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Middleditch is loving life as team boss at Poole
AFTER spending much of his life in the fast lane, Neil Middleditch could have been forgiven for planning to take life with Pirates a little more slowly. Not a chance.
Raised with speedway very much in the genes, the son of Poole legend Ken went from the stands to the shale to enjoy a distinguished racing career of his own.
And once team management beckoned for Middleditch junior, the rest soon became history. Fifteen seasons and 13 trophies, his CV is now the envy of his many adversaries.
The Sturminster Marshall man has also enjoyed two spells in charge of Team Great Britain, a post he recently opted to relinquish.
But as he prepares to plot Pirates’ Elite League title defence next year and with his 57th birthday approaching in January, there is no sense Middleditch’s club work is done. Far from it, in fact.
“Oh no, I couldn’t just watch from the stands when I have been involved with it all my life,”
admitted Middleditch, in an interview with the Daily Echo.
“From a babe in arms, I have gone through the full spectrum from supporter to rider to manager.
“I fully enjoy being a team manager and have had both good times and bad times. Fortunately, we have had plenty of good times at Poole Speedway in the past few years.”
A quick glance at Pirates’ treasure chest shows that statement to be a masterpiece in the art of understatement. Poole have enjoyed history-making, great times.
Having ridden for the club from 1974 to 1984, former British under-21 champion Middleditch had a testimonial year in 1984 before retiring two years later.
Later tempted into management by then new promoter Matt Ford, Middleditch has reinvented himself as the most successful team boss of the current era.
In his 15 campaigns steering the Pirates ship, Middlo’s men have amassed five Elite League championships, three Knockout Cup wins, a hat-trick of Craven Shield successes, one Elite Shield and one British League Cup triumph.
And while the old sporting cliché suggests winning is a habit, it seems to be one which is nigh on impossible to kick.
“I think that as long as Matt Ford is at Poole Speedway, that is where I will stay,” revealed Middleditch.
“Matt and I have a great relationship. The nice thing about Matt is that it is not just about the business, it is about winning and success.
“He is as passionate as I am about Poole Speedway and that is the one thing that keeps me there. I don’t think I could really work alongside anybody else other than Matt. We have just been through so much together, through all the highs and lows of being team manager and promoter.
“We are a good partnership and you only have to look at the trophy cabinet to see how successful we have been. We enjoy that success.”
Middleditch’s love of the shale game is clear and so is his affection for Poole. He is a one-club man.
“It is definitely Poole or nothing for me,” added Middleditch. “It is handy and local and I couldn’t afford any more time away from my business.
“I am at home in my bed after every meeting. No matter whether it is at Eastbourne, Swindon or Belle Vue, I still get home and get up for work the next morning.
“I couldn’t imagine driving two or three hours to a home meeting, so it is Poole or nothing for me.”
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