The consultation period for the development of the Wycombe Community Stadium & Sports Project came to end with a bang at the start of this Halloween weekend, as the Wycombe Wanderers Trust (WWT) refused to back the clubs ambitions of a move to Booker Air Park.
A statement released by the WWT on October 27, just two days before the consultation period came to a close, insisted they were “yet to be convinced” that the body behind the proposal - Wycombe Sports Development Limited (WSDL) – was “capable of delivering a stable business that can cope not only with the running of the clubs but also of a complicated and enhanced multi faceted facility.”
This statement came as a major blow to Wanderers’ hopes of support for the move, but the reasoned piece left room for improvement and negotiation, and the trust maintains it will continue to work with the council and interested parties “to seek an outcome that protects both the short and long term interests of WWFC”.
The main concern for the Trust comes in the guise of optimism, or more accurately, blind optimism, on behalf of Wycombe Wanderers. Two main points that highlight this apprehension are the proposed capacity of the new stadium and the financial strain on the club.
In terms of capacity, the Trust sees the proposed 17,500 seater stadium as of ‘limited benefit’ to Wanderers, but does concede that the case for ease of access and better facilities has been well made and that the advantages for the local community are obvious.
With regards to the financial optimism heralded by the proposal, the Trust are concerned by the management of WSDL, with two individual shareholders, who will manage the entire project and therefore decide who benefits the greatest from the move, be it one of the clubs, both of the clubs or outside interest. In one of its stronger stances in the statement, the Trust states it “cannot endorse the WSDL lead in this plan in its present form.”
The Trust also notes that the current financial management of both Wycombe and Wasps is ‘less than satisfactory’, and further still, are already under the same management as WSDL, adding to the anxiety. These sticking points have been left open to discussion by the Trust, but they would not go as far as to say they would give their approval to the proposal if any of their demands are met.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.