have any power. Frank Adams must be turning in his grave.

  • Comment number 21.

    The biggest issues are the selling of land that belongs to the tax payer, and then using the tax payers money (who are not being consulted), to build a stadium for a private businessman with highly debatable benefits to the average Wycombe resident.

    Oh, and access will be even worse at Booker, a handful of small residential roads which get clogged up at the best of times at the moment.

  • Comment number 22.

    @StuSCFC - that's very interesting about the RFU rules re. 15,000+ capacity. That seems ridiculous as well - can't imagine sides like Newcastle Falcons or Leeds would ever get crowds anything like that big. What is wrong with a good small ground that actually has some atmosphere?!?! Works better in football AND rugby! And I'm sure it goes without saying that any new WWFC ground would be another soulless identikit out-of-town bore-park a la Colchester, Shrewsbury, Darlo, Southampton, Doncaster...

  • Comment number 23.

    This move to a new stadium is ridiculous. We have a perfectly adequate stadium that is only 20 years old and big enough for both clubs. There is still some room to increase the current capacity but money should be spent on improving access to Adams Park rather than building a White Elephant that simply will massage the ego of the owner. It is also worth remembering that Steve Hayes pumped money into Wycombe in the form of £6m of loan notes before buying the club at a knockdown rate of £3m threatening to put the club into administration if we didn't accept his terms and buying it back for a £1. Not many Wycombe fans believe Steve Hayes is truly interested in the long-term future of WWFC, moreover simply wants to create a personal monument to his vanity.

  • Comment number 24.

    Paul, well done for managing to speak with Mike Brooks. If only he would answer the straightforward questions put to him by Wycombe fans. He's a very elusive man ehen it comes to talking in any detail about how the project will benefit Wycombe Wanderers.

    In fact you have to remember that he has no connection at all with the football club. He is a director of London Wasps and now one of the driving forces behind the plans. His interest of course is getting a new stadium for the rugby team but to do this they are having to trample all over the football club. They are the unfortunate pawns in all of this.

    As you know Wasps pay rent to play at Adams Park. The new plans show that Wycombe will lose ownership of their current home and the off-field revenue streams they currently enjoy. In essence, they have everything to lose while London Wasps have everything to gain.

    P.s. You have confused the Eden Project with the Eden Shopping Centre in High Wycombe. One is a billion pound tourist attraction. The other is a row of shops without a roof in the town centre.

  • Comment number 25.

    Even if Wycombe achieved promotion this season (quite likely) and then went straight up to the Championship next season ( really quite unlikely), I still don't think they'd be pulling a crowd that justifies such a big stadium, especially one which they wouldn't own anymore.

    I only remember Adams Park being close to full on a few occasions; Chelsea in the League cup, last game of the promotion season in 08/09, free games, and a few others like Leeds? Most of the time they are firmly around the 5000 mark. I just don't want to be watching football with a stadium that is four times bigger than needed sucking up all the atmosphere. Someone would need to show me some seriously convincing business plans before I'll be satisfied this move won't be sending Wycombe down the toilet.

  • Comment number 26.

    How on earth does a League Two side get £650k income a year from a tenant but still lose £1m a year?! I thought my team Leyton Orient's annual loss of about £800k was bad enough...

    Until the benefit of this move to Wycombe Wanderers can be spelled out in clear terms, the proposed move is ridiculous.

  • Comment number 27.

    Adam's Park sold out for the first time in 2005 for a pre-season friendly against Chelsea. Has it sold out since? I don't think it has.

  • Comment number 28.

    Be very careful about this proposed move. As a Coventry supporter I've seen us move to a 32,000 stadium which is barely half full most of the time. It is right on the edge of town, our old ground was central. Parking is expensive, the club don't own the ground, we don't even get the revenue from the catering there. Lots of fans hate it. To be honest a lot of us would prefer a move back into the city.

  • Comment number 29.

    Good to see some national attention on this as us Wycombe fans are very worried about these proposals for the club. We are quite rightly sceptical of Steve Hayes' motives. He is NOT a long standing Wycombe fan, he is a business man who's main concern is generating money. It is worth stressing though that we are not against a stadium move if it can be proved beneficial to WWFC in the long term. As it stands all we can see are benefits for Wasps with WWFC being pulled apart to assist them. We have had absolutley nothing from the powers that be to allay these fears. We need answers.

  • Comment number 30.

    As always, the only people supporting the move appear to have no grasp of the financial implications for Wycombe Wanderers, and when challenged to back up their beliefs with something more than regurgitated Hayes' spin, they fail to respond every time.

  • Comment number 31.

    I live near Wycombe and have been to watch WW play a few times, usually on the back of their community programmes with local schools and junior football clubs.

    I would say WW has no chance of building the support needed to sustain a championship place. The town is too near London and the majority of people is too set in supporting a premiership team.

    How Wycombe District Council has been hoodwinked into supporting the Booker Airpark scheme is a mystery. Critics are right - only half the story is in the public domain. There must be a massive development project planned as well and someone is lined up to make a massive profit. It won't be the council taxpayers or the supporters of Wycombe Wanderers who benefit.

  • Comment number 32.

    if nobody spells it out then you know it's a con . . . metaphorically speaking of course . . . if there are no hidden skeletons regarding costs and income for WW then it should be easy for the powers that be to spell out EVERYTHING regarding this deal . . . oh wait a minute that's the problem isn't it? ;P

    oh what's that saying again . . . if it sounds too good to be true . . . ?

  • Comment number 33.

    @26 Sadly the answer to that is easy - the players are earning unsustainable wages. The big Shrews scandal when they were relegated to the Blue Square a few years back highlighted just how much lower league players are on. On gates of sometimes less than 3,00o average in divs 3-4 (yes I know, champs 1&2), it can't go on.

    For those who didn't know, the Shrews players got plastered after going down (in a worryingly festive mood) and many made the mistake of confessing how much they were on to a local journo. The rest is history....

    This whole thing has the nasty air of a planning fix. Using the football and rugby clubs as a front to get around planning legislation.

    The comment about houses being built to cover the costs sort of gives that away..........

  • Comment number 34.

    No-one seems to understand that to survive in the big league Wasps need more income to fund a better team and a bigger stadium (they have shown they can generate bigger crowds via the Twickenham games)and will move if they do not get it(they are suffering at present due to inability to compete)

    What then for WW...a further additional loss of £1m a year approx...and probable Hayes walk away....

    Not much choice at the end of the day

  • Comment number 35.

    Like pretty much everyone else I really don't see how this stadium will benefit us at all. Even if (and it's a big if) we ever made it to the championship I still don't see where these 15,000 fans are going to come from, so many people in the area support a premiership team. In the middle of these financial times and with football teams up and down the country struggling with their finances you have to wonder why these people think it's a good idea. However, I have a bad feeling we may be stuck with it. Steve Hayes has already threatened to move his money and London Wasps elsewhere if he doesn't get his way, so if the stadium plan doesn't go ahead I wouldn't be surprised to see him look for somewhere else for Wasps to play and who knows what sort of position that would put us in.

  • Comment number 36.

    @Paolo55, I think you underestimate the power of a Rugby Union club here, As a Northampton Saints Fan, our ground Franklins Gardens holds roughly 13500 people and is (almost) always Full with planning going ahead to improve that capacity to 17000, add to that we have never been the most successful of Clubs, with the Success that the Wasp's have had, and basing my opinion of Wasps fans, on those I have met, they would very very easily fill a 17500 stadium regularly and not just Heineken Cup games. As for everyone talking about the football club, maybe the stadium isn't for the best for them, but football doesn't always come before rugby, if Wasps will benefit from having a bigger stadium then Wycombe will just have to put up with it, or the owners will have to look at separating their grounds(that is keep the football where it is, and move the Wasps)

  • Comment number 37.

    Why on earth are the council backing this project? It is bound to lose money, but I guess all the councillors feel they are in safe enough wards to keep their seats. If I were a WWFC supporter or council tax payer I would be dead against this proposal. I doubt if Wasps want THAT big a stadium, and also doubt this 15,000 proposed minimum seats can be implemented as only 5 out of 12 currently exceed that. Especially as two of them are championship(ex-premiership) football grounds that the rugby supporters only half-fill. Grounds should grow only if crowds justify it, not because of diktats from governing bodies

    Besides, Adams Park can be increased to 17,500 (internet search for "can adams park be extended") far cheaper that this new proposal and access could be improved, if there is the will to do so...

    I know average attendance is up since 2008, but can't find up to date figures

    Club name; Ground name; 2010 Capacity; 2008 Capacity;2008 Average Gate

    LONDON IRISH... Madejski Stadium.... 24,161; 24,100; 9,950
    LEICESTER...... Welford Road........ 24,000; 17,498; 17,206
    LEEDS CARNEGIE. Headingley Carnegie. 20,500;;
    SARACENS....... Vicarage Road....... 18,214; 18,214; 8,980
    GLOUCESTER..... Kingsholm........... 16,267; 16,500; 14,167
    HARLEQUINS..... Twickenham Stoop.... 14,233; 12,638; 10,946
    NORTHAMPTON.... Franklin's Gardens.. 13,600; 13,500; 11,494
    BATH........... Recreation Ground... 12,138; 10,600; 10,460
    SALE SHARKS.... Edgeley Park........ 10,872; 10,641; 8,772
    EXETER......... Sandy Park.......... 10,750; ; ;
    WASPS.......... Adams Park.......... 10,516; 10,000; 8,886
    NEWCASTLE...... Kingston Park....... 10,200; 10,200; 7,529
    BRISTOL........ The Memorial Stadium n/a; 11,976; 9,175
    WORCESTER...... Sixways............. n/a; 12,068; 9,658

  • Comment number 38.

    @C Parker - We're not asking for the football club to be put first, far from it. We simply want assurances on the future of the club should this new stadium go ahead. As said, if WWFC can benefit from this move then let's do it. I think it's clear to see that the lack of answers to this question suggests not. So would you 'just put up with it' if the existence of your club came under threat?

  • Comment number 39.

    I think the other important point here - is what about the impact of the new sports village (stadium) on the people who currently use the Booker site for other forms of recreation - squash / raquet ball, power flying (fixed and rotary wing), gliding to name just a few, not to mention the people who enjoy the area as green space. Under the proposed development plan, existing sports either get rolled into the new sports village or in the case of the various flying activities heavily reduced or restricted to the point where they are no longer able to operate.

    #33 I suspect has hit the nail on the head here - its not about a community facility, or a bigger stadium, but more about a money making opportunity in housing development.

  • Comment number 40.

    There's a huge amount of opposition locally to this move and personally I've spoken to very few people in the town who are backing the move. Speaking as a Wycombe fan, it's very difficult to see how giving up a stadium and training centre which we own, to pay rent at a new council/Steve Hayes owned facility can possibly benefit us. The proposed capacity is far too big for either club. Wycombe currently average 4000, which should we get promoted will probably increase to 5-6000 depending on how we fare. London Wasps tend to get around 7-8000 and many of these are free tickets given away to boost attendances. It's very rare for them to fill Adams Park. It's hugely ambitious to think a capacity of 17-20000 is needed. The warnings from Darlington fans would be well heeded.

    Regarding the Wanderers debt, well back in the 90's Wycombe were held up as an example of how a lower division club should be run. Since Hayes took over we've started to run up huge debts which are owed to him. He then threatened the club with administration unless he gained full ownership of the club. The more cynical would suggest that this was part of his plan to help facilitate the move and the huge property deal that is proposed as part of the project. At present, with the lack of information provided to reassure Wycombe fans, it would appear the club has very little to gain, but plenty to lose should this move go ahead.

  • Comment number 41.

    It seems very clear that the developers, WSDL, are not going to win over a lot of the doubters until they produce a business plan, explain how it will all work financially and benefit Wanderers as well as Wasps.

    Mikes Brooks told me he cannot wait for the chance to do this but will not do so until a plan has been put together in detail. Until then the doubts will, rightly I feel, remain.

    One argument that I am not sure I buy into is the idea that a new ground will lead to a sudden upturn in people passing through the turnstiles to watch football at Wycombe. Deputy leader of the council Green seemed convinced better access would have a real impact on attendance.

  • Comment number 42.

    Most are concentrating on the football & rugby clubs, and whether it's good for them or not. How about more standing up for the current users of the Air Park ? Lots of businesses, employing lots of people, as well as the recreational and sporting side of powered and unpowered aviation there. Lots of history too - and a long term aviation site. That all needs support, and protection from obliteration !

  • Comment number 43.

    "Supporters will remain sceptical until they see [a business plan] and I can appreciate and understand that," added Brooks.
    So just imagine, Mike Brooks (MB) is in front of the Dragons Den talking to Duncan Ballantyne (DB) Here we go:
    MB, we need at least £50m, but I'm not sure exactly how much
    DB, you're not sure?
    MB, Sorry
    DB, what's your trading record so far?
    MB, lose a couple of million a year
    DB, ouch, tell us your business plan
    MB, we haven't got one
    DB, WDC have spent £500,000 already, and you haven't got a business plan?
    MB, we have selected a location
    DB, A week or so ago WW had 3,000 fans, why do you need 20,000 seats?
    MB, we just do
    DB, where are the extra fans coming from?
    MB, sorry, we don't have that information
    DB, You are the weakest link, goodbye, sorry got my programs mixed up.

    You just could not make this up.

  • Comment number 44.

    Why not move to West Ham when West Ham move to the olympic stadium. Nice ground there for one of the London Rugby clubs and a good boost for rugby in Essex.

  • Comment number 45.

    Well balanced Article Paul and good to see that there are so many WWFC fans sharing their views on this.

    I am a life long WWFC fan and currently live in the area. Ruling with my heart i would love Wycombe Wanderers to play at a large stadium, which has great acoustics, easier to Park and a facility that the whole community is proud of. I commend Steve Hayes for carrying the vision forward, because surely every football fan dreams of this, i view our club to be in the hands of someone closer to Reading FC rather than Darlington FC.

    What does concern me as a Wycombe resident is that i do not understand how the stadium can be commercially viable, espeically with the level of cuts to our local police force and public services. I hope that this is all being considered and hope that all the doubters are incorrect.

  • Comment number 46.

    Paul's 2 points in post 18 are spot on. We wouldn't mind if we had the answers to the questions that we've been asking for some time now, but we don't. Hayes even did an interview that was posted on here a month or so ago, in which he completely dodged questions which fans had put forward to try and get him to reassure us. He missed a perfect oppertunity to get the majority of the doubters on side, but didn't take it. Therefore, i think it's within our rights to be suspicious and doubtful of the sketch proposals that have been made to us fans.

  • Comment number 47.

    As the article mentions we have only had over 5,000 people through the gate a handful of times this season. Even in our heyday under Martin O’Neill are our average gate never exceeded 7,000. If we were to get to the Championship (which is a very big “if,” as despite our decent manager we have a squad that is not even capable of competing in the division above, should we get promoted), where are these fans going to come from? We are still a “young” football league team of 17-18 years, where a lot of supporters already had their football league team before Wycombe joined the league and unfortunately in recent years there has been little inspiring football to get the younger generation to choose Wycombe as their team.

    Mr Hayes had a 5 year plan to get us to the Championship, which I think roughly 5 years on we are still in the same league as when he took over!

    What I find amazing are the comments from Tony Green:

    1) "It would be great and I think it would be very important for Wycombe."
    2) "Some of the objections are quite reasonable, no one wants a big development next to where they live, but some are caused by confusion more than anything else," added Green.
    3)"For example, we are hoping the air park can co-exist on the site; that the gliding club will be able to continue. Won't be sure until the plans are drawn up."
    4)"The next stage will be to apply for planning permission but that will not be the end of it, there has got to be a proper business plan," he said. "No one wants to build a stadium and then find it is not financially viable."
    So it will be great? But we won’t be sure until the plans are written up? And Nobody wants to build a stadium that is not financially viable.

    How can the council say the whole thing is “great” when no “proper” business plan has been submitted that has demonstrated that this is financially viable? It just baffles me that a council can be so behind something that they do not know is financially sound!

    I am not against doing things that are for the good of the club but as the Trust have said nothing concrete has been shown to the fans that this move will benefit Wycombe.

    I think the club needs to get to the bottom of why it is losing so much money when it has no rent to pay and notable rental income!

    And if they wish us to back a move, they need to stop jumping the gun and show us concrete plans and forecasts that show its financially viable! If it is all so “great” and financial viable then I am sure most Wycombe fans will back this! However, until this has been shown I can’t see how we are expected to back it.

  • Comment number 48.

    If I had, say, a shop in the town centre which wasn't doing too well, and I went to the Council and said 'how about building me a shop twice the size on that nice green field outside town, because if you do I will get lots more customers', what do you think the response would be?

    Wycombe DC is proposing to spend public money to build a stadium on public land (displacing an airfield and all its tenants) for the benefit of 2 loss making businesses. Why?

    The Council insists on calling this white elephant a 'community stadium' to try and disguise it as a sports facility. It is not, it is a spectator facility. The 'sports village' for hockey, badminton and who knows what that they have thrown into the mix is not based on any assessment of community need, it is a wish list, and more importantly, it is to be funded by the sports clubs themselves.

    If the Council were to have a proper referendum, with accurate information provided, instead of the flawed consultation they carried out last year, maybe we would find out what the residents really think about the scheme.

  • Comment number 49.

    It'd be a shame to see Wycombe leave Adams Park as it really is a cracking ground, one of the best I've visited as a football fan. It just seems strange that clubs consider new grounds when most often they aren't even filling their old grounds (Darlington, Coventry, MK Dons spring to mind). My club, Bury, were looking at plans to move to a new ground a while ago, but threats of relegation kept putting the plans off. I'd welcome a new ground for us, but it has to be fit for purpose. We very rarely get crowds above 3000 in the lowest tier (actually, this season our attendances have gone right up...averaging just over 3000!), and even when we were in the second tier we didn't get massive crowds except for the showcase games against City and Middlesbrough. Our ground holds 12000 and I think that is ample capacity for a club of our size being where we are, surrounded by Premier League clubs!

  • Comment number 50.

    Interesting story to read, from the blog and the comments.

    Tell me if I have it straight:

    1. Businessman gets associated with financially stable lower league club who own their ground in wealthy London commuter belt and have a good income stream from Rugby as well as Football

    2. Businessman raises club's ambitions and runs up large debts, from his own loans company

    3. Businessman ends up as owner of club by writing off some of his own debts, after threatening administration

    4. Businessman presumably now owns real-estate (football ground) worth a fortune as housing land, at almost no cost, if only he can get the pesky football club off it

    5. Businessman comes up with cunning plan to get said pesky football club off it.......

    Unfortunately for Wycombe Wanderers, if this is true, then you're probably already history, as a result of step 2 above. Everything else is inevitable after that.

  • Comment number 51.

    Reading this made me think that Steve Hayes and Fat Ashley seem to have a lot in common.

    (ex-Sands resident and NUFC supporter.)

  • Comment number 52.

    Do it! Progress! He has the best interests of the teams at heart.

    http://rah140.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 53.

    I think the division between Wycombe Wanderers and Wasps fans on the stadium issue is a false one: the real division, if there is one, is between those of us who live locally and those Wasps fans and casual football fans whose only 'skin in the game' is to turn up and watch a match and get away quickly afterwards. Indeed, if I was living in Kent and turning up a couple of times a month to watch Wasps, I'd be delighted if the club was playing in a shiny new stadium.....especially if the council was paying for that stadium.

    The reality for those of us who've been involved in either club for an awful lot longer than Steve Hayes is that what he's presenting has no advantage for Wycombe Wanderers, questionable advantage for Wasps.....and a great deal of advantage for those people who benefit from the housing and commercial development that will take place both at Booker and on the tranches of enabling land Wycombe District Council will have to sell off to fund the project. Strangely enough, it would seem that the people in prime position to exploit the proposed commercial development will be Steve Hayes and his partners in the Stadium Development Company.

    For all they may dress it up as a 'Community Stadium', this is a trojan horse property deal. And at the moment, the two sports clubs, Wasps and Wanderers, are suffering while Steve Hayes and his colleagues devote all their efforts towards attempting to convince anyone who'll listen that Adams Park is a falling down wreck unsuitable for a Sunday morning boys team, while nirvana lies up the hill at Booker airfield. Wanderers are suffering as all their assets are set to be lost in partial financing of the project, while Wasps are in a shallow but steady decline and are now a mere shadow of the side that was picking up trophies for fun just a few years ago.

    Hayes seems convinced that 'if he builds it, they will come'. It's not going to happen in a small football market hemmed in by Watford, Oxford and Reading - never mind the London clubs just four junctions down the M40. This season, Wanderers are pushing for promotion and playing some very good football; yet they're doing so in front of an average of around 4,000 people - and that's with relatively low ticket prices (it costs only £4 for me to bring my daughter for instance). I don't think Steve Hayes has ever had much of a rapport with Wycombe fans - despite his insistence on being 'a football person'. We don't believe his vision, and people are voting with their feet. He's regarded as an outsider, an opportunist who's primarily in this for the greater good of Steve Hayes.

    But it's not going to happen with rugby either. The local market for rugby is saturated. Most Wasps games draw 6000-7000 fans including something like 4000 season ticket holders. The Community outreach programme does a fantastic job, but gives away hundreds of free and heavily discounted tickets each week. We don't need that outreach to happen at some remote location on the edge of Wycombe since it's most successful when Dave Larham and his community team take the Wasps brand out into the schools and local clubs across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. But while Wasps have built great relationships across the local rugby community, that community is drawn to engage with the club through success on the pitch. Under Steve Hayes' stewardship, that hasn't happened. We've seen the great players retire and the very good (Cipriani, Haskell, Palmer, Sackey, Skivington etc.) choose to play therir rugby elsewhere. Their replacements have been trade-downs and success on the pitch has rapidly ebbed away.

    Much as Wycombe Wanderers have a relatively small geographic footprint, Wasps' isn't actually much bigger with strong loyalties to Saracens to the east, Irish to the west and Northampton to the north - there simply aren't another 10,000 fans to tap, while trying to attract a large corporate market out of London will be problematic - not least as Wasps' fixtures move to meet the whims of the Sky and ESPN schedulers even more than Premiership football clubs.

    If Steve Hayes was really seious about providing a stadium that would generate the income to ensure Wasps future growth, he'd have been looking to build back towards London down the A40 or A41 corridors - not down a country backroad where any new development will suffer from the same access problems that, supposedly, make Adams Park unviable.

    In roping Wasps' fortunes together with Wanderers, he's hamstrung himself - the market simply isn't there to match his aspirations. Thus he becomes ever-more reliant on the council to put pride, ego and civic vanity to the forefront and both logic and the will of the local populace to the rear in backing his plans.

    Steve Hayes has played a blinder in getting the likes of Councillor Green onside. If smooching local politicians was an Olympic sport, our Steve would win Gold easily. He's played a long game, flattering the egos of the local Conservative Leadership while also regularly reminding them that Wasps would look outside the Wycombe District if his plans don't go through.

    He's done a less good job on the County Council which will have to manage the infrastructure nightmare if the scheme (and all its enabling development) comes to fruition; and his PR job on the local residents has backfired spactacularly, not least with the 'Consultation' which was about as transparent and balanced as an average Soviet presidential election.

    Had Steve Hayes done things in reverse: created a watertight business case and then gone about winning support for it, he may well have had the backing of the two clubs he owns and, more importantly, the support of the community that those clubs are a part of. Instead, he has simply created the impression of a rich man looking to get richer at the expense of those sporting entities while sticking up two fingers anyone in the locality who's not totally enamoured by his plans.

  • Comment number 54.

    The one thing I will say is that the club was not financially stable before Steve Hayes came in. We were losing money before then.

  • Comment number 55.

    Finchy - that is true, but since Hayes came in in 2004 the losses have increased dramatically:

    profit/losses of WWFC
    1999/2000 -£264,000
    2000/2001 +£150,000
    2001/2002 -£455,000
    2002/2003 -£389,000
    2003/2004 -£574,000

    2004/2005 -£926,040
    2005/2006 -£1,872,681
    2006/2007 -£698,694
    2007/2008 -£1,660,000
    2008/2009 -£698,000

    Also, some Hayes quotes (summer 2005)


    "Over the past few weeks I have spoken to quite a few supporters who have had complaints...they are not people who just set out to be negative. They have got genuine complaints and we need to give them proper service"

    "I want to get a real good partnership with Wasps if they are here but it will not be to the detriment of the football by any stretch of the imagination."

    "It's not about football, it's about the infrastructure and what goes on behind the scenes and bringing in the right people and doing things properly."

    "If after five years I can't bring the people in and push the fanbase up even after having a call centre and really understanding our supporters then my view would be to decide to call it a day and let somebody else have a go".

    Over five years later:

    Revolving door of chief execs
    Terrible ticketing system
    Million pound losses
    No league progress on the pitch, still in league two.
    Awful attendances - we are heading for our lowest average attendance since entering the FL
    WWFC threatened by prospect of over sized stadium which appears to be based around rugby club. Objectors are labelled as 'relentlessly negative', and people 'who want to see the club in the non league'.
    Fans have lost ownership of the club.

    I don't think it's worked out.



  • Comment number 56.

    As a Bolton fan I'm not really in a position to talk about losses (£90+m in debt????) but how can Wycombe have a future making losses like this. Bolton fans may sing "We are the one and only Wanderers" but none of us would want you to reduce the number of Wanderers in the league by one.

  • Comment number 57.

    Fletch,

    I usually like your blogs but also being a Wycombe fan, i think you have missed some huge points. Firstly, you hjave admitted that we were in teh third tier for longer thanks for the correction. steve Hayes is a lifelong Watford fan, he is not a Wycombe fan, although admittedly he is trying to trun himself into one, as he was in the terraces with the fans at Barnet on Tuesday.
    In fairness moving from the football clubs point of view to a 10,000 all seater stadium (like Chesterfield) will not have huge obstacles thrown in the way, but we will not fill the new ground or even come close to it, ripping the heart out of the foortball club, not to mention the quagmire that we call a football pitch due tot he share with the egg chasers. Am i opposed to the move not entirely, as we need better access to a ground, but need to keep the capacity realistic and an ongoing business plan of how we can keep the club finacially afloat!

  • Comment number 58.

    While I would like to see reassurances about where the money will come from and whether it will make and not cost us money I for one want this idea to go ahead.

    One of the main issues with Adams Park is accessibility and it always has been. While this isnt a problem for the hard core fans, I suspect that attendances would rise if the local waverers were able to get in and out of the stadium easily. Also, it would be near the M40 and therefore would increase our sphere of influence in the area. While a big stadium can often be harmful if there arent enough fans to fill it a bigger stadium demonstrates big ideas and I suspect a better class of players would be attracted if they thought the club was going somewhere.

    in regards to peoples arguments about atmosphere, I really think that its not a problem as the atmosphere at our games is hardly electric as it is. I think if we go up into league 1 this season and can stay there next season I think the stadium should go ahead as it could be the big step up that we need. However, firstly I would like to see proof that the stadiums leisure area would bring cash into the club. As the article says we are in a lot of debt atm for a small club and a new stadium needs to be a solution and not a problem and I wont lend my support to the stadium until its shown that this will make us money. Otherwise good article and I am glad to see major issues at the 'smaller' clubs getting some notice!!!

  • Comment number 59.

    I believe this to be a positive move and one which could prove successful for all involved.

    Arsenal: Unlucky, or Well Beaten? http://wp.me/p1kORI-1C

  • Comment number 60.

    Ask Oxford about the rent at the Kassam. Same type of deal. Rent. Rent doesn't care if you need a new striker. Rent doesn't care if you need new equipment. Next question, what will happen to the old park? Development? Who gains? Who is the big gainer in all of this?

  • Comment number 61.

    Wycombe would lose out for the Rent as mentioned but would Wasps move to a new stadium??
    Plus, Im still confused on who will pay for it? Taxpayers, Wycombe (with Money problems), Wasps (also dont have money).
    Plus looking on Google Earth, why move it 100m up the road when Adams Park is suitable, it works out for Wycombe and Wasps and why cant the area around Adams Park be changed?

  • Comment number 62.

    "As for everyone talking about the football club, maybe the stadium isn't for the best for them, but football doesn't always come before rugby, if Wasps will benefit from having a bigger stadium then Wycombe will just have to put up with it, or the owners will have to look at separating their grounds(that is keep the football where it is, and move the Wasps)"

    I'm afraid that I do believe that the football club should come first in this case. Wycombe Wanderers, as a result of a selfless act for the town from Frank Adams, owns the ground that Wasps, as tenants, share. To have another club come in and affect the football club as greatly as this is not right. It's not even as if Wasps is a Wycombe club, it still sports itself as 'London' Wasps.

    For me the most disgraceful thing about this whole sorry saga is that Steve Hayes is destroying the wonderful legacy that Frank Adams left behind. To donate a ground which, in years to come, the club is able to sell in order to fund a new stadium and own it outright is not something that I could ever see Steve Hayes doing. In fact he wants us, the taxpayers, to pay for it for him.

    As for the quoted comment above, I really wish that Wasps would 'buzz off' and play in their own ground, but the survival of Wanderers is now intrinsically linked to the Rugby team. Wanderers now find themselves in a Catch 22 position that Steve Hayes has led us into.

  • Comment number 63.

    Paul Fletcher wrote: "It seems very clear that the developers, WSDL, are not going to win over a lot of the doubters until they produce a business plan, explain how it will all work financially and benefit Wanderers as well as Wasps.

    Mikes Brooks told me he cannot wait for the chance to do this but will not do so until a plan has been put together in detail. Until then the doubts will, rightly I feel, remain.

    One argument that I am not sure I buy into is the idea that a new ground will lead to a sudden upturn in people passing through the turnstiles to watch football at Wycombe. Deputy leader of the council Green seemed convinced better access would have a real impact on attendance."

    What worries me is that WSDL are yet to produce a business plan, are yet to convince supporters, and are yet to receive planning permission, but ARE recruiting for job vacancies, such as senior construction development manager and project executive, for a project not yet approved! Makes you wonder whats going on behind closed doors.

  • Comment number 64.

    Quite a lot to read here and I apologise if I mention something that has already been dealt with.
    Firstly, I'd like to refer to two previous posters:

    C Parker (#36): I don't think the Adams Park site has much development potential/value. I certainly can't see housing on that site.

    steve_bracknell (#50): Northampton Saints and a few other rugby clubs have great locations in central positions, a large local population and no Premiership football club nearby.

    With these points in mind, you have to ask yourself why Steve Hayes got involved in the first place but I think the fact is, there would not be a queue of people waiting to take over from him if he decided to quit. WWFC and LW will never be profitable businesses and if we want a football and rugby club near Wycombe then the owner has to have some sort of encouragement. Chris Wright, the previous owner of Wasps, maybe couldn't carry on with the financial commitment and in that sense Wasps were lucky that SH came along. Consequently, you could say that WWFC were unlucky that Wasps came along, but this is all water under the bridge now. It's time to stop discussing what has happened and why and to try to see what options there are for a successful future for both clubs, based on a true assessment of where the clubs are at the moment. It seems to me that the interests of WWFC and LW can't be best served by a single solution such as Booker. WWFC is a local based club with supporters who don't need a new stadium. LW on the other hand have been on the move for years, have a supporter base from far and wide a large number of whom have to drive to a match. Sadly, it seems to me that if SH doesn't get his way with this development then the future of LW as a professional outfit, let alone a Premiership side, looks very uncertain. WWFC could maybe find a way to carry on. It has been done before.

  • Comment number 65.

    1) Wycombe don't need a larger ground, so it's not for their benefit. The current ground is perfectly sized for them, attractive location too.

    2) Wasps may need a larger ground, though this is questionable. The new location (near the M40) is a lot more convenient for London based rugby fans, so clearly he's hoping to attract more of them, whereas Adams Park is currently in a terrible location for getting to and from the ground.

    3) Have there even been any serious plans for building a new access road to Adams Park - having taken the shuttle bus back to the M40 park and ride, it was a slow and tedious journey...

  • Comment number 66.

    Makes perfect sense to me, this stadium idea. In fact, few years back, when I was living in a 2 bedroom house on my own, I got a roommate. He lived there for a while, things were fine but then he decided the house was too small for him. It was fine for me, but I thought the best thing to do was to sell my house and use the money to build one that i could then pay rent for. Of course, I lost a lot of money from rent and as a result had to work more hours, the girlfriend left me because I couldn't afford a birthday present, my friends deserted me because I didn't have time for them and I'm now living on the streets. But Wasps, sorry I mean my old roommate is pretty happy.

  • Comment number 67.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

 

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