Wanderers chairman admits he might have to sell up

Wanderers chairman Don Woodward

Wanderers chairman Don Woodward

First published in Latest Sport This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

DON Woodward says he could be forced to sell Wanderers if the club doesn't secure any more financial income.

The Wycombe Wanderers Trust took over ownership of the club in the summer but the Blues chairman says he has already been contacted by people looking to take control back from supporters.

And while Woodward wants the club to remain fan led, he warned: "If the banks all finally say no and there's no capital raising and Wasps don't pay us, then I'll have no option but to sell the club having done all the work.

"It wouldn't be a disaster because the supporters would still own the ground and the club would hopefully then be well financed and moving up the leagues, but it wouldn't be a supporter-run club.

“While we didn't set out to conquer the world, we quite like owning our own club and it would be nice to think we could keep hold of it."

He added: “I have had a few calls already. If we as a community don’t engage and sort this problem out, I’ll have to accept one of those calls and lead it to a deal because I’ll have no choice.

“We’d like to see it all the way through but there is a Plan B.”

Part of the shortfall has been caused by tenants Wasps still owing Wanderers £250,000 and Woodward said poorly-attended rugby matches at Adams Park have led to the football club losing money.

Woodward said the Trust felt it was in the football club's interests to support Wasps through their own protracted takeover.

But he admitted: "Whilst they didn't have all their ducks in a row, or weren't playing well, we've been running games for them that haven't had enough people turning up. They've been giving away freebies, so you think 7,000 people will turn up and 3,000 turn up.

"We've been manning it for 4,500-5,000 people and we've been losing money. Not only have we been subsidising Wasps on a matchday but we've not been paid for the services we've been giving them.

"We've got a couple of hundred thousand pound cash hole that we didn't imagine we were going to have by now, which has caused difficulties operationally for us."

Woodward hopes improved form on the pitch for both Wanderers and Wasps will lead to the fans coming back and easing Blues' cashflow problems, adding he doesn't want the rugby club to owe more than £60,000 at a time.

Referring to the possibility of selling the club, Woodward said if such a deal went through any new owner would pay rent to the Supporters’ Trust – which would continue to own Adams Park – as their tenant, earning more income for Wanderers.

He said to prevent that happening the club hopes to raise between £250,000 and £1million in a new share capital from supporters, which would "pretty much underwrite the football club for the next four or five years".

The Blues chairman said: "It would allow us to have the cash to run a business, but also if we were in a situation where we are three points off the play offs and our centre forward broke his leg, we can dip into the reserve fund to pay for a month's loan and allow us the flexibility."

The Trust had a shortage of cash early on, after asking the club's bank to switch an overdraft into a long-term loan. This was agreed but three days before the takeover was due to be completed the bank changed its mind - leading to members having to fork out all their available funds to pay off the £1.2million debt.

Woodward added the sale of striker Stuart Beavon in August had helped plug the gap: "I had to take that offer. I'd rather have worked with the player and convinced him to stay - although he wasn't for listening - so we did the deal. That, and a bit of help from board members and a few others, have plugged the cash shortfall."

Comments (4)

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12:29pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Gerry47 says...

FAO LONDON WASPS :

WWFC subsidise many of your matches at Adams Park.

WWFC financially supported you during your takeover talks.

LONDON Wasps prescence at Adams Park is killing WWFC.

..So please can you pay WWFC back the £250,000 you currently owe.

..THEN MOVE ON.
FAO LONDON WASPS : WWFC subsidise many of your matches at Adams Park. WWFC financially supported you during your takeover talks. LONDON Wasps prescence at Adams Park is killing WWFC. ..So please can you pay WWFC back the £250,000 you currently owe. ..THEN MOVE ON. Gerry47
  • Score: -4

12:37pm Mon 11 Feb 13

mowgli1960 says...

Take them to court,no threats just do it and they can find somewhere else to play without paying any rent.
Take them to court,no threats just do it and they can find somewhere else to play without paying any rent. mowgli1960
  • Score: -5

8:24am Tue 12 Feb 13

Helen 123 says...

Gerry47 wrote:
FAO LONDON WASPS :

WWFC subsidise many of your matches at Adams Park.

WWFC financially supported you during your takeover talks.

LONDON Wasps prescence at Adams Park is killing WWFC.

..So please can you pay WWFC back the £250,000 you currently owe.

..THEN MOVE ON.
Are you really suggesting that if Wasps paid you the £250,000 (and I am sure they will) that you will be OK and not have to sell? Are you saying that all of your problems are due to WASPS being at Adams Park? Very short sighted I think.
[quote][p][bold]Gerry47[/bold] wrote: FAO LONDON WASPS : WWFC subsidise many of your matches at Adams Park. WWFC financially supported you during your takeover talks. LONDON Wasps prescence at Adams Park is killing WWFC. ..So please can you pay WWFC back the £250,000 you currently owe. ..THEN MOVE ON.[/p][/quote]Are you really suggesting that if Wasps paid you the £250,000 (and I am sure they will) that you will be OK and not have to sell? Are you saying that all of your problems are due to WASPS being at Adams Park? Very short sighted I think. Helen 123
  • Score: 4

5:34pm Tue 12 Feb 13

Phredd says...

I am a season ticket holder for both Wanderers and Wasps, so take a neutral view.

If Wasps were to go do you think that Wanderers could stay solvent with the crowds we get?

When Steve Hayes sold his ownership of Wasps they did say they would be looking for a new ground closer to London, in the next few years. When that happens I think the future of Wanderers will be seriously at risk.

The only Wasps matches that have seen tickets given away were for the matches everyone knew wouldn;t attract big crowds, but even so Wanderers must have made money on the food and drink sales.

Yes Wasps do owe Wanderers money, but it looks like they have recently paid half of it back, and with a new major investor due to be revealed in the next week or so it could well be all paid off very soon.

This article sounds more like "we bit off more than we could chew, but let's find someone else to blame".
I am a season ticket holder for both Wanderers and Wasps, so take a neutral view. If Wasps were to go do you think that Wanderers could stay solvent with the crowds we get? When Steve Hayes sold his ownership of Wasps they did say they would be looking for a new ground closer to London, in the next few years. When that happens I think the future of Wanderers will be seriously at risk. The only Wasps matches that have seen tickets given away were for the matches everyone knew wouldn;t attract big crowds, but even so Wanderers must have made money on the food and drink sales. Yes Wasps do owe Wanderers money, but it looks like they have recently paid half of it back, and with a new major investor due to be revealed in the next week or so it could well be all paid off very soon. This article sounds more like "we bit off more than we could chew, but let's find someone else to blame". Phredd
  • Score: 3

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