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The continuing decline of Speedway

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, BluPanther said:

Berry was always banging on about football getting more coverage that speedway. However, it was somewhat misguided to compare a national sport that anyone could play to a motor sport that required considerable investment just to 'have a go' ...

...yes and in the sam article he goes on to say

"...Then take into account just how the media brainwashes people about football. Wherever you look it is your face.The media wants football to be successful because it sells newspapers and/or Pay TV subscriptions (let alone the advertising revenue it generates), so it is in the Media's interest to constantly ram it down people's throats"

He also goes on about cricket coverage (a sport he admired) but that's another story...

I admired John Berry and he was a great lose to the sport in my opinion.

Edited by steve roberts

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It seems that when the sport of speedway throws up more than competent people within it, who can carry it forward, they are always lost to it. Or sometimes driven out or forced out leaving staid administrators who like the idea that it's alright as it is. Tinkering every year with how it's run but with no thought that re-structuring is required. Yes I know they are the money men but their dollop of dosh coming in from speedway has evaporated and for most of them it must now be a drain on their resources.

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4 hours ago, mikebv said:

And you had true team sport rivalry when Wolves came to the Aces and vice versa..

Proper 'your team' v 'their team' rivalry..

We were Moran(s), Screen, Ott, Lyons, Schott etc etc

They were Ermolenko(s), Correy, Jones, Karlsson(s) etc etc..

Teams who were easily identifiable and synonymous by their riders..

Riders who were easily identifiable and synonymous by their teams..

Oxford were Nielsen, Wigg, Cox etc. Cov were Tatum, Knudsen, Miller etc. Cradley were Hancock, Hamill, Cross etc etc etc..

All ran on a Friday at BV, a good night to attract a crowd, (and maybe most importantly if you want 'atmosphere', away fans too)..

And ran 9 times out of 10 with the riders who should have been there actually turning up..

No changing around year on year the core of each team to appease the weakest links..

No riders missing due to having to attend the 'Azerbaijan Open'...

And, no cobbled together "Roll up, Roll up, For One Night Only Folks!" random septet of ringers..

Just 'your team' v 'their team'..

And do you know what? In the main. It seemed to work quite well too..

Who'd have thought that?

Amazing! :rolleyes:

 

As Danny Dyer said about Brexit... British Speedway is a riddle right now. As with Brexit when David Cameron leapt off into the night, it appears speedway's leading promoter Matt Ford is about to be similarly energised. Poole has been the best-run club for years. I am concerned about this one.

I agree with mikebv.

 

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14 hours ago, steve roberts said:

...just reading an article in 'Backtrack' whereby the late John Berry made a reference to this very topic and football in particular.

"...consider the standard of comfort and amenity now provided since Hillsborough and other disasters. And before you start asking why speedway doesn't do the same thing, ask yourself if the various levels of government are prepared to throw the same amount of money at other professional sports as they have done to football in the form of grants, subsidies, peppercorn rents, free or subsidised crowd control and the like"

That's a bit of a red herring. Most grants given to football clubs for stadium improvements comes from Football Association grants and often the club has to own their own ground to receive the maximum grants . This would be like whoever runs speedway handing out grants to speedway clubs for stadium improvements. Also football clubs have to pay for crowd control and that's why they use stewards who are much cheaper than the police.

Another point is that most subsidies that football clubs receive other than for ground improvements is because they are putting something back into the community by running after school course for kids etc and walking football for the over 60s and numerous other activities that help the local community and  that's why every professional football club has a community officer and a team to put on these activities.

Football is also a massive industry which pays £millions in taxes to the government each year unlike speedway.

 

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being the best run club is irrelevant really - many of their decisions and actions were detrimental to the league - we need the best run league not club, set up to accommodate ALL clubs at an appropriate level.

IMO this is an opening salvo to ensure he gets whats best for Poole, which is understandable, but a wider view needed.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ch958 said:

being the best run club is irrelevant really - many of their decisions and actions were detrimental to the league - we need the best run league not club, set up to accommodate ALL clubs at an appropriate level.

IMO this is an opening salvo to ensure he gets whats best for Poole, which is understandable, but a wider view needed.

Every club wants what's best for them. The BSPA should really be separate from each club. Speedway needs a body to run it with a firm grip and without any one individual with a stake in any one club, for the best interests of the sport. What is the point in having a super strong team if the weakest loses support and then closes? Now it seems the poor Poole fans are unhappy because they are now having a mediocre season. Bet the crowds have dropped too. But they didn't worry when the weak were struggling. Back in 1987 and 1988, I recall Coventry even threatening to pull-out because they were forced to lose one or two of their riders from their rip-roaring title-winning seasons. Threats like that really do not help. It's petulant and should be met with a fine. Promoters forever bleating about poor support and facing closure doesn't add to fans' confidence either. I remember John Perrin always saying Belle Vue's future was in doubt if crowds didn't improve, or his rows with the greyhound owners met a fragile point. I worried at first but then it happened so much, I wasn't really bothered in the end. What good does it do other than to suggest to the few remaining diehards who bother to listen, that either to bring a friend or your admission are going up next year? They may start even thinking of finding something else to do, promoters always crying wolf. It is no good and straight away must put sponsors off, the media. If Coventry can go, Wimbledon and Oxford too, all regarded as established clubs, then the sport really is built on sand. As a supporter, I really started to believe that it was a bit pointless ploughing all your sweat and passion into a team if it wasn't going to exist the next week or month. Just ask a Rye House fan right now. I ask sometimes why someone risks buying a season ticket in today's speedway world.

Edited by moxey63
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14 hours ago, steve roberts said:

...I think that John Berry's article intimated that there wasn't/isn't a level playing field when it came to facilities and/or amenities and that football, in particular, gained far more favourable incentives to unable the sport to upgrade. Speedway, generally, has had to rely on self funding and initiatives in which to develop facilities without little help, financially, from governments local or national.

But did he understand why football clubs get those 'favourable incentives'?

Football clubs in England receive grants for stadium improvements most often from the Football Association which is the governing body for the sport in this country. They also can receive funding locally and through lottery grants and there is no reason why any speedway club couldn't apply for a grant either as long as they can show that they are contributing something to the local community through schemes for children, youth, disabled groups etc.

Having been involved in a football club that received grants i can assure anyone that football clubs do not receive money for nothing. They have to prove that they are contributing something to the community through various initiatives and there is a long process involved in gaining any grant. People who think that money is just thrown at football clubs have no idea of the work actually involved i getting that money.

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Posted (edited)

I personally don't concern my self with what grants football gets. Come on, face it, would you... if you held the power... want to give a sport like speedway a big grant? The SKY Sport cash was used to help pay for riders, a money burning a hole in your pocket scenario, there's more where that came from. I also think, as with engine tuners, a lot of the SKY cash probably went out of the sport. But almost 20 years at a million a year. As the famous Ian Dury song went, What A Waste.  

Edited by moxey63

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That is why it is ridiculous to try and compare the two sports.Football can offer the community far more and has a higher standing on the community because of that.John Berry is off the mark with brain washing etc

Speedway along the way lost its position and speedway is alone to blame for that.You used to get elite people attending and presenting trophies because of speedways standing.The media were interested and a few films featured the sport.

It just isn’t possible today for youngsters to turn up at a track and have a go.Football clubs can offer girls,boys,there is even blind football teams all weather facilities......

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Posted (edited)

Here's a story, I read back in 1978. Belle Vue's local radio station at the time, Piccadilly Radio, wanted to cover the world final live from Wembley. The BSPA at the time wanted a certain figure, which the station refused point blank, as they said it was 500% more than they had ever paid... even for the FA Cup Final. The station must have been relieved somewhat.... as weeks later, local riders Peter Collins bowed out at the British Final (sugar in the tank) and Chris Morton only made it as a reserve for the big night and wasn't called upon.

Edited by moxey63

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3 minutes ago, moxey63 said:

Here's a story, I read back in 1978. Belle Vue's local radio station at the time, Piccadilly Radio, wanted to cover the world final live from Wembley. The BSPA at the time wanted a certain figure, which the station refused point blank, as they said it was 500% more than they had ever paid... even for the FA Cup Final. The station must have been relieved somewhat.... as weeks later, Peter Collins bowed out at the British Final (sugar in the tank) and Chris Morton was only a reserve for the big night.

I remember 1978 Brit Final well. I took my Mum and Dad to Coventry. They were avid speedway fans through the 50'2 and early60's, and knew the Collins and Morton family as we were from the same village. A sad day indeed.

Just think Collins could have been world champ 1975 except for the over watering by a fan a Wembley, 1977 if he hadn't smashed his leg at BV the week before the world final, and possibly 1978 if not for the sugar. That could possibly have been 4 world champions in a row for him. If only....

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Just now, OveFundinFan said:

I remember 1978 Brit Final well. I took my Mum and Dad to Coventry. They were avid speedway fans through the 50'2 and early60's, and knew the Collins and Morton family as we were from the same village. A sad day indeed.

Just think Collins could have been world champ 1975 except for the over watering by a fan a Wembley, 1977 if he hadn't smashed his leg at BV the week before the world final, and possibly 1978 if not for the sugar. That could possibly have been 4 world champions in a row for him. If only....

Good memories. I too feel PC could have been WC many times in succession. The times you mentioned are well documented, but in 1979, a week before the WF in Poland, he smashed Eric Boocock's five-year-old track record twice at Halifax in the Golden Helmet, and immediately put that bike away for the Final. However, warming it up before the big meeting in Poland, it blew up. I was at Halifax, and he really did fly in the GH against Ian Cartwright. I remember the 1977 grid incident at Belle Vue too, was there and watched him hobble on the centre green after clashing with it, six days before Gothenberg.

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21 hours ago, steve roberts said:

...the fact that speedway no longer exists in London is a major killer blow in my opinion.

Didn't Hackney have a purpose built stadium in the 90's. That team went belly up, how many do Lakeside get now on a favoured Friday night ?. This idea that there is a huge market of speedway fans in London is a fallacy 

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Workington fractured fixture list goes from bad to worse, the BSPA management committee need to be strong in their decision making regarding clubs priorities.

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44 minutes ago, New Science said:

Didn't Hackney have a purpose built stadium in the 90's. That team went belly up, how many do Lakeside get now on a favoured Friday night ?. This idea that there is a huge market of speedway fans in London is a fallacy 

No they didn't. Hackney stopped riding at The Wick in 1990 and the refurbished stadium hosted the London Lions for a season. 

Speedway history[edit]

Hackney Wick Wolves speedway team raced there before World War II . The Hackney Hawks speedway team rode at the venue from 1963 to 1983. Hackney Kestrels speedway team rode here from 1984 until 1990. In 1996, a speedway team under the name of London Lions rode but it was found to be financially unviable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackney_Wick_Stadium

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