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Opinion : Wasps are leaving. Can Wycombe Wanderers survive?

| October 7, 2014


There was some very important news revealed earlier this evening with the announcement that Wasps Rugby Club are planning to leave Adams Park.

Wasps have been in need of a bigger stadium for years and a move was always on the cards when the plans for the Booker Stadium turned to dust back in July 2011.

The Booker stadium would have destroyed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, decimated Wycombe Air Park and ruined Booker forever. It was not a price worth paying to keep the rugby club here.

Was it any wonder the people of Wycombe rose up in protest. Thanks to a concerted campaign of action and protest marches through the town centre the ‘White Elephant Stadium’ as it became known never happened.

Adams Park has always been too small for such a prestigious rugby team. With the size of crowd they attract and a move to a larger ground is a sensible idea but where does this leave Wycombe Wanderers?

Of course the pitch at Adams Park will be far batter to play football on as it won’t be churned up so much by having rugby boots running over it, that can only be good for the football team.

But there must surely be a loss of income from the ground share which may affect the football teams financial viability?

Just look how poor the attendances are for the football matches. You may remember I wrote a blog on this very topic last Tuesday.

Despite Wycombe firmly holding second place in League Two and the possibility of promotion next season, the game against Northampton Town last Saturday, the 4th October 2014, attracted just 3,822 supporters of which 801 came from Northampton.

As I wrote in my previous blog, for football matches the stadium is just over a third full with around of the seats 9,000 empty. Can Wycombe Wanderers really continue with such paltry gate incomes?

If ever there was a time the Chairboys needed the support of the people of Wycombe it must be now.

Wasps always were visitors here as their roots were in London but Wycombe Wanderers are as much a part of Wycombe as Hughenden Manor, West Wycombe Church or Frogmoor. To lose our football team would be a real blow to the town.

The question is will the Wanderers fight back? What can be done to rejuvenate the attendances and secure the football teams financial future through improved gate receipts?

Let’s suppose the Blues get promotion and okay in League One next season, will the crowds still stay away?

If only a new stadium had been built in a more suitable location. At the time there was vacant land on the former CompAir site at the back of Hughenden Road and the land where Harrisons the printers had been close to Hughenden Park. Even to this day the old gas works site has not been built on.

Wycombe lost a Premiership Rugby team because our existing facilities were just not big enough. The efforts to build them a new home failed and caused outrage in the local community. A bungle like this could only happen in Wycombe.

What do you think?

*My next blog will be published on Friday evening around 8pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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