Wasps tipped for ‘bright future’ despite financial crisis threatening club

Wasps filed a notice of their intention to appoint an administrator with the High Court.

Andrew Baldock
Sunday 25 September 2022 17:13 BST
Joe Launchbury (PA)
Joe Launchbury (PA) (PA Archive)

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Louise Thomas

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Joe Launchbury says “there is so much to be excited about” over Wasps’ future.

The Wasps captain led his team to a first Gallagher Premiership victory of the season with a 39-31 success against Bath.

But it arrived after the club filed a notice of their intention to appoint an administrator with the High Court.

They have been served a winding-up order by HM Revenue and Customs over an unpaid tax bill, while Wasps are also having difficulty repaying a £35million bond that was raised to help finance their relocation from High Wycombe to Coventry eight years ago.

Launchbury was two years into his Wasps career when the club encountered an administration threat in 2012, so current issues are not alien to him.

Wasps players and coaches met with club owner Derek Richardson, chief executive Stephen Vaughan and chief operating officer Chris Holland on Thursday, when the whole financial situation was outlined.

“There is so much to be excited about with the future of Wasps,” England international lock Launchbury said.

“You look at the stadium, the training ground, the intent of people to push this club forward is as much as it ever has been. Maybe it wasn’t there 10 years ago.

“Clearly, there are some issues that need to be sorted out over a short time-frame, which is out of our control, but hopefully we will hear some good news from that. We’ve heard some news, but in terms of our job at the moment it is very much still the same. It’s unsettling isn’t it? Especially when the word gets chucked around, which I don’t think the club wants chucked around – administration.

“No-one wants to hear that. As players we don’t fully know what that entails, but the way we rallied around from that news, we trained as normal, cracked on with our day as normal.”

Joe Launchbury wins lineout possession against Bath (David Davies/PA)
Joe Launchbury wins lineout possession against Bath (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)

Launchbury is a talismanic figure on and off the pitch at Wasps, and he is optimistic about what the future holds.

“The people at the top are very clear about the fact that they want to be part of the club and to find solutions to this,” he added.

“For us as players, hearing (from them) on Thursday was music to our ears and now we will leave that to them. All we can try and do as players is win rugby games.

“Maybe I am a little bit biased, but this club has a huge amount to offer. I believe the future can be really bright. It means an awful lot to me – it has been home for a long, long time. I want the best for it and all its employees.”

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