On Thursday representatives of the Sky Blue Trust held highly productive, open and informative talks with Nick Eastwood, the Chief Executive of Wasps. Wasps are now owners of 50% of Ricoh leaseholders ACL and hope to shortly complete a deal for the remaining shares currently owned by the Alan Edward Higgs charity. A wide range of topics were discussed, the Trust listened to the plans for the Arena and ACL’s prospective relationships with CCFC and CRFC with interest and quizzed him about some of the issues that our members had highlighted as concerns. Nick pointed out that they had already begun talks with both clubs and wanted to build good, long term and mutually beneficial relationships with both. He said they hoped to have CCFC at the Ricoh on a long term basis and well beyond the current 2+2 year deal that was currently in place and would be honoured. He said he viewed their prospective relationship more as a partnership rather than simply landlord and tenant, a successful Sky Blues was as important to them as to all of us.
When asked about the pitch Nick said that they expected there to be no problems with the playing surface as it was always designed for multi-purpose use and with the football club having primacy the football would take place before the rugby, with CCFC playing on Saturdays and Wasps the following day. In the unlikely event that it should prove to be problematic and if there was a commitment from the football club that they were staying long term then ACL would look at the feasibility of a new playing surface. On the subject of the seats staying Sky Blue he said there were no plans to change this. They wanted this to remain the home of the football club, notwithstanding the estimated cost of replacing the seats would be in the region of £500k, money that could be invested much more usefully elsewhere at the Ricoh.
Nick stated several times that he and ACL wished to work with CCFC and the fans to improve the match day experience and was more than happy to work with the Trust on this. Overall it was a very encouraging meeting and hopefully CCFC can form a good working relationship with the new owners of ACL and ensure a bright, successful, long term future for the Sky Blues at the Ricoh Arena.