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FOLLOWING a meeting at the SCB on Tuesday (January 9), Coventry’s participation in the 2018 National League was ratified.
Home matches are to take place at Leicester’s Beaumont Park, which is described as a ‘temporary’ home whilst efforts continue to bring the club back to its rightful venue.
Members of the Campaign Group then held a meeting with promoter Mick Horton in order to clarify the aspirations of both parties going forward.
We have always been clear throughout the Campaign process that our intention is not to go back over old ground, and that our complete focus is on fighting the proposals to redevelop the stadium with the objective of facilitating a return to Coventry.
Notwithstanding the disputes which eventually put paid to the 2017 season – when the stadium owners eventually elected to take their own course of action – it must be stressed that the reason why Coventry are unable to race at Brandon in 2018 is not down to Mick Horton. That is entirely a matter for Brandon Estates and John Downer.
We needed to be satisfied that the National League venture at Leicester is not being supported financially by Brandon Estates. We have been given a categorical assurance by Mick Horton that there is no financial input from the developers.
That being the case, we are satisfied that having a Bees team racing 30 miles away is unlikely to have a detrimental effect on efforts to restore speedway and stock car racing to Coventry.
The move to Leicester is a personal/business gamble being taken by Mick Horton and at this stage nobody can be certain of whether or not it will prove to be a success.
We know there are obvious reasons why some supporters will choose not to attend – including the practicalities of travel, and the fact that they will race in the lowest tier – but by the same token, it must be accepted that there are also supporters who simply wish to see a Coventry team on track, and this move provides them with that option when there is no available venue locally.
The worst thing that can happen at this point is for the fan-base to be split by arguments amongst themselves over whether they should be attending, or personal attacks on those involved. We are unified by our desire to get back to Coventry as soon as possible, and in the meantime people should be free to make their own choice without receiving criticism from within.
The activities of the Campaign Group and the speedway promotion are separate, but we are not working against each other. We fully accept that to get speedway and stock car racing back is going to require co-operation from all parties.
For the Campaign Group it is most important to maintain the momentum which was built up during 2017, where there is huge opposition to the proposed redevelopment.
Whilst the developers maintain a wall of silence – their Autumn planning application has yet to materialise, as has any response to the public exhibition feedback, which was promised to all who replied – the stadium itself continues to fall into disrepair.
Events since the turn of the New Year have been particularly upsetting, and all of the questions at this stage should be directed at John Downer, Brandon Estates and Howell & Co Solicitors (James Crocker).
WHY have they continually failed with their security measures when the previous owners managed to maintain a safe environment for all over many years? WHY have they allowed the stadium to continually deteriorate in comparison to its ‘tidy’ state of December 2016? WHY have they allowed local residents to be put at risk due to the criminal activities over recent days? WHY has it been left to the vigilance of locals and the intervention of the Leader of the Council to protect the site from even more damage? WHAT are they actually doing now to ensure that whilst the latest set of travellers have now left, more do not follow shortly after?
We know that having a Coventry team racing in the National League away from Coventry will not be to everyone’s taste, and we also know this in no way helps the stock car fraternity who have similarly lost their sport. But please don’t use that as a stick to beat the riders who will be representing the club and doing their best to progress in the sport.
The decision to race at Leicester does not alter or affect in any way the focus or aspirations of the Campaign Group, and we wish the team well for the season ahead.
Finally, despite the shocking state of the stadium, please do not write off a return to Brandon in the future – we believe it still offers the best chance of both sports returning to the area. We will communicate further Campaign updates in due course.