Desperate bid to help save Workington Comets speedway
Last updated at 12:54, Friday, 21 September 2012
A rallying cry has been made for West Cumbrian people to help save Workington Comets speedway team.
The call was sparked after team owner Keith Denham revealed that he was considering pulling the plug because of financial losses.
Fewer than 500 supporters turned up to last Saturday’s meeting against Glasgow.
But around 20 fans with posters descended on the team’s Derwent Park home yesterday to encourage others to attend the next race meeting tomorrow.
Mr Denham said this week that he could not continue carrying the team and losing money.
He investigated pulling out immediately, but after talks with Alex Harkness, chairman of British Speedway Promoters’ Association, he has decided to carry on until the end of the season. He would incur a hefty fine if fixtures were unfulfilled.
Mr Denham said: “This is a chance for people to vote with their feet and to help the club.
“The supporters who come week in, week out are fantastic and they have kept me going – but it is just impossible to run it with no one coming through the doors.”
He pledged to continue until the end of the season, but added: “I want to make it perfectly clear to past and present fans that if they want speedway at Derwent Park they need to come and support the team.
“If I go and nobody comes to take over the club then we will not have speedway in Workington again so something will have to happen.”
He said that if 1,000 people attended tomorrow’s meeting against Leicester, he would give every person a £5 refund on their £15 admission afterwards.
Workington Speedway Supporters Club has launched a Save Our Speedway campaign, calling on fans to cheer on the team tomorrow.
It is hoped that the support shown in the final weeks of the season will convince Mr Denham that speedway is worth saving.
Mr Denham blames dwindling spectator numbers on the recession, rain-offs and riders’ injuries.
He said he needed attendances of between 700 and 750 each week to break even. When the crowd number dropped below that, he lost £3,000 of his own money.
George Sermon, supporters’ club chairman, said: “This is devastating news. Be it the current financial climate, atrocious weather, injuries or just plain apathy, we have got to the point where we are in danger of losing our sport for good.
“We appeal to all Comets supporters past and present to get down to Derwent Park tomorrow and for the remaining home meetings to support the club and save our speedway.”
Julie Davidson, 40, of Nilsson Drive, Workington, said: “We need to show to Keith the support is there this season and for speedway to continue.
“It is a great family night out and there are not many other places you can take your kids out on a Saturday night.”
Jerry Irving, 52, of Chapel Brow, Bridgefoot, said: “I am so pleased we have been given a lifeline until the end of the season and we need to take this opportunity with both hands.”
Neil Armstrong, 47, of Ling Beck Park, Seaton, said: “The fans have got to prove they want speedway in the town.
“I have been going for 42 years and have seen it fold and come back but if it goes this time I don’t think it will ever come back.”
First published at 11:51, Friday, 21 September 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
I would go butNo 1) I can think of several ways Â£15 (or Â£10 with the rebate) could be better spent in the current economic climate and No 2) it's no too warm on those terraces at t his time of year andNo 3) It's a bit dear anyway at Â£15 andNo 4) I've no real interest in speedway. Sorry.
Maybe a different night to Saturday cos people go out on a Saturday so maybe even Fri would be better
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