"Speedway is broken" claims Matt Ford
Far more relevant to the future of the Elite League level of the sport and its overall reputation than the Internet debate over the post Heat 15 goings on at Arlington last night*, Matt Ford’s interval comments appear to have attracted little consideration or attention.
In a wide-ranging chat with Kevin Coombes, Poole Promoter Matt Ford appeared to call for the resignations or removal from future involvement of key but unnamed figures within the upper echelons of the sport. His comments upon governance were along these lines: “[British] speedway is broken…..we need some drastic changes….we can’t carry on the way we are. We need to do something! The same people who’ve been in charge need to step aside and changes have to be made…I sincerely hope that there will be changes!”
Quite who exactly Matt refers to is open to conjecture but such public comments clearly highlight that dramatic changes to the governance, structure and organisation of (at least) the upper tier of speedway in Britain are both needed and likely during the coming months.
Calling for unspecified changes is all well and good but after he’d identified that the future governance of British Speedway is a task “beyond any one man” alone, Matt Ford then proceeded to praise both Jon Cook (“has some fantastic ideas about how to take the sport forward”) and Jonathan Chapman (“not everyone’s cup of tea but someone who really cares about speedway”).
Prior to his outburst, Matt Ford also confessed he’s been “speaking to Bob [Dugard]” about the future of the Elite level of the sport before the meeting. During the latter part of his interview, Ford went onto attack the surprise mid-season decision to reduce the number of available Elite League play off places from six to four. “Things have to change – they can’t go on the way they are! People in glasshouses can’t just change the rules half way through the season. Ipswich and Eastbourne should both have been competing for play off places not having the rules change half way through the season because some people want them to!”
* After a tough financial outcome to the 2009 season for the club had again been raised, Bob Dugard identified a possible last gasp solution, “I’m just gonna fine every rider who was fighting here tonight £10,000!”