MICHAEL Jordan famously once said: "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships."

The trophies adorning the walls in the office at Wimborne Road pay testament to that, at Poole Pirates.

Before a wheel has even been turned ahead of the upcoming season, intelligence and teamwork has already been displayed between father and son.

Club owner Matt Ford and promoter Danny have gone through numerous different options to reveal the club’s class of 2022.

Once again, they are looking to steal a march on those around them, as they look to defend the SGB Championship title.

Deals have been agreed with Steve Worrall, Ben Cook, Richard Lawson, Zach Cook, Danny King, Drew Kemp and Nathan Ablitt – with four new faces coming into the side from last season.

But exactly how many different versions of the team were drafted up?

Danny Ford told the Daily Echo: “I’d say I have probably been through a dozen at least, different iterations of the team.

“We always built around Stevie and Danny this year – that was always our first goal because we were desperate to have those two back.

“The rest of the team can either take a more strength-in-depth kind of approach, or like we have gone for – top heavy.

“I have been through at least a dozen iterations of it, my dad probably the same. It’s seeing what averages work, how they ride the Poole track.

“It’s all well and good them having a good average but if they ride the Poole track awfully, it’s a no-go.

“It’s been a real bit of work, toing and froing with many iterations of it but I think on paper now, this is the strongest Poole team we have put together that we could have hoped for.”

At any sporting club, and in any business, ideas will always be suggested – and potentially shot down.

But when you are dealing with family in making big decisions, Danny admits some brutal honesty can be a clear indicator.

“I don’t think it’s any secret, I’d say my dad is probably the best team builder there has been in British speedway for a long time. The success the club has had is down to that,” he added.

“I respect everything he says and pass on everything I feel. We work together on it a lot.

“We don’t always agree. Sometimes I put a name in there that he wasn’t necessarily expecting and he will sometimes do the same to me.

“But once we discuss it, we usually come to a mutual agreement.

“We don’t waffle on and get straight to the point, we cut out all that un-needed talk! We are brutally honest with each other.

“If I put a team together that he thinks is absolute garbage, he will let me know and vice versa.”

Despite riders looking to earn their money on an individual basis – instilling a team ethos and togetherness has always been part of Pirates’ mantra during the Ford era.

And Danny insists character is also something which is looked at, as well as a rider’s statistics.

“Obviously I am now getting to see a lot more speedway than him (Matt),” he added.

“I am always around the pits and if a rider gives me a bad feeling or if I think they are not really a team player – which is a huge part of our success – I will let him know.

“I will let him know if there’s a rider we want to avoid. He looks to me for a lot more advice on that.

“It’s got to be a balance. You’ve got to look at statistics, the averages and the points scored as well as having to work with the guys for a season, you know?

“You don’t want to be working with someone you don’t like or is going to cause you problems week-on-week.

“You want to have a reliable team, which isn’t going to cause any headaches and it’s going to be infectious. You want people to get along with their team-mates and want to help them because it is, ultimately, a team sport.

“If we have riders in the pits who aren’t helping the others, that does the team no good. I mean it could do that rider greatly - because they still get paid – but it doesn’t do the club or their team-mates any good.

“We are looking for team men – riders who help each other out. I think particularly last year we had that and that was one of the key points of building the team for this year.”

So, barring any last-minute changes, Pirates’ septet for 2022 is inked in and ready to go.

Danny admits it is now just up to the riders to show their strength.

“I think on paper we have put together one of the strongest teams in the league but speedway is a funny sport,” he said.

“If it was all done on paper, it would be great but it isn’t. These riders have got to go out there and perform now, like they should.

“We know injuries are a huge part of the sport and that can completely change the dynamic of, not just the team, but the entire league.

“Some teams will be strengthening up as the season progresses, so it could all change.

“I think on paper, we are one of the favourites but a lot can change between now and the end of the season.”

Pirates’ riders and management will assemble for the first time on Friday, March 25, when the club stage their annual press and practice day at Wimborne Road.