Dick Barrie's picture


So, this is the week we can be giving Thanksgiving for our marvellous wee club having been announced as running in 2019 – and we'll learn next month (Sunday evening, December 9th at the Black’n’Gold, folks) what news Jamie might have as to how we can help the club forward -- who knows, maybe even at a bargain Black Friday price?

Maybes aye, maybes naw……

Tonight’s news is obviously good, and we’ll no doubt learn on the 9th how the wind’s blowing.

The lack of a crippling debt, and no cries of doom and gloom that the club is a failing business model always gave hope of either finding a way for the lads to continue, someone taking over, or investing in part of the show ---- yet it would be so much better if we had financial supporters such as those pesky Monarchs enjoy up the road………..

In addition to a weekly Grand Draw, which since late 1993 has been running quietly along and in that time has injected proceeds of over £300,000 directly to the promotion (as well as dishing out the same amount in prizes) they have the truly magnificent Monarchs Fans Trust.

To date, in less than four years this Trust has already raised over £80,000 towards paying the club’s extra bills and ensuring the future of their team.

These supporters have shown speedway the way the sport can be nourished and grown again.

They are aware of the costs of running a speedway show, and have demonstrated support by -- quietly and effectively, no big show of “look how great we are, we’re mates with all the riders” -- just raising funds and using them to pay off some of the huge overheads involved in bringing riders, cups and league titles to Armadale.

Thinks: What better way would there be of displaying to Jamie and his new team, or indeed to anyone else thinking of becoming a prospective investor in our speedway rights at Shielfield, that they would have the backing of the club’s faithful fans than if some of our loyal followers could set up a similar Trust?

Or even a Grand Draw?

Proceeds being given, as at Armadale, to the promotion – with a clear proviso of where the money was going, which bills were to be paid with it – to keep speedway safe at Berwick.

Or am I being too naïve?

Well, if we are running, it’ll be great to hit the road again to places like Somerset, Leicester, Eastbourne and maybe Birmingham.

I attend every away fixture my radio commitments allow, and memories of great trips to all of these tracks have remained fresh in my mind despite our not having been to some of them for a few seasons.

I'll wear my Bandits’ jacket ever-so-proudly - - we’ve had good gear in the Track Shop (OK, table) these last couple of years, unlike some of the stuff you see a few other clubs’ fans sporting – some of their garments seem to have been specifically manufactured with a chip on each shoulder.

Actually, the idea of people dressing up in team colours is strange when you think about it.

No one goes for a medical check-up dressed up like their preferred doctor – even though it really makes more sense to root earnestly for the success of your doctor when he's diagnosing you, rather than your favourite rider!

But here we go – Jamie will be telling you more on December 9th, and suddenly things are looking better.

Even if Duns was washed out again at the weekend, up there in the hill country and will have to close until the pass opens (old movie musical joke). It will be running again, come springtime, and bringing out the best of the new youngsters who will now again have hope of being Bandits in future.

Indeed, one of the obvious changes in my long time in speedway has been the appearance of nine-year-old boys on our tracks.

Lads that age used to be working up chimneys, not riding wee bikes.

Onward and upward!


Want to disagree with Dick (as so many do?). He is always happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk