Good Bye to Adams Park

It has never been easy to love Adams Park. It sits at the end of an industrial estate, a cul-de-sac of deserted office and factory space on a Sunday, a bunged-up traffic black-spot, forlorn, uninspiring, a far remove from a raucous bear-bit. And it’s not even in London!

Wasps have not been a London club for a decade, but nomads for some while now, and have made a virtue of it, the waifs and strays that banded together and took on the world to such good effect.

You do wonder if the move to Coventry will work. You imagine how desolate the 32,000 capacity Rioch might be on match day with the diehards rattling around inside. It will be a case of starting over. When Wasps moved to Loftus Road they struggled to attract gates of more than 5,000. They have never managed to attract more than a decent smattering of supporters at Adams Park, a ballpark figure of 6,000.(Today’s attendance was 5842). Leicester even managed to pull in 22,639 for the visit of Newcastle. They now not only need their current fans to remain loyal, which will be difficult enough with travelling costs rising and more time needed to get home matches, but to attract thousands of new ones . It will take time.

Meanwhile, there was a game to be played.
Today’s match against hitherto winless London Welsh was the club’s final Premiership fixture at Adams Park. The last game of all is a European rugby Champions Cup match-up against Castres in four weeks. For the record, today’s was Wasps’ 131st Premiership game at Adams Park, but only the second against London Welsh. (The first game there was in September 2002, a 38-35 win over Bristol)

The Exiles are rock bottom of the Premiership, having gleaned one point, conceded 36 tries and 272 points in their opening six games. Now make that 47 tries and 343 points. Nathan Hughes got the ball rolling with a try with just a minute gone before Johnson,Sailosi Tagicakibau and Hughes again made it 26-0 at half-time. Things got completely out of hand for Welsh in the second period as Wade and Johnson completed their hat tricks while Tom Varndell and Joe Simpson also touched down to make it 11 tries in total for the hosts. At least Wasps ended their Aviva Premiership Rugby tenure at Adams Park in style.

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Wasps to be sent to Coventry?

Wasps have dropped London from their name for the forthcoming season, and are now believed to be drawing up plans to relocate the club away from Wycombe to the West Midlands, specifically Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.Wasps are no stranger to the ground, having played a number of Heineken Cup games there in the past.

Land Rover have their headquarters in the area, and the new club sponsors are Land Rover owners Tata Motors Limited

Wasps would not be the only rugby team to have shifted location to find a permanent home in recent years, but there is no denying that those clubs who are leading such a nomadic existence are the one who find it harder to create the home atmosphere found in the West of England or Leicester.

One can appreciate Wasps’ need to move and find a more suitable home, but surely it should be closed to their traditional home and not further away?

Mike Miles

http://www.scrumdown.org.uk

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Bath are on their way to the Arms Park

The trophy cabinet at Bath Rugby has been neglected in recent years , but the club took a big step towards silverware with a powerful victory at Adams Park on Sunday, with a 24-18 triumph over London Wasps in their Amlin Cup semi-final.

its an understatement to say Adams Park is not the most accessible of grounds,whatever your mode of transport.There always seems to be a long,slow-moving queue approaching Junction 4 of the M40 ( though clearly not for the game – the attendance was a shade over 6,000) ,and you still have to navigate the traffic in the park-and ride bus.And this on a day when said buses seemed to be breaking down do that I only made it to my seat as Andy Goode kicked the first points of the game.

But the club’s real problem is that they are ground-sharing with a football club,and there will be no long-term prosperity unless they play in their own stadium-though that prospect appears further and further away.

Some thoughts on Adams Park

I’ve always had a soft spot for London Wasps, and when I came across the following story I can understand why….

As a reasonably well-established rugby club by the latter part of the nineteenth century Wasps were eligible to be founder members of the Rugby Football Union. A meeting was scheduled for January 26,1871, for the formalities to take place. However a mix-up led Wasps to sending their representative to the wrong venue,at the wrong time on the wrong day. So he was not present at the inauguration ceremony and Wasps forfeited their right to be call founder members of the RFU But the version I prefer is that the Wasps man went to another pub of the same name and got so drunk he never made it to the right venue.

The club’s biggest present day problem is that they are having to share with a football club, and there will be no long-term prosperity until they reap the financial benefits of playing in their own stadium. That prospect appears further and further away. Indeed, the latest rumour is that Wasps will ground-share with Brentford F.C. when (and if) the latter move into their proposed brand new stadium near Kew Bridge in west London.