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Vickery warns Wasps over move


Phil Vickery believes Wasps must commit fully to any move to Coventry to find sustained success

Phil Vickery believes Wasps must commit fully to any move to Coventry to find sustained success

Phil Vickery believes Wasps must commit fully to any move to Coventry to find sustained success

Phil Vickery has warned Wasps to move "lock, stock" to Coventry to make a success of plans to stage home matches at the city's Ricoh Arena.

Former England prop Vickery won a Heineken Cup and league title in his five years with Wasps, and admitted he would be "sad" to see the Aviva Premiership club leave London.

Wasps are attempting a £30million buyout of Arena Coventry Limited, the company that runs the Ricoh ground, to switch home matches from Wycombe's Adams Park.

The top-flight club could keep their west London training base and academy boundaries in west London, and still host home matches in Coventry without the need for RFU or Premiership Rugby approval.

British and Irish Lions front-rower Vickery believes Wasps must move their entire set-up to the midlands however, or face prolonging an uncertain nomadic existence.

"It doesn't really give you much continuity: for me you're either going the whole hog or you shouldn't do it at all," Vickery told Press Association Sport.

"If you're at Wycombe, you should be all-in at Wycombe.

"I know there are issues with that too, but you either decide you're committed fully or it doesn't work.

"If they are going to do it good luck to them and I hope it works out.

"I still think they need to move lock, stock though, for it to be a success.

"I would be very sad to see Wasps leave London though, because I think they are a London club."

Angry Wasps fans have launched an online petition to keep the club in the London area, already garnering more than 1,000 signatures.

The club has remained tight-lipped on the subject, owing to confidentiality agreements.

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Worcester Warriors, who are currently playing in the Greene King IPA Championship after being relegated from the Premiership last year, have also questioned the potential move, aiming to protect their RFU academy catchment boundary that covers the Coventry area.

National League One outfit Coventry Rugby are also sceptical of Wasps' mooted move, with Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints adding to a congested midlands set-up.

Vickery admitted Wasps uprooting and quitting London completely would complicate matters, but he believes the club could work in tandem with Coventry.

Coventry were among England's amateur-era powers but have slipped down the ranks since the turn of professionalism.

World Cup-winning front-rower Vickery believes Wasps could forge a link with Coventry for the two clubs to share players.

"It all becomes very blurred doesn't it?" said Vickery.

"When I first started out Coventry and Moseley and teams like that, they were big games, first team friendlies against clubs with huge heritage.

"What's happened at Coventry is sad to see to be honest.

"So maybe there is some possibility there for the two clubs to work together for both to benefit."

Wasps have spent years trying to find a viable long-term home in the capital without success, and earlier this year dropped 'London' from their official club name.

Vickery has praised the club's new owners for securing financial stability, but believes the next move must be handled carefully.

"Thankfully they are now in safe hands after an uncertain time," said Vickery.

"The name change sows the seed for a move.

"There are a lot of issues with a move like that to Coventry, but they would also compete with plenty of other clubs if they moved back into London.

"I don't think there's a perfect answer.

"The most important thing is Wasps are on the right financial footing to move themselves forward, but they definitely need their own stadium."

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