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George Dodds's picture

Q: How do you become a millionaire speedway club owner?
A: Start life as a multi-millionaire speedway club owner!
Tish, boom!
For speedway read any professional British sport: rugby of either code, ice hockey, cricket, netball, hockey even the behemoth that is Premier League football, the one thing that they all have in common is a majority of clubs operating despite being technically insolvent, kept afloat by TV money and/or the deep pockets of club owners.
Not convinced then look at the debt piled up against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle United and the like.
And yet some fans are never happy. They want owners to dig deeper and pay more for “star” names while at the same time keeping the cost of attendance down to a bare minimum.
They will always tell you that you have to ”speculate to accumulate” – indeed one pseudonymed keyboard warrior does exactly that on the Bandits section of the British Speedway Forum.
History shows that what you tend to accumulate is debt.
Sports clubs which try to live within their means always seem to be accused of lacking ambition but surely the ambition to be around year after year is better than a disappearing under a sea of red ink on the accounts.
For years Reading chugged along as a competitive second tier club before being bought by BSI and taken back to the top division.
No question they speculated but the accumulation was swift and decisive.
The current National League involves at least two clubs in Eastbourne and Birmingham who found that Kevin Costner’s only watchable film was a work of fiction rather than a documentary – just because you build it no-one is mandated to come while Lakeside have been up and down more often than a kangaroo on a trampoline.
Even our friends at Glasgow have discovered that while money can buy you a vastly improved stadium and security of tenure it buys neither success nor love while Edinburgh’s seemingly parlous financial situation suggests that success is rarely a self-financing affair – and they could certainly never be accused of “wasting” money on a stadium upgrade.
Even the most cynical and hackneyed of us managed to raise a smile a couple of years ago as Leicester’s band of hard-working, honest professionals gave a semblance of dignity back to football’s Premier League by taking on and beating the playthings of communist oligarchs, American millionaires, Middle Eastern dictatorships and dodgy British businessmen to lift the title.
Wouldn’t it be something if speedway could follow suit in 2018?