THE Campaign Group notes the statement issued by Coventry Speedway to the Coventry Telegraph published on Tuesday (November 14).
Leicester Speedway have subsequently confirmed that the approach made by the Bees to race at Beaumont Park in 2018 would be for a Coventry team to compete in the National Development League with ‘home’ matches staged on Sunday afternoons.
They have also clarified that any agreement between the parties is subject to terms and conditions being met, paperwork being completed, and Coventry successfully gaining entry into the NDL, whose AGM takes place in early December.
Members of the Campaign Group were contacted by the Coventry promotion on Monday evening to inform us of the news and to express the hope that we would support the venture.
Our position is that we would not be against the concept of a Bees team entering a formal league away from the Coventry/Rugby area, if we were also convinced that it represented a genuine step towards returning the club either to its proper, established home, or a suitable replacement facility nearby.
We would also require a commitment that stock car supporters, who have been similarly affected by the loss of their sport from Coventry, were also to be sufficiently catered for in plans for the future.
At this stage, there is insufficient information to establish to what extent a stadium rental deal with Leicester “secures the long-term future of our club.”
Leicester have themselves indicated that any agreement is for one season only with an option for either party to discuss further in 12 months’ time.
Given these questions, we felt it appropriate to invite the Coventry promotion to a Campaign Group meeting next week to allow them the opportunity to expand on their plans for the future.
As of midday on Wednesday, despite several attempts to speak to the promotion, we have yet to receive a reply to that invitation.
The issue of Coventry competing solely in the National Development League – the sport’s third tier – following a proud history of 69 successive seasons where the biggest names in the sport graced the Brandon shale is ultimately a matter for individual supporters.
We must, however, raise serious concerns over one line in what was a brief statement issued to the Telegraph, with Mick Horton quoted as saying: “A standalone stadium either at Brandon or elsewhere has never been commercially viable and will never be commercially viable for the club.”
This appears very closely aligned to representations made by Brandon Estates and Framptons over the past two years, and was further emphasised in their recent exhibition material stating the sports are “no longer viable” at Brandon. This was a phrase used on two further occasions by Framptons representative Louise Steele in a subsequent Coventry Telegraph interview.
It is difficult to accept the argument that Brandon continued to operate for as long as it did, with various different owners, if it was never commercially viable, but clearly an overall agreement of un-viability between officials and officers would greatly assist efforts to change the use of the site.
We firmly dispute the notion of un-viability, especially as it also raises the question over whether a replacement facility could ever become a reality if it was agreed that “a standalone stadium either at Brandon or elsewhere… will never be commercially viable for the club.”
The Campaign Group will continue to totally oppose the redevelopment of Brandon and will be submitting further representations on that issue at the appropriate time, whilst awaiting information on how the proposed arrangements for 2018 take things forward.