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Speedway: Birmingham would be a big loss to Elite League says Poole Pirates manager Neil Middleditch
NEIL Middleditch is desperate for Birmingham to continue in the Elite League and says it will be “a great loss” if the club folds.
The Pirates team manager threw his support behind the beleaguered Midlanders after owner Alan Phillips announced his decision to quit having cited “short-term cash flow problems” at Perry Barr.
Phillips’ revelation came hours before Pirates trounced a much-weakened Brummies team 60-32 at Wimborne Road on Wednesday.
Talks are ongoing with interested parties and Middleditch is hopeful a takeover can be completed to avoid the Brummies dropping out of the league.
He told the Daily Echo: “If we were to lose Birmingham, it would be a great loss to speedway.
“They have been in the Elite League a couple of years and unfortunately they just haven’t had the support.
“In speedway, crowds aren’t perhaps what they should be and to get people through the doors of any business is tough.
“We need this amount of teams in the league for it to function, so at the moment we don’t know what the repercussions are going to be.”
Birmingham joined the Elite League ahead of the 2011 campaign and since then, Phillips has stated his concerns over low attendances at Perry Barr on a number of occasions.
Despite finishing in the play-off spots in 2012 and 2013 and making the grand final last year – where they were thumped by Pirates – Birmingham’s attendances have remained modest.
Middleditch added: “It’s a puzzler. You’d think you’d be able to get 3,000 or 4,000 people in to watch a speedway meeting in a city the size of Birmingham.
“You’d have thought on the back of making the grand final last year, they would have been able to pull a good crowd.
“I don’t know too much about the promotion at Birmingham but I’m sure they marketed it as well as they could and it just hasn’t worked out.
“It’s a business at the end of the day and if the business isn’t successful then you have to do something about it.
“Maybe there’s too much to do in the big cities and that’s the problem, I think that’s a lot of it.
“These days you’ve got multiplexes and kids have their PlayStations so they are quite happy to stay at home and when they do go out, there is so much to do.”