Wasps are an English professional rugby union team. The men's first team, which forms Wasps, was derived from Wasps Football Club who were formed in 1867 at the now defunct Eton and Middlesex Tavern in North London, Wasps play at the Ricoh Arena, which is located in Coventry.
Wasps has won at least one of each of the major European competitions or knock-out tournaments in the past decade. The team compete in the English Premiership, the Anglo-Welsh Cup and, depending on their results in the prior season, the European Rugby Champions Cup or European Rugby Challenge Cup (they are competing in the Champions Cup in the current 2015–16 season).
Wasps RUFC was originally formed in 1867 at Eton and Middlesex Tavern in North London, before the advent of the Rugby Football Union as an administrative body. The Club gained its name largely due to the fashion of the Victorian period when clubs tended to adopt the names of insects, birds and animals. The name in itself has no particular significance other than this vogue. Presiding over the club in its embryonic stages was Mr James Pain, who was elected as First President. Mr Pain was still at the helm when the Rugby Football Union was formed on 26th January 1871.
As a reasonably well-established Club, Wasps were invited to join the Union and, therefore, were eligible to be founding members. And so they would have been had it not been for a calamitous mix-up that led to them not being present at the inauguration ceremony. In true rugby fashion, the team turned up at the wrong pub, on the wrong day, at the wrong time and so forfeited their right to be called founding members.
The Club's first home was in Finchley Road, North London although subsequent years saw grounds being rented in various parts of London. In 1923 Wasps moved to their previous home of Sudbury, eventually buying the ground outright. Although the team currently grace the Adams Park Stadium, High Wycombe, on home matchdays, the Sudbury clubhouse still exists and Sudbury is still considered the Club's spiritual home by diehard fans.
Prior to the Second World War the Club thrived enjoying perhaps its finest season in 1930/31 when the team was captained by Ronnie Swyer. The season saw Wasps unbeaten, notching up 530 points in the process and conceding only 76.
This particular team was noted for having amongst its ranks perhaps the most-famous of all Wasps players, Neville Compton.
Neville joined Wasps in 1925, going on to captain the side for eight years between 1939 and 1947 and became the first Wasps player to represent the Club at Barbarian level.
Unfortunately Neville was not destined to be the first Wasps player to gain an international cap in the post-war era, this particular accolade going to Pat Sykes, capped by England against France in Paris on the 29th March 1948.
However, Neville Compton continued to work tirelessly for Wasps, replacing his father as Fixture Secretary in 1959 and becoming President of the Club between 1970 and 1973.
Neville finally retired in 1988 and sadly for the Club and Rugby Union in general, he passed away the following year.
The 1990s had been a phenomenal period for Wasps and Rugby Union in general. The dawning of the professional era had seen Wasps assemble one of the most powerful playing squads in the country. The diversity of the team was demonstrated in 1993 when Wasps added the Middlesex Sevens title to their Honours list.
The modern day Wasps team is a formidable combination of talented youngsters and experienced internationals. Under the leadership of England and British Lion, Lawrence Dallaglio, the squad triumphed over the challenges of the new professional era. The 96/97 campaign was perhaps the highlight of Wasps long and distinguished history with a series of electrifying performances clinching the first professional League Championship.
The next season saw a Tetley's Bitter Cup Final appearance and in 1999 Wasps went one better to win the Cup for the first time in their history to prove once again that the Black and Golds fully deserved their place amongst the élite clubs in England.
This feat was repeated in 2000, when Wasps returned to Twickenham to retain the Tetley Bitter Cup, beating Northampton in front of their delighted fans. Mark Weedon lifted the trophy that day in the absence of Dallaglio while Andy Reid (Scotland), was another Wasps that became an international while playing for the club.
2014: Wasps completed the full purchase of the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Wasps, were traditionally a London team but have played at Adams Park in High Wycombe for the past 12 years, the move had previously been approved by the Professional Game Board.
In October, the Premiership team bought Coventry City Council's 50% stake in the stadium, and then acquired the remaining shareholding from the Alan Edward Higgs Charity.
Coventry City continued to play in the stadium after Wasps made the move from their former home at Adams Park in High Wycombe, 82 miles south of the Ricoh.
The North Stand of the arena will be renamed The Higgs Charity Stand, with Wasps saying that 50p from every ticket sold in the stand will go to the charity, which offers grants to communities around the city.