Wasps' millionth Ricoh Arena supporter handed memorable 18th birthday present
Date: 11 Oct 2018
Wasps have welcomed their millionth supporter to the Ricoh Arena – less than four years after moving to the Midlands – and it gave one lucky fan an 18 birthday he will never forget.
Life-long Wasps follower Tom Svensson was at the Wasps v Gloucester game celebrating his 18 birthday when he was plucked from the crowd after being identified as the one millionth person to come through the turnstiles since the club moved to the Ricoh Arena.
So instead of enjoying his half time refreshments, Tom found himself on the pitch, meeting England star Brad Shields and being handed a Wasps replica shirt signed by the first team to mark the milestone.
Tom, along with his father Dean and sister Laura, regularly travel the two-and-a-half hours from their home in Colne Engaine in North Essex to watch games, after being connected with the club since he began playing the sport.
The family join thousands of people who watch from across Coventry and Warwickshire, and the wider Midlands region making the rugby club one of the best supported in the country.
Now they will be back for the Heineken Champions Cup match against Bath later in the month – after also collecting free tickets.
The surprised Tom said: “I had no idea what was going on and it was a wonderful surprise. Someone just told me to make my way down to the front of the stand at half time – and the next thing I knew there I was meeting Brad Shields and being handed a shirt. I was dumbstruck, to be honest.”
Tom first watched Wasps play against Biarritz at Adams Park and used to attend the club’s Coach Class sessions in High Wycombe.
They served him well because, after starting playing with his local club Sudbury at the age of five, he is now a scrum half at the Oakland College Rugby Academy.
“One of the guys at the club supported Wasps, took me to a game about 10 years ago and that was it – I have been a supporter ever since.
“It takes us about two-and-a-half hours each way but we really enjoy it. It is really different to when I first watched the club. The size of the crowds and the match atmosphere are great.
“I am a residential student and our games are on a Wednesday so that leaves Saturday free to travel to watch Wasps, which we do for most of the home games. Although I am a scrum half and a big admirer of Dan Robson, Elliot Daly is my favourite player.”
Stuart Cain, Commercial Director of Wasps, said Tom joins an increasing number of fans from Coventry and Birmingham to the Ricoh Arena.
He added: “Getting more than a million spectators through the door in less than four years is a major achievement and it shows just how much the club has been embraced by the local area.
“One reason for this success is our community programme and Tom is living proof that this investment in the community works.
“Having reached over 70,000 children through our community work it’s good to see that this pays dividends in terms of future involvement.
“We are looking forward to seeing Tom and his family back later in the month for the Heineken Champions Cup game with Bath. This will also be the first time we will play a double-header as we welcome Wasps Ladies to the Ricoh Arena.”
Tickets for Wasps vs Bath are available by clicking here, starting from £18 for adults, while under-10s go free in certain areas.