Wasps’ future secured with fresh investment

Derek Richardson, an Irish businessman who made his pile in the insurance market, was the new principal shareholder of the club

It has been a chastening few days for England’s top-flight clubs – five defeats in six quarter-final ties spread across two European tournaments, four of them on home territory, left them reflecting long and hard on another difficult cross-border campaign – but a puff of white smoke above a rickety old training base in West London finally gave the Premiership fraternity a reason to celebrate. Wasps, a great club at serious risk of collapse, are financially stable for the first time in years.

The two-time Heineken Cup champions formally announced that Derek Richardson, an Irish businessman who made his pile in the insurance market, was the new principal shareholder of the club, with a fresh board of directors to be appointed in the coming weeks. Richardson’s name had been doing the rounds since January, but confirmation was a clear signal that Wasps’ outstanding issues – most notably with the tax authorities, with whom they have a history of difficulties – had finally been addressed. “We start with a clean slate,” said a club official.

As recently as a year ago, Wasps were threatened on all fronts. Players did not know whether they would be paid on time, the new rugby director David Young was in no position to strengthen the squad in the way he had imagined when he was appointed, and relegation loomed. As the England lock Joe Launchbury, one of the young academy products charged with keeping the club in the Premiership, told this newspaper a few weeks ago: “I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I tell you that if we’d gone down, the club would have struggled to remain in existence.”

Now, the mood has changed – much to the delight of the people running the Premiership, who could ill afford to lose one of the most successful clubs of the professional era. One of Launchbury’s fellow tyros, the outstanding back Elliot Daly, has signed a new long-term contract and senior officials are talking about moving from Adams Park, the stadium they share with Wycombe Wanderers, to a ground of their own, although plans are very much in their infancy.

Richardson met the players at their current base in Acton and told them that new, improved training facilities were near the top of his agenda, along with a drive to make the club a sustainable business long in to the future. “I believe we have a fantastic opportunity to move forward on and off the pitch,” he said. “I see my involvement as a big responsibility and this is a long-term challenge, which I want to meet head-on. The club has been through some tough times, but I am confident with the right management and commercial focus, new investment can really invigorate everything about it.”

In Wales, two more internationals – the Cardiff Blues centre Jamie Roberts and the flanker Dan Lydiate – are expected to confirm moves to the Parisian club Racing Metro next season. The Scarlets wing George North agreed terms with Northampton earlier this week.

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect