Published on 15th June 2020
Author Dick Barrie

Disgusting things, apparently.                                                                                 .

Every newspaper and TV channel has, over the past few days, tried to follow the crowd and pretend pulling down statues and throwing them into harbours is quite permissible.

In fact, it isn’t.  Public disorder is a crime, as is congregating in groups of more than half a dozen.

But anyway, piffle.    Also hogwash,     A fine to-do about nothing.

Statues are raised in good faith and honour of their time and remain on display for decades, centuries even, to demonstrate history.

Without history to teach them, how will today’s children’s children learn and understand bad from good, right from wrong?

Just before you think the old coffin-dodger’s gone completely cranky-loopy, I’ll come to the real point of this piece.

It is not unusual for a sports club to have a statue of a past hero outside their stadium.

I’ve seen Best, Law and Charlton outside Old Trafford, Billy McNeill holding the European Cup aloft at Parkhead and driven past Billy Bremner outside Elland Road in Leeds.

Newcastle United have scattered three separate figures outside St James’ Park, Sunderland have a family group of fans (don’t they have any famous-enough players?) and there’s one of Bobby Moore at Wembley to go with a fine one of five Rugby League players there.

But no speedway riders that I can find.   Not one, anywhere in the UK.

There is one of Ove Fundin at his home town of Tranas in Sweden – the sculptor may not have actually seen a speedway race, but the thought is there — and my point is this:  I want a speedway rider to be honoured.

Why not here in Berwick?      I know there are sculptures dotted around town – the one of Annie Jerningham on Bank Hill is  nice – but none of them represent the town’s major sport.

So, when I win the lottery, I want to fund a permanent tribute to our Bandits by placing a bronze statue on a prime local site.

This could be at Shielfield, in the town centre or even on one of the main junctions on the A1.   The where can be arranged once the when of the project is activated – but the first question is, who should be the subject of the monument?

That the bronze image should be of a rider in full sideways action is a given, of course – this will be the vision that catches the attention of the general public – but for those of us within the bubble (an interesting word, seemingly changing meaning rapidly these days) of the sport, we would want him to be identifiable as a beloved Bandit.

There are over 350 stalwarts to choose from – from Danny Taylor to Dany Gappmaier, Mike Caroline to Michal Makovsky and any number of Davids (Meldrum, Walsh, Gifford, Blackburn, Bellego, Trownson, Howe, etc) but if we’re going to do this properly, and raise a statue to last a hundred years, we want to pick the right subject………

Who do you think would be our best representative?       The address is below, just tell me.

Me myself, I think there are only two real options.

The late Wayne Brown came eleven thousand miles as a scruffy novice teenager to fight for a place in our team and left us five years later as our first superstar.    His tragic early death after he retired left us shocked and stunned, and few could argue against wee Wayne representing the sport in our statue.

But there’s another character to be considered.

For over twenty years (he first raced as a teen in 1978, his last match was at 43 in 2002) Rob Grant raced in 418 matches in black-and-gold and, while never the ace in any of our packs, helped win two KO Cups and the Division 1 Gold Cup.

Leaving me with little choice – I’ll just have to hope that the lottery win is big enough, and I’ll put them both on display.

One statue outside the stadium, the other in town?

Or both of them on one plinth in typical action – Wayne out in front, and Grantie coming up fast from behind, about to knock him off!


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

Dick Barrie
Dick Barrie

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