Anderson set for return to Shielfield

02/12/10, TSPL, Scotsman,  Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards 2010, Mansfield Traquair, Edinburgh. Winner of the Sport category, Chris Paterson receives his award from Top Scot winner Mark Beaumont. Pic Ian Rutherford

02/12/10, TSPL, Scotsman, Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards 2010, Mansfield Traquair, Edinburgh. Winner of the Sport category, Chris Paterson receives his award from Top Scot winner Mark Beaumont. Pic Ian Rutherford

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BERWICK speedway boss John Anderson, who suffered a heart attack in September and has since undergone a cardiac double bypass operation, is set to attend the Bandits’ Supporters Club’s Christmas Disco next weekend – his first outing on speedway business since his bout of poor health, writes Lawrence Heppell.

Anderson will address the party-goers – but will make it clear he is not going to be playing Santa Claus, even if the assembled fans have been properly nice and not naughty in any way.

“I am obviously keeping a close eye on the club’s plans for 2011, and both co-owner George Hepburn and team manager Ian Rae are keeping me very well informed on team-building plans,” he said from his North Berwick home earlier this week.

“What I do have to emphasise is that, while some other outfits in the Premier League seem hell-bent on self-destruction if the financial inducements to riders I hear being bandied about are to be believed, here at Berwick we have a budget on which to base our rider-recruitment – and we will not break that budget if there is a risk of by doing so we might be breaking the club!

“Speedway has been a Saturday-night staple in Berwick for more than 40 years – and we are laying solid foundations to keep it here for at least 40 more.

“We have our targets, we have identified the riders we want – and as always, the emphasis will be on Saturday-night entertainment, every bit as much as winning every single match out of sight.

“If there are two riders of equal scoring potential available, we are committed to always sign the wilder one, the crazy, never-say-die, fence-bouncing crowd pleaser – even if he might crash out a few times trying to win instead of just opting for safe second places.”

Anderson will be making “at least a couple” of signing announcements at the Saturday party, names to join the already-declared Jozef “Pepe” Franc and Lee Complin as 2011 Bandits.

The names of Swedish rider Magnus Karlsson and popular Pole Marcin Rempala will not, however, be included, as Rempala is contracted to a club in his homeland for 2011 (and cannot therefore race at Premier League level in this country) and Karlsson – who had earlier expressed a desire to become a Bandit – cannot find suitable airline connections to take him to and from Sweden each week to honour any commitment to a Saturday-night operation such as the Bandits.