London Welsh to ditch Old Deer Park
November 4, 2013
Farewell to the Old Deer © Getty Images
As feared by many club stalwarts, London Welsh will turn their back on Old Deer Park base in Richmond, their home since 1957, and move to Oxfordshire.
The Rugby Paper reported at the weekend that the first stage in the process had already taken place with the relocation of the club offices to Oxford.
The club moved to Oxford's Kassam Stadium last season when they were in the Premiership and they remained despite their relegation back to the Championship. Crowds this season have been poor, averaging around 1000, but the club is determined to make the move permanent.
"We're disappointed with those crowds, but we have got to be proactive and although it might not be palatable for some London Welsh supporters, it would be naive to leave the Kassam and move back to London," commercial director David Jenkins told the Rugby Paper. "You can't build a support base overnight, but it doesn't help if you're trying to run your community programmes from London.
"We want to interact with the universities, local clubs and businesses and we'll be doing that from Oxford in future. We want to show the people of Oxfordshire how good Championship rugby is, then get back into the Premiership and move the team lock, stock and barrel.
"Then we can develop an academy and really begin to build something sustainable."
Jenkins said that even if the side did not bounce straight back into the top flight, the move would still happen.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown