Finish line looming over Berwick’s speedway future

Berwick Bandits v Edinburgh Monarchs at Shielfield Park (live on sky)'heat 9'Heat nine rerun after 'unsatisfactory start'
Berwick Bandits v Edinburgh Monarchs at Shielfield Park (live on sky)'heat 9'Heat nine rerun after 'unsatisfactory start'

The future of speedway at Berwick hangs in the balance as a search for new investment or a potential buyer gets under way, writes Sandy Brydon.

A statement issued by John Anderson on behalf of his fellow directors said that closure was a “serious and very final option” if they don’t find new investment or a viable purchaser before October.

Anderson said: “Speedway has been an integral part of the fabric of life in and around Berwick for nearly 50 years, and we want this to continue – but it might be time for fresh attitudes, people with newer, younger ideas to take over the task and help us share a burden which has become very heavy to carry.

“I don’t want to be thought of as scaremongering – this isn’t us saying that we are closing down, we’re not.

“Myself, my son Ryan, George Hepburn and George Fairgrieve are the shareholders, the ones who have to ensure the club comes up with the money each week and we are proud to say we have always paid our riders, and our bills, right on the nail.

“It isn’t just the financial burdens we are carrying, heavy though these are, it is a terrible strain on our mental and physical health, and when that begins to take its toll it has to be time to take a step back.”

Anderson went on to explore the options.

“We would welcome investment from interested parties who might want to take on a part of our shareholding and in time, perhaps, taking more and more control,” he added.

“Alternatively, we would be prepared to sell the company outright to a new custodian who we feel could be trusted to serve the Bandits and their fans in the way of our honoured predecessors. If a total sale was to happen, this would have to be decided well in advance of the BSPA’s AGM in mid-October.”

A third option was also put on the table although it is one Anderson said he was loathe to take.

“We could close the doors at the end of the season and cash in,” he stated.

“But this is the last thing we want to do, despite the obvious financial advantage.

“We really want new partners to join us to take the club forward, or we want to sell it on as a going concern to a suitable buyer. We are saying this now, at the end of July, to allow any interested parties to make contact.

“But we have to make clear that if we don’t find new investment, or a viable purchaser before October, then the dreadful alternative of closure has to be contemplated as a serious and very final option.”