The “raw emotions” of the crisis at Wasps could be seen in the tears of their players when they were told of mass layoffs at the club, says the administrator who broke the news.
Administrator Andrew Sheridan said it was “pretty difficult” news to deliver.
“There were a lot of tears. A lot of men – international rugby players – cried,” Sheridan said.
“What struck me was that it’s such a close-knit family – it was like losing a family member. You could see the emotion.”
Sheridan, a partner at specialist business advisory firm FRP, said they were “hopeful and confident” to quickly come up with a potential interested party who could get the club out of administration.
“Where it goes from here is hard to say,” he said. BBC 5 Live’s weekly Rugby Union podcast.
Sheridan also confirmed that they are considering the possibility of avoiding relegation on appeal as they seek to prove the insolvency event was beyond the club’s control.
“We have already received the necessary criteria and forms sent by the legal officer of RFU,” he said.
“It’s quite a process and something we’re going to consider applying for.”
While the club – both their rugby and netball teams – exploring how they could get out of administration, players and staff have been left with no income.
The disappearance of the Wasps and the massive offloading of players follows the fall of Worcester Warriors, their Premiership rivals from across the Midlands who entered administration just 21 days earlier.
“The hardest day I’ve had in sport”
Wasps number eight Alfie Barbeary said “it’s a bit of a scary time” as he searches for a new place to play – and tries to figure out how to pay the bills.
“Yesterday was very strange and probably the hardest day I’ve had in sport,” the 22-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Obviously there’s Worcester, the market is very liquid, full of players at the moment, so there will be a lot of boys who will struggle to find new clubs.
“It’s going to be a tough time for rugby.”
Wasps lock Elliott Stooke said the club’s collapse had been “brutal” and admits he has “not a clue what to do now”.
While the 29-year-old has asked his agent to try and find him a new club, the former Bath and Gloucester man knows opportunities will be limited.
“It was a difficult and dark day,” he said. BBC CWR. “I wouldn’t know how to get a job in the real world.
“Luckily I have people looking after me and looking for a job for me. But it’s been my day job for 10 or 11 years, it’s completely heartbreaking.
“The players, the backroom staff, the equipment man, the chef, the cleaners, the physio, all those people that make up a great team, they’re all out of work right now and that’s is absolutely devastating.”
‘There are no more Wasps‘ – ex-owner Wright
Wasps’ most successful former owner is music mogul Chris Wright, who at 78 is still the club’s honorary lifetime chairman.
Under his leadership, from 1996 to 2008, Wasps won 11 trophies in 11 seasons, including their two European Cups, in 2004 and 2007, and their four Premiership titles – in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008.
Wright told the BBC Sports Desk podcast: “It’s incredibly sad that so many people have been made redundant.
“I’m really, really sorry for everyone there. I’m also sorry for all the fans over the years, some I’ve partied with in the Twickenham car parks when we won European Cups. Europe and Premiership titles.
“I know how much they love the club. I know the tradition and all the former players go back even to the amateur era.
“It’s the whole family – and it’s a family that passed away. And there’s a good chance we’ll never see her again because when she leaves, she loses her ‘P share’, her right to participate in the top table of rugby. It’s never going to be the same.
“There may be amateur Wasps playing in a very minor league, but that’s over.
“It’s the life, the passion and the tradition of so many people who have gone, including myself. We always used to say, once a wasp, always a wasp.
“There are no more Wasps. It’s terrible.”
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