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Everything posted by LionsDen

  1. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2020

    As someone who was closely involved in the whole project of getting speedway back to Leicester, as both part of Leicester Speedway Ltd's organising committee and also as Secretary of the LSSC at the time, I'm assuming this 'information' has been put forward by Hemsley given that the present regime were not in place back 2011. The statement misses out an awful lot of the background story to the construction of that stand, and crucially, the paying for it. The LSSC raised well over £5k for that concrete terrace, with our people also helping to build it. The back straight was originally going to be a continuation of the earth berm around the bends until we put this proposal forward. The cost of the ironwork, which did indeed cost more than the terrace, was actually funded by the waste tipping but sadly, ended up as a legal battle that caused a lot of misery and discontent for some time afterwards, and remains the reason why Ken and I swore never to set foot in the place again. I honestly don't care enough about Leicester Speedway these days to be bothered about what the stand is called but I must admit, the expediency in that club statement did make me laugh out loud.
  2. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2018

    7 men make up a speedway team and yet just 4 months into the season, that's now 16 names on the Lions team sheet. Even allowing for the unfortunate injuries, that's quite a roll call... Martin Vaculik Josh Bates Danny King Krystian Pieszczek Hans Andersen Kyle Newman James Sarjeant Michael Palm Toft Kenneth Bjerre Todd Kurtz Ricky Wells Charles Wright Scott Nicholls Josh Auty Stuart Robson Connor Mountain A very long time ago (1969) Leicester Lions used the same 7 riders all season. We probably didn't realise it at the time but christ, those were the days. Even the odd change at reserve was greeted with a raised eyebrow and a visit to the track shop proudly showed photos of the riders that you'd be cheering on all season. Given the 'hire em fire em' culture of modern speedway it's easy to see why Matt Ford did away with team kevlars at Poole this season. Suprised any of them bother. The thing that bothers me, especially after reading the comments on the various Leicester Speedway Facebook pages, is that the fans now appear to have adopted the same mercenary standpoint taken by the promoters. It's become the norm and multiple changes are cheered. I think that's sad for speedway. I always used to think, and probably the main reason I became a fan as a young boy, speedway was superior to other motor sports because it somehow managed to embrace the 'team' ethic. You identified with the guys wearing your club's colours at your local track. They may as well just run individual meetings each week for all the value the word 'team' has these days.
  3. LionsDen

    Ila Teromaa Has Passed Away

    Ila was one of my favourite riders when he first broke into the Leicester team and despite what seemed like a transfer request every close season, he was the mainstay during some particularly lean seasons if I recall. That said, both him and the team as a whole improved a lot in 1978…. we even had three Lions in the World Final that year! RIP Ila.
  4. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2017

    Having worked alongside Chris Popple both in the LSSC and as part of the original campaign, I've seen first hand what enthusiasm and energy he brought to the task. Whatever your views on him as a presenter (and one man's meat will always be another man's poison) there's been no denying his passion for Leicester Speedway over the years. Such a shame that certain elements seem incapable of either respect or appreciation. Speedway in the UK depends on goodwill and some promotions and management people would do well to remember that. Anyway, I would like to wish him all the best and hope that he enjoys his speedway down at the IOW, where it has to be said, they know how to look after people a whole lot better than they do at Leicester.
  5. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2017

    I'm hearing a strong rumour about a necessary change of plan at Leicester from that publicly announced earlier this month, largely because of financial reasons. IF what I was told is true (and who knows what is and isn't in this crazy sport anymore?) Mick Horton could walk away from the sorry mess at Brandon, bringing his riders with him, remedy the aforementioned financial issue, and take on the promoting rights here instead. If you take the club loyalty, emotional side of things out of it, it makes perfect sense.... Leicester has a track and no team. Coventry has a team and no track (not with shale on it anyway!). Do the BSPA lose two clubs or save one? Can you imagine? Leicester Bees! A desperate situation all round. Is it too far-fetched?
  6. LionsDen

    Leicester Speedway 2017

    Beaumont Sports Complex Ltd own the lease to the ground that contains the speedway stadium so therefore, it's Mr H as opposed to Mrs H. He is the sole director of BSC Ltd whilst she is is the sole director of Leicester Speedway Ltd, the company that have until now operated the speedway club from the stadium for the past 7 years. LS Ltd have not been offically dissolved as yet and as such create a bit of an anomaly that Companies House presently have TWO different companies operating as 'Leicester Speedway'. No doubt that will resolve itself in due course.
  7. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2017

    I can back you up on this Jonathan. I was on the LSSC committee during your involvement. And I remember the likes of Ken Naylor, Robert Ball, Andy Joyce and myself working extremely hard to get a decent Lions following at the NA that night. It was a cracking meeting, despite the 38-40 loss! ;-) We were thrilled you managed to get the likes of Chris Holder, Lewis Bridger, Kevin Doolan and David Howe to represent the Lions and I remember well the tv news cameras being there. Our LSSC committee held the displays at Radio Leicester, made various media approaches and organised various supporters events such as the Q&As you did at The Blackbird Pub and an xmas party in town. As you know, all of these events supported by yourself, including the aforementioned council meetings, enabled us to eventually put in for the eventual planning application in early 2009. DH never did fully explain to the LSSC committee why your involvement came to an end, other than some vague issue regarding funding part of the application. Whatever it was, that’s between you and him. Planning approval was achieved at a Council meeting in August 2009 and Sam got involved soon after, being presented to the fans at a Supporters Club event in November 2009. Personally I was happy with that because following your departure we’d lacked anyone with any credibility from within the speedway industry itself. Sam had a definitive vision and used to use my city centre office space for various meetings and was working hard behind the scenes to get local business involvement and funding. As the campaign’s chief designer I did numerous presentation documents and materials for his meetings with local business leaders, large companies and various enterprise groups. It should also be pointed out, we had NO money at this point. The money for the planning application had wiped out what budget we had left, and that includes DH. At one point he even wanted to introduce an ill-advised share scheme, that bombed. I remember the LSSC writing him a cheque at this time for over 2k just to cover a legal bill he had. And don’t forget we also raised £5.5k to enable a concrete terrace on the back straight. To support the new initiatives and to make the planning approval a reality a ‘Leicester Speedway Organising Committee’ was set up. The first meeting took place in the summer of 2010 in the dilapidated changing rooms at Beaumont Park. Present were DH, Sam, Alan Jones (who had been brought in by DH to look after the PR), Ken, Andy Joyce and myself. Maybe Linda Jones too, though I can’t recall for certain. However, Sam only attended that first meeting as his fall out with DH came soon after when DH got impatient and moved the goalposts after striking a deal to tip construction waste on site. This wasn’t what Sam had spent all his time working towards and he felt it had been deliberately done behind his back. That tipping deal is what actually funded the ‘stadium’ being built - and is the reason why it was done on the cheap and ended up nothing like the plans we had originally presented to the Council and the public at various open meetings. The promised ‘sports village’ ended up being a red herring and I honestly believe planning would never have been granted had the present set up been put before the City Council. They were expecting much more, a multi-purpose sports village that featured a cycling velodrome, 12x 5-a-side football pitches, BMX and a purpose-built pavilion/grandstand in fact. Once Sam had gone, it soon became apparent that the whole project was fast losing it’s “team” ethos, something which had worked so brilliantly for us during the 4 year campaign. Whilst on the face of it people still ‘volunteered’ for particular tasks, such as checking the lorries doing the tipping all day every day, behind the scenes it rapidly became the DH show with a “my way or no way” attitude, something he quite vociferously enforced. That soon resulted in people such as Ken, who’d spent so many years fighting for this dream to be realised to walk away. He and I ceased our involvement with Leicester Speedway Ltd in February 2011 just prior to the opening meeting, though I carried on as LSSC Chairman for another couple of months to facilitate one or two things we’d had in the pipeline. I haven’t been to BP since 2011. We still follow what goes on up there because like you say in a later post, there’s an emotional attachment, and wish the new people all the best, finally relieved that the person who without question did so much to get it back, but sadly even more to ruin it, is no longer running it. There is a lot of goodwill to repair with the many supporters and sponsors now lost. Effectively they need to start again. Anyway, just thought I’d add this to provide a historical timeline following some earlier posts where the information was a shade cloudy. Steve Chilton
  8. LionsDen

    Speedway Agm

    Just read the statement. Only 19 teams left standing now then. And there are doubts about 3 of those. So we're now down to 10 clubs in the Premier League (sorry, Championship) but up to 9 in Elite League (sorry, Premiership). That number of 9 is presumably to protect the Sky contract should either Leicester or Belle Vue not make it to tapes - a real possibility in both cases. And in the Championship Workington appear to be teetering too. Hardly a total revamp is it? More a case of desperately trying to hang on to what they have left.
  9. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2016

    He's been a disaster from the moment his ego got the better of him, thinking he knew best when he clearly didn't. Leicester Speedway came back because of a massive united effort from many people. He hijacked all that and instead made it all about him. 28 years to get it all back and just 6 years to screw it all up, with many people treated appallingly and many people not caring about speedway in this city anymore, let alone paying to go and watch it. That's his legacy. Good riddance to him. And good luck to whoever attempts to pick up all the broken pieces of the shambolic mess that is Leicester Speedway in it's present state.
  10. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2016

    Spot on. It's his own personal conduct that is the issue here, and what the subsequent charges relate to, not regulations and practices to which he was already abiding as promoter of Leicester Speedway. As an appeal letter I think it's a crock of the brown stuff and the SCB should treat it as such.
  11. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2016

    Yes there were, including young children who heard all the 'industrial' language quite clearly as it wasn't just confined to the inside of the referee's box. To be honest, he'd have a harder job not admitting to the threatening and abusive behaviour! As regards the fine, surely it's as high as it is because there are SEVEN counts he is charged with. Plus the costs. Plus the original unpaid fine at the meeting itself. I'm not totally justifying it because unless you were at the hearing then it's speculation. However, the charge sheet is long and whilst I don't pretend to know the rules regarding this I'm sure they wouldn't have arrived at that figure if it was beyond the limits of what they can sanction. Regardless of that..... what a totally stupid way to conduct yourself in any event, let alone as the promoter of a professional speedway club to appointed meeting officials. It's not unusual though, as a lot of people who have worked with this person will know. When the first recourse to something you're not happy with is to 'lose it' and throw all your dummies out of the pram then at some point, and in one form or another, it will cost you.
  12. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2016

    So much has happened over the years with so many fall-outs with so many different people that my only surprise is that it's taken this long to come to a head. Having heard from witnessess what occurred, and assuming those accounts are accurate, then he only has himself to blame. He was doing a bit more than 'speaking his mind about his own business interest' as R72 put it. These fines wouldn't be imposed if they were not within the rules and you simply can't behave like he has continually done so with various individuals, and not at some point expect to pay the price for it. Being beligerent, confrontational, dictatorial and egotistical rarely ends well. What an absolute mess for Leicester Speedway and it's loyal supporters.
  13. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2016

    So they "got rid" did they… as opposed to her leaving to have a baby as Flagrag stated? Interesting. Anyone else at BP you would like to see gone? First Chris P and now Sarah. Sounds a bit bitchy behind the scenes. Anyway, good to hear all those things are now being addressed... it's only taken 5 years!
  14. A quality statement from a quality sportsman. Like everyone else, I wish you a long and happy retirement from racing David. My favourite memory is British Final night at Wolverhampton in 2007 and the sheer delight you showed in clinching the Cardiff GP wild card. I think everyone in the stadium was delighted for you because, not only did you deserve it on the night, but also because of how much it meant to you.
  15. Avoiding the bigger names and more obvious choices I'm going to nominate an unsung hero in Colin Cook. He typified that Lions team of the early 80s and simply NEVER gave up. Seeing him charge after, and quite often beat, his more illustrious named opponents was a true speedway spectacle. A proper crowd favourite at Blackbird Road.
  16. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2015

    Agreed. It's how it's dressed up though isn't it? It shouldn't cost supporters £2000 to simply rename a stand so as long as it's made clear to donators that only a small percentage is in honour of Denis, and that the larger amount is to help the owner pay for stadium improvments, then that's fine.
  17. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2015

    So who gets the two grand then, assuming it gets raised? If, as you suggest, it's compensation for Jordan Road Surfacing is it them? Doubt it. The LSSC facebook page states that the reason for the cost is "new fittings to the stand Ie., acoustic barriers, speaker system and general upgrading etc". What's that got to do with any naming issue? Everyone can appreciate there's a cost for a plaque or two but surely the whole idea is to honour a fine man who actively carried the torch for a Lions return long before any of the present administration were involved - not raise funds to pay for things that the promotion should be paying for anyway.
  18. I used to attend Blackbird Road, amongst other places, and my recollection is that the old track rakers used to do their bit between the races, not actually hold them up! They'd be out doing the raking whilst riders were getting ready, being pushed off and riding to the start line. As a result, there was definitely a better continuity about speedway meetings back then. That said, there must be a good reason why clubs prefer to use tractors these days so maybe a track man can come on and explain? Shale Searcher makes good points above regarding laydown engines needing slick tracks so maybe it's just that. It's detrimental though because these grading breaks don't go down well with the new, or even casual, spectator. And most especially the younger ones. Committed speedway fans do probably just about accept grading as a necessity - and an opportunity to visit the loo or the bar - but they're not the ones that need converting. When I mentioned this subject in another thread the discussion was about where speedway has gone wrong and why it isn't attracting a larger following these days. Thousands of people came to Leicester in that first year they re-opened and way too many haven't become regulars when the expectation was that they would. One of the most often quoted reasons to me at the time was that they found too much of it a boring night out and not worthy of the money spent. 15 heats, lasting about a minute each, isn't a lot to see and the regular, sometimes quite lengthy spells of tractor grading make meetings drag on and on to the casual observer. They stop the flow of what they've paid money to come and see.
  19. I was involved in the campaign to get Leicester back and went to each meeting that first year. I spoke with many, many visitors at that time who were either returning after 28 years away from the sport or were simply excited about having another Leicester sporting team to follow and keen to see the sport for themselves. Sadly, so many of those tried it once, or even a few times, and then didn't come back. Even though they compare favourably to some tracks, Leicester's crowds aren't anywhere near what was expected in the original business plan. The most common thing I heard from those people was this... it's boring and not worth the money. Leicester is the perfect example of where a stadium (albeit one comprised of two tented stands and numerous portacabins) was put above the track. That was one reason, the racing was rubbish. The other thing that made it boring and was constantly moaned about were the long delays between the action, especially the endless laps by tractors, something experienced virtually everywhere as we all know. People new to the sport, which is what speedway is crying out for just now, need to be convinced by the spectacle in order to consider spending their money on becoming a regular attendee. To see every stoppage accompanied by returns to the pits, referees who don't bother with using 2 minute warnings, lengthy track grades after every 3/4 heats, and so on. It all combines to make meetings drag on forever. Speedway should be fast, exciting and get the adrenaline flowing. It's capable of that but all too often we're stood around getting bored with nothing to watch other than a tractor going round. Throw in the constant team changes that remove any chance of continuity and affinity with your own team, the double points rule, the guest rule, rider replacement and the constant need to cross things out and re-write half your racecard and it all adds up to a product that simply doesn't attract people in the kind of numbers the sport needs to survive financially. Surely it's not that difficult for the custodians of our sport to get right these basics, and think about what kind of product they're trying to sell to the wider public, and most of the above can be done without spending the aforementioned vast sums of money on new stadia. Sadly though, that appears to be exactly the case. I for one get extremely frustrated when I hear certain promoters speak utter nonsense in trying to convince the world at large that everything's great at their particular track. They talk the talk but then sit steadfastly on their backsides whilst the sport declines with each passing year as existing fans reduce in number and promoters do nothing to encourage new ones by making speedway meetings something that people want to buy.
  20. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2015

    And no-one's mentioned track changes yet either! Wait til that kicks in!
  21. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2015

    This is the same council who were on his side big time during the planning process, and since it opened have turned a blind eye to numerous breaches of the conditions that were approved back in 2009. They have also allowed Beaumont Park to become an appalling eyesore construction industry spoil tipping site, to Leicester Speedway's financial gain, and with no sign of the multi-sports complex they bought in to. My understanding is that following numerous complaints from local residents and local businesses, combined with political gesturing within the council itself about how it had been allowed to develop as it has, the relevant officers are now starting to pay attention to what's happened at BP. That's not being 'over zealous' - more a case of finally doing their job and Leicester Speedway have to comply with the same rules and regulations as anyone else. To imply it's been a bit of a nightmare to run hardly sounds like a sales pitch though. Who'd buy it anyway? No speedway track is a sound investment these days is it?
  22. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2015

    Exactly. Shenanigans implies all sorts of ill treatment when the reality is the council simply doing their job, finally, in making sure all planning conditions are fulfilled.
  23. LionsDen

    Leicester Lions 2015

    Interesting comments from the promoter in this week's Speedway Star where he's openly questioning his future. Strangely this is combined with stating how well Leicester Speedway is doing financially and how it's benefited from increased attendances and a much improved quality of racing entertainment (though that last point is the subject of much debate as we all know). He has a dig at his fellow promoters by suggesting they're not as mature as he is. He also bemoans some of the criticism (presumably from fans?) and unnamed colleagues are accused of "turning and twisting" (wonder who he means?). Finally he complains about "local authority shennanigans" after having on previous occasions proclaimed how supportive they've been. The council's job is to make sure everything is above board with planning conditions adhered to and they are his landlord so they are entitled. All sounds rather odd.
  24. Good grief! Is this for real? Be really funny if it wasn't so painfully deluded. The conclusion is you can all stop going on about track changes because they'll never occur if the 'boss' thinks this is the fact of the matter. One can only assume he's either lost the plot if he thinks the speedway on offer at JRSS is "a feast of exciting racing" (even his more vociferous supporters on here don't argue that for goodness sake!) or alternatively, he's just getting increasingly desperate in his attempts to convince everyone they're wrong and he's right - something he's not immune to believing anyway. Whatever, happens, it's his business, his call and therefore his sword to fall on. If you believe he's right you support him (as obviously some do) and if you don't, then you have no choice but to stay away. He wont change.
  25. But you do spectate don't you Tina? It's the spectators who say this - not the riders. The people who pay money to watch speedway racing. Simply dismissing the discussion as 'boring' doesn't alter their opinions, their future non-attendance and subsequently their financial backing of the club. It's a serious subject and when many of your customers aren't happy then any business should pay heed to that. It's common sense. Obviously it doesn't affect me as I don't attend anymore but this is a forum and issues such as the track will continually get debated until the issue is resolved. The only way to make it go away is for something to be done about it. The racing is the thing that's boring - and therein lies the problem.

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