Speedway: Middleditch blasts 'disgraceful' ousting of Havelock's night

Bournemouth Echo: ANGRY: Poole Pirates boss Neil Middleditch ANGRY: Poole Pirates boss Neil Middleditch

PIRATES boss Neil Middleditch joined the plethora of people outraged at Gary Havelock’s farewell meeting being pushed to one side and branded the situation “disgraceful”.

Poole legend Havelock has been inundated with messages of support after the Elite League Riders Championship (ELRC) was switched to the same night as his long-standing date at Wimborne Road.

Pirates promoter Matt Ford, who is currently out of the UK, arranged the special meeting last year after the 1992 world champion’s 30-year shale sport career was ended by injury.

Those plans were yesterday thrown into turmoil when the British Speedway Promoters Association (BSPA) announced the ELRC had been moved at the request of broadcasters Sky with fuming fans taking to Twitter, calling for riders to boycott the season's curtain-raiser.

And while former Great Britain team manager Middleditch distanced himself from those suggestions, he pulled no punches in his assessment of the situation.

“It is a proper smack in the face for Havvy and I think it is awful,” said Middleditch. “I have been friends with Gary for a long time and feel quite strongly about this.

“Nobody had more pride in riding for his country and he is one of the few world champions we have produced in England.

“He was forced to retire through a serious injury and from that day everyone wanted a big a farewell to show their admiration and respect.

“It is disgraceful. He has been planning this for the past couple of years and a lot of people wanted to thank him for the sacrifices he made for speedway.

“They (the BSPA) knew very well when the date was and should have looked at it seriously and done the proper thing.

“Havvy deserves his day and the whole situation is really wrong. The solution is easy – just change the date (of the ELRC).”

Meanwhile, BSPA vice-chairman Jon Cook said all scheduling matters were dealt with by Go Speed International and that his organisation had not been party to the discussions over the date change.

Cook continued: “It is just one of those unavoidable situations when you are in a sport with such a long-standing relationships with its broadcasters.

“As harsh it sounds, the established, official events do take priority over non-official events and that’s the way speedway has always operated.

“It’s not the finest hour for anyone concerned with the exception of Gary who is the innocent victim of us having to move things round to, quite rightly, give us the launch to the British season that we require.”

Go Speed managing director Terry Russell was unavailable for comment when the Daily Echo went to press, while Sky politely declined to comment.

Comments (2)

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8:00pm Sun 2 Feb 14

jayphotofinish says...

Havvy's Farewell meeting was one of only two that I planned attending this year with the family- the other being the British GP at Cardiff in July. Despite the clash of dates with the ELRC at now faraway Coventry his Benefit meeting should come top of your priorities when you true Speedway fans are left, juggling your options. through no fault of your own, as to which meeting to attend.
Disregard the strength/quality of the field that's left for Gary's meeting at Poole, I urge you all to turn out in force & support one of the best team men & captain's that Poole have ever had. Remember he has given his all & to his cost through serious injury, entertaining us. his future is now uncertain & his earning potential restricted so think of this make HIS night not just a special one, but also a bumper pay night as well. Maybe via his committee either a Disco, quiz night or charity football match at the stadium would offset any lose of revenue as a result of these unpopular, unnecessary & not thought through class of dates.
Jay -PhotoFinish/IndigoI
mages.
Havvy's Farewell meeting was one of only two that I planned attending this year with the family- the other being the British GP at Cardiff in July. Despite the clash of dates with the ELRC at now faraway Coventry his Benefit meeting should come top of your priorities when you true Speedway fans are left, juggling your options. through no fault of your own, as to which meeting to attend. Disregard the strength/quality of the field that's left for Gary's meeting at Poole, I urge you all to turn out in force & support one of the best team men & captain's that Poole have ever had. Remember he has given his all & to his cost through serious injury, entertaining us. his future is now uncertain & his earning potential restricted so think of this make HIS night not just a special one, but also a bumper pay night as well. Maybe via his committee either a Disco, quiz night or charity football match at the stadium would offset any lose of revenue as a result of these unpopular, unnecessary & not thought through class of dates. Jay -PhotoFinish/IndigoI mages. jayphotofinish

8:03pm Sun 2 Feb 14

jayphotofinish says...

Havvy's Farewell meeting was one of only two that I planned attending this year with the family- the other being the British GP at Cardiff in July. Despite the clash of dates with the ELRC at now faraway Coventry his Benefit meeting should come top of your priorities when you true Speedway fans are left, juggling your options, through no fault of your own, as to which meeting to attend.
Disregard the strength/quality of the field that's left for Gary's meeting at Poole, I urge you all to turn out in force & support one of the best team men & captain's that Poole have ever had. Remember he has given his all & to his cost through serious injury, entertaining us, his future is now uncertain & his earning potential restricted so think of this & make HIS night not just a special one, but also a bumper pay night as well. Maybe via his committee either a Disco, quiz night or charity football match at the stadium would offset any lose of revenue as a result of these unpopular, unnecessary & not thought through clash of dates.
Jay -PhotoFinish/Indigo Images.
Havvy's Farewell meeting was one of only two that I planned attending this year with the family- the other being the British GP at Cardiff in July. Despite the clash of dates with the ELRC at now faraway Coventry his Benefit meeting should come top of your priorities when you true Speedway fans are left, juggling your options, through no fault of your own, as to which meeting to attend. Disregard the strength/quality of the field that's left for Gary's meeting at Poole, I urge you all to turn out in force & support one of the best team men & captain's that Poole have ever had. Remember he has given his all & to his cost through serious injury, entertaining us, his future is now uncertain & his earning potential restricted so think of this & make HIS night not just a special one, but also a bumper pay night as well. Maybe via his committee either a Disco, quiz night or charity football match at the stadium would offset any lose of revenue as a result of these unpopular, unnecessary & not thought through clash of dates. Jay -PhotoFinish/Indigo Images. jayphotofinish

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