GREEK philosopher Aristotle once said: “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

It is fair to say the past 20 months have indeed provided some bitter experiences for Poole Speedway.

It has been more than 600 days since Pirates suffered heartbreak in the SGB Premiership play-off semi-final second leg at Ipswich, in September 2019.

Since then, the club has seen a change of divisions in dropping down to the second tier, built two team line-ups and had to navigate its way through a global pandemic.

But throughout the turbulence that period as thrown up, the main fact is that one of the most decorated clubs in the sport are continuing to operate.

With a brand new one-to-seven and fresh SGB Championship campaign on the horizon, Pirates are set to arrive at the tapes in their league curtain-raiser at Eastbourne Eagles tonight (7.30pm).

Promoter Danny Ford has been heading up the day-to-day running of the club while working with his father, owner Matt, in getting the Pirates back on track.

Danny was speaking to the Daily Echo while working at Wimborne Road, ahead of the club’s first home meeting on June 9.

So, what will it feel like to lead the club into a new era, when Poole finally return to action this weekend?

“It’s going to be a real emotional one to see them at Eastbourne but I think more at Wimborne Road,” he said.

“It’s been a bit of a baptism of fire for myself.

“I don’t think anything that is thrown at me in hopefully the next decade, or however long I will be doing this – hopefully longer - will come close to these situations we have been going through.

“Now, we have got through the worst of it, I think.

“I have learned a lot - Jesus, it has not been easy. There’s things I would never thought had been expected of me that I’ve had to do.

“But it all comes with the territory of being a speedway promoter, you kind of have to be a jack of all trades.

“It’s been a learning experience but we are nearly there now and hopefully we will start to see some reward for the work we have put in.”

Danny may have acquired skills in a work sense, having stepped up to the role as Poole’s promoter – but he admits he has also learned a great deal about himself.

“More than anything, it has really reaffirmed my love of speedway,” he added.

“I think a lot of people, given the obstacles that have been put in place, may have given up.

“I know my dad and myself have discussed what we were going to do and the obstacles in front of us. My overall commitment has urged him on, to really press on with it.

“I think if either of us would have been doing this by ourselves, maybe it would have been a lot trickier and maybe we would have given up.

“But I think together, the enthusiasm we have both shown at times and the willingness to push each other on has come to light.

“It’s been a real mix of emotions over the past 18 months.

“There have been some real highs and too many lows, to be fair. It has been really tough at times just to stick with it.

“I am so glad we have because now we are finally on the eve of our first meeting in 18 months and it’s going to be really special.

“There’s not many better places to go than Eastbourne – our south coast rivals.”

Win, lose or draw in their first meeting back, the day will mark a special return in the history of one of Dorset’s most famous sports clubs.

Eagles: Edward Kennett. Tom Brennan, Kyle Newman, Lewis Kerr, Richard Lawson, Jason Edwards, Drew Kemp. Team manager: Trevor Geer

Pirates: Rory Schlein, Zane Keleher, Steve Worrall, Stefan Nielsen, Danny King, Ben Cook, Danyon Hume. Team Manager: Neil Middleditch.