Richardson new shareholder at Wasps
Published 10/04/2013 | 17:51
Irish businessman Derek Richardson has become the new principal shareholder of Wasps and revealed long-term plans to move the club back to west London.
Richardson, whose business background is in insurance, vowed to bring financial stability back to a club that came close to administration last year. Wasps was saved by a consortium led by former player Ken Moss when they avoided relegation last summer, but that was only ever intended to be a short-term solution.
The club was losing £2million a season before the Moss consortium stepped in and was saddled with a £1.5million secured debt. Richardson said: "The club has been through some tough times but I am confident that, with the right management and commercial focus, new investment can really reinvigorate everything about London Wasps."
He added: "Financial stability is our immediate focus and our aim is to become a self-sustainable business within a number of years.
"We are now looking at developing a longer-term business strategy with the ultimate aim of ensuring we achieve that goal."
Richardson sees a new ground - either owned outright by Wasps or co-owned with another party - as central to a successful financial future for the club.
"We feel it is vital that we own or co-own our own ground," Richardson said. "We are not interested in a ground-share, which is prohibitive in terms of helping us to become self-sustainable.
"We are currently looking at sites and co-ownership options. Ideally we believe that west London is a natural future home for London Wasps but we are exploring lots of options at a very initial stage at the moment."
Richardson confirmed ambitions to invest in new training and administrative facilities for the club.
"This is another project that is already under way and should be something we can advance quickly over the next year or so," he said.