For many fans the past 24hours has been one of most emotional times of their rugby lives. The rumours have been bubbling about Wasps' stadium movement to Coventry for a while, when it was broken by The Rugby Paper and greeted, as expected, with uproar - however at that point it was merely a rumour. Yesterday, just before 7pm, after a day of intense focus and scrutiny on Coventry City Council's movements, Wasps confirmed that the council 'unanimously approved the sale of their shares' and indeed the side is moving to Coventry.
The finite details of the move are being announced in a press conference this morning, that press conference will occur in on Wednesday morning following which the club will issue another statement. I thought long and hard about whether or not I should comment on this subject for as a regular at Adams Park I know both fans and indeed the staff well and like others I am still coming to terms with this decision. Right now everything is so fresh, so raw and so emotional I am fully aware that anything that I do or don't say is likely to upset an individual somewhere, in some way however this move is the focus of the entire world of rugby so to stay silent also feels incorrect.
I am not going to comment on the rights or wrongs of the decision, I do not know the particulars regarding what other options were considered, I assume many, or the financial situation of the club in its current state. Instead I will say this; Wasps' fans have a right to feel aggrieved, hurt, distressed and wronged for they had absolutely no say in this decision, that hurts whenever any decision is made without your consent, no matter how great or small the impact on you is. At the end of the day it comes down to the fact that Coventry isn't just round the corner, as rightly pointed out it is as far to get to Sandy Park and Exeter as it is to get to the new stadium and that means that many will not be able to watch the team that they love play rugby. A team that they have followed for years, a team that they have laughed with and cried over, a team that has experienced extreme highs and extreme lows and that is the most hurtful factor. Until the particulars are delivered this morning we will not know if it is a wholesale relocation including the movement of the training facilities and academy or a move of home fixtures only. In my opinion it makes a difference to the club in terms of its player base, for London is a more alluring area to attract future and current players, however for fans it may make little difference.
It has been one of the most emotional twenty four hours that rugby has experienced in recent years; I send my heartfelt sympathy to all affected especially those that it impacts the most knowing that they won't be able to watch their side when the move happens. It will be a difficult time for all of the staff at Wasps as well this week for they have a huge amount of raw emotion to handle... they must do so with extreme care right now and that something that I don't believe you can prepare for. Finally I'd like to wish the Wasps' players well, for focusing during such a turbulent time takes almost super human effort, their stability has also been turned upside down as well however stripping everything back Bath will arrive on Sunday and as heartless as it sounds they will focus only on the game of rugby at hand.
For now we must await more news... one thing is for certain the Ricoh move is no longer a rumour, it is a reality.