Nick Eastwood Programme notes
For supporters who can't make the game tomorrow, here are Wasps CEO Nick Eastwood's programme notes.
It is a difficult welcome to write this week, to find a tone to suit everyone who reads this.
We are truly sorry for the angst and upheaval many of you have felt over the past few days while trying to digest news of the move, and once again apologise that we were not able to say anything earlier to help ease the process. We wish we could have said or done things differently, but legal confidentiality agreements simply did not allow us to do that.
We understand why emotions have been running so high this week and I hope it helped those of you who were able to join us at our first Season Ticket Holder forum on Thursday, to hear in person why this move had to happen.
I am happy to look any supporter in the eye and say that moving to the Ricoh Arena is by far and away the best option for the long-term success of the Club. Our supporters are incredibly important, our players and staff are incredibly important, but the most important thing of all is the Club, and it’s survival.
That is my responsibility. It is a responsibility which weighs heavily and which I take extremely seriously. I joined Wasps two years ago. It was on my second day that I discovered the true extent of the Club’s losses and that we couldn’t afford to pay our players. Not long afterwards a winding up order was about to be issued by HMRC. We managed to get an extension, but even then we were within an hour of disappearing forever.
Without Derek Richardson stepping in to bail us out, none of us would be supporting Wasps today, not at Adams Park, not at the Ricoh Arena, not training alongside our friends at Wasps FC in Acton. We simply wouldn’t exist.
We hope when some of the emotion has subsided and our supporters are able to read through the facts and consider the options, many more will understand why this really is the best move for our Club.
We will keep true to Wasps values and work ethic, we will do everything we can to maintain the spirit of the amateur era. However, we need to accept in the professional game we must keep up or we’ll get left behind. Through moving to the Ricoh Arena Wasps will again be able to lead from the front.
We all want the best for this Club. We all want to see Wasps back at the top of the domestic and European game. That is our goal.
And this is where the tone is so difficult, because I felt the pain of many of you on Thursday evening, and what this means. At the same time this is an exciting opportunity for Wasps, because for the first time in almost 20 years we have found a permanent home we can call our own and be proud of, somewhere we will be safe and secure and able to build for the future.
The Ricoh Arena is a magnificent stadium and we would love you to see it for yourself when we hold open days. The off-field revenue will allow us to invest in our team, providing better facilities and more staff in the rugby department to help players develop. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I couldn’t allow to pass us by.
To those of you I met on Thursday and who have been contacting us this week saying you’ll give it a go, thank you, and we look forward to welcoming you.
We don’t want to leave our fans behind, we want you to come too and the players would love you to come too whenever you can.
I appreciate for many it might not be possible and for that I apologise. I had to do what was best for Wasps to make sure the Club you love is still here in 50 years time, and is thriving on and off the field.
If you would like to ask me any questions, I will of course be happy to answer them to the best of my ability at next week’s Season Ticket Holder forum.
I would also like to thank everyone at Wycombe Wanderers with whom we have very much enjoyed working with and will continue to enjoy working with until the move. We hope they too will understand.
What I would remind people, is this decision was mine and my senior management team’s. The players do not make these kinds of decisions. They are positive and upbeat, but like you are absorbing the news this week.
If you have any questions please feel free to speak to me, but also please get behind the boys today. They will be doing their utmost to put in a performance you can be proud of.
Please visit www.wasps.co.uk for more information about our move, which will hopefully help to answer some of your questions as well.
I hope Bath fans appreciate why I wanted to speak directly to our supporters today, but we welcome you and hope you enjoy the game.