CO-PROMOTER Danny Ford insisted Pirates remained “profitable” but admitted giving fans “more value for money” would be key to driving up attendances.

Ford was speaking after club owner, his father Matt, revealed the reigning SGB Premiership champions had been hit by a “five-figure loss” after staging a Supporters’ Cup contest against Ipswich at Wimborne Road last month.

Matt Ford, who has seen the club seal eight league titles during his 20 years in charge, said: “Sadly we are not owned by a Russian billionaire, it is me who takes the losses when they happen, so this is a pretty crucial time for the club.

“The way we are struggling to entice people to come to the club is concerning.”

But Danny Ford, who stepped up to become a co-promoter under his dad this season, insisted that substantial financial hit had been a “one-off” and Pirates remained in a stable position.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s league battle with Belle Vue (7.30pm), the 25-year-old told the Daily Echo: “It was a difficult one against Ipswich.

“It seems the cup matches don’t generate the same amount of buzz and you’ll find that in most sports. When it’s a league match, it’s far more important.

“That was an excessive one. We have never quite had a meeting as bad as that one before.

“But hopefully that was a one-off. The club is profitable and there’s not many professional sports clubs who can say that these days.

“If we get positive results in, I can’t imagine we will have too many more of those situations.”

Asked what he believed would be the formula to increase attendances and boost revenue, Danny Ford replied: “It’s a big challenge, especially when you compete against the likes of Poland, who are getting almost sell-out crowds for events.

“But it’s also a case of trying to give the crowd more value for money – like having Weymouth Wildcats down just generates more of a buzz. It lets the fans feel they are getting a bit more.

“We want to make fans feel they are getting value for money when they come to speedway and it’s also a case of reaching out to the next generation.”

Pirates go into their clash with the Aces having sealed back-to-back victories over Wolves. The Dorset club are third in the table, five points behind leaders Belle Vue with three meetings in hand.