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Goode: We want to be local heroes

Andy Goode has promised Wasps want to unite the people of Coventry and vowed they are here to help.

The Coventry-born fly-half is preparing with Wasps for their Ricoh Arena debut against London Irish on Sunday, which will complete their controversial switch from Adams Park.

Goode is a lifelong Sky Blues football fan and watched their 1987 FA Cup win at Wembley as a seven-year-old.

He insists the club will aid the football club and Coventry Rugby Club and said Wasps will not overshadow them.

Their move was met with scepticism from Sky Blues and the local rugby club supporters, while Wasps fans launched a petition to keep the side around London.

But Goode believes Wasps, who completed their purchase of the Ricoh Arena in November, will be a success in Coventry and help grow the area into a sporting stronghold.

"The people of Coventry are crying out for top-level spot and that's what we'll bring," he said.

"The more we embed ourselves in the community and show the people of Coventry we really care about being here will show we want to be part of things.

"It's a partnership going forward, not just with the football club but with Coventry Rugby Club as well.

"We will be supporting them and there will be a plan for that. We are not competing with them, we're working to develop rugby in the area.

"We want to make Coventry a successful place to play."

With Aviva Premiership rivals Leicester Tigers 25 miles away, and Northampton Saints and Worcester Warriors within driving distance, Wasps must force their way into an already well-supported area.

But Goode insists, with 27,000 fans expected on Sunday, they will recruit new fans.

"There is a contingent in the Coventry area who watch Leicester and borderline fans who will hopefully come and support Wasps," said the 34-year-old.

"Having played at Leicester for 10 years I was a Coventry fan playing for Tigers and I'd go and watch Coventry v Leicester games with the Cov fans,

"There are a lot of people who want to watch top-flight rugby, we need to be successful on the field and help them want to come back.

"There's a massive untapped resource because Leicester and Northampton sell out, so if you want to watch rugby and can't get a ticket we can give people a massive opportunity."

Goode admits playing at the home of the football club he supported as a schoolboy is a dream.

"The 1987 cup final has to be the one of my best memories, my mum and dad took me and my brother," said the former England international.

"Growing up I watched Micky Quinn. I used to sit in the West Terrace on a Saturday afternoon with my mates from school.

"I watched the Premiership battles year after year, I was there when we beat Manchester United 3-2 (in 1997).

"Peter Ndlovu and Dion Dublin were heroes of mine, people I'm good mates with now. Now getting the chance to play at the Ricoh Arena, where Coventry play, is pretty special too."


From Belfast Telegraph