BUMS ON SEATS

Published on 7th September 2021
Author Dick Barrie

It is a show business tradition that you save it all up for the big finale.

Speedway is a sport, yes – but it is also a professional entertainment, and must be run on business-like lines.

No point – as has been proved in the past at places on the left-hand coast like Ellesmere Port and Workington – in winning everything but having to close the doors, probably forever, because you didn’t get enough bums on seats to balance the books.

So we always want to win, but in front of attendances that bring the club in on budget, ready to open the turnstiles again next time.

This Saturday is our final Championship match of this strange, pandemically-plighted season – and your Bandits are set on going out with a big bang!

The visiting Tigs will be intent on getting the points they need to finish in the top two of the Championship standings and avoid a tricky play-off quarter-final, so with regard to the sporting competition of the evening, it goes without saying we’ll have a fight on our hands – remember two years ago?

If we can repeat the electricity of September 7th, 2019 – exactly two years ago as I write – then the big finish in sporting terms is assured.

As regards entertainment, yip that’s pretty well sorted too – we’ll see Craig Cook back at Shielfield Park, and if he’s in full flow then we have to just sit back and let him test our best, which he usually does.

In addition, Glasgow have listed Marcin Nowak, their mysterious new Pole at #6, and with memories of his countrymen like Stan Burza, Adam Pietraszko, Jac and Marcin Rempala (to say nothing of Bartosz Smarzlik, Patrik Dudek and Magic Janowski in their U-21 days) going their dinger around Shielfield, we can only wait and wonder……

So the aspect of Saturday’s big night as a sporting contest seems assured, and it looks as though the entertainment factor will be taken care of too.

But what about the ever-vital need to put bums on seats, feet on terracing steps and balancing the books?

Step forward Jason Philip Crump.

When we knew Busk couldn’t be with us, the expectation might have been to deploy rider-replacement, which can serve a strength-in-depth squad like the FTS Bandits pretty well at home.

But wait, this is the big one, the Last Night of the Speedway Proms, the grand finale – r/r might be effective, but is it truly box-office?

Why not bring in a hired gun to fill NBJ’s outings, someone who has already proved a turnstile attraction and who (with Ipswich’s season over, and Plymouth’s last two away fixtures scheduled for tomorrow and Friday) just might be making his final appearance in British speedway?

Why not invite Jason back for a final Shielfield show?

He might not be the 16-year-old who started out with Poole and Peterborough thirty years ago, but he’s still the only Australian to have been crowned World Champion three times, a former World Cup winner and indeed a World U-21 Champion to boot.

If we’re talking box-office, and aiming to attract the biggest and bestest attendance of the season to end the year, who else could we invite?

So, the call was made, perhaps tentatively –- I don’t think Jason has accepted a single guest booking for any team in either league this season — but our promotion have never been scared to ask questions.

“Shy bairns get nowt” as your grannie might say.

And Jason – he said yes!

So this Saturday, to the trepidation of the Tigs – who’ll be with us in noisy numbers – and the delight of fellow-blogger Sister Sarah (why do I think of two mules?) we will programme Jason Philip Crump as Number One for the FTS Bandits.

For positively one night only.

By the way, with a full Academy second-half to boot, we’ll be getting the show started right on time, so be aware of a possible queue at the cash turnstiles – e-booking at the usual address of https://www.berwickspeedway.com/tickets/ might be the way to go for this final Championship challenge of the year…….

Let’s go skidding! .

Disagree with Dick – as so many do? He is always be happy to hear from interesting people at dick@crystalfm.co.uk

Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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