PIRATES charger Steve Worrall said British speedway “haven’t got enough teams” to be losing clubs like Newcastle and insisted: “It seems like it’s just dwindling away.”

Worrall, a former Newcastle rider, was scheduled to be heading to the north east with Pirates on Sunday before the Diamonds withdrew from the SGB Championship this week.

Newcastle owner Rob Grant on Tuesday revealed he had taken the decision to close with immediate effect, due to financial reasons.

Quotes in a statement from Grant read: "I've had no option but to close the Diamonds down now.

"I have to point out this is my decision only, as my fellow co-promoters and anyone else who had a keen interest in keeping Newcastle Speedway going, wanted to help things run until the end of the season.

“But there really is no other option, and in the longer term, it is for the good of Newcastle Speedway.

"The situation has taken a massive toll on the finances of the club, a massive hit on my own mental health and also a substantial toll on my other businesses and I cannot allow this to take me down.

"The situation was critical, and it had to be shut down now before it became too late for prospective new people to look at taking the club into 2023.”

Asked for his take on the situation, St Helens-born Worrall told the Daily Echo: “We haven’t got enough teams to be losing them like that.

“It’s really sad for Newcastle. I spent a lot of time there. Great club, great people.

“The circumstances for them, they just really struggled to put a team together they wanted. They haven’t got an out-and-out leader, especially after losing Bradley Wilson-Dean so early on in their campaign.

“There’s just no riders around to replace him and you are on the back foot straight away.

“Once you start losing meetings, the fans stop backing it and then it just snowballs down.

“It’s really sad but when you are looking at the long term, I feel they have made the right decision at the right time.

“Say, someone wants to go in and take over, they have got time. They can start planning ahead.

“Behind the scenes, it might not look like it to the fans but clubs start talking to riders really early. The next month or so, they will start preparing and that’s just usually what happens.

“If riders are happy and content, they will have already done their deal and they will already stay where they are.

“It makes the situation for clubs like Newcastle even harder, to try to encourage riders to go there. They need as much time as possible to try to sort it out.

“Fingers crossed someone steps in. Someone with deep pockets and they can encourage some riders.”

The news of Newcastle’s closure also came the same week as reports surfaced regarding the proposed redevelopment of the East of England Showground site, home of Premiership champions Peterborough.

At present, six teams compete in the SGB Premiership, with 10 competing in the Championship after Newcastle’s closure.

“The teams keep dwindling down. At the end of the day this is my job but it’s also our sport. It’s a great sport and we have so many fans,” said Worrall.

“It seems like it’s just dwindling away, nothing is being done about it. We need some good publicity and some people to work a bit harder I guess, in making sure all these clubs stay.”