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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Workington Comets fans’ messages pivotal in Max’s decision to stay

FAN power has ensured that one of Workington’s most permanent speedway fixtures stays on at Derwent Park.

Michael Max, the voice of the Comets, announced last week that he was quitting his post as announcer.

But he has made a sensational U-turn after an outpouring of love from the Workington faithful.

He received countless messages from fans begging him to reconsider.

Max, 45, revealed this week that those kind words were enough to make him rethink for now.

He has been announcing at the club since 2006, but chose to call time on his career after Glasgow, where he has commentated for 18 years, failed to offer him a position for the new season.

Max, who makes a 270-mile round trip to Workington from his Scottish home for Comets’ fixtures, will be present for the clash with Redcar on April 6, and throughout June and July.

“I will see how it goes,” he said. “Glasgow are my first love, but things have changed.

“The new Glasgow promotion didn’t have a spot for me.

“I thought it was time to take a break, but I was inundated with messages of support.

“I felt wanted by the Workington fans. To get that reaction was very humbling.

“Maybe the driving will get to me and I decide to go after July, but I gave Laura Morgan the offer I would do the duties until then.”

Max, who was given his role under previous owner Tony Mole, has another job with Scottish First Division football club Partick Thistle.

His love affair with Comets began in 2006 when he was offered a full-time position as club announcer.

He took a break in 2007, before picking up the mic again 12 months later after Keith Denham became owner.

It is not just his style but his encyclopedic knowledge of the complicated speedway rule book, something he takes from his time as Glasgow team manager, that endears him to fans.

He often pulls referees up on mistakes they have made during meetings.

But above all, it is the special Derwent Park atmosphere that makes Workington stand out for Max.

He said: “There is always a freshness about Workington and of course they had bigger crowds in the early days, but there is always a really good atmosphere which is important.

“I have always got on with all the promoters. That relationship has meant I have been given a free hand to do what I do and the fans seem to enjoy it.

“I have always felt comfortable here.

“The atmosphere is always special, which you don’t get anywhere else.

“It gives you that extra buzz and the new promotion this year have got some smashing ideas.”

Max has enjoyed his time presenting at Derwent Park.

The night Workington won a seven-man trophy for the first time, as Comets clinched the Young Shield in 2008 was a particular favourite.

The Premier League Fours triumph in 2006 when Alan Mogridge won a final-race decider to clinch the trophy also sticks out.

Max added: “Those are the meetings that stand out, but I loved it when Ian Thomas used to bring out magicians between races.

“That brought something extra which we do miss.”

l Ast Signs are the latest firm to pledge their support to Comets.

A deal, which sees the firm’s logo and name appear on the 2013 race bibs and teamwear alongside Thomas Armstrong and J Edgar & Son, was announced yesterday.

Steve Whitehead, co-promoter, said: “This is a huge deal for us.”

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