Cash worries leave question mark over Monarchs plans

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Fresh doubt has been cast over Edinburgh Monarchs’ speedway future after it was revealed the Capital club have yet to confirm whether they will be at Armadale for a 16th season next year.

Monarchs, who have two Scottish Cup fixtures against Glasgow Tigers plus three outstanding Premier League matches still to race, have been hit by a dip in attendances recently, and according to director Mike Hunter, this has raised questions about their long-term future.

Yet some of the best racing seen at the Lothian Arena has occurred during the last few weeks, but Hunter said: “This however has coincided with five of the seven lowest crowds of the season, and for that reason the first question the other directors have to answer is whether the team will come to the tapes next March, and that has not been confirmed yet. As at most clubs there is a gap between turnstile income and expenditure which for years has had to be bridged by fundraising activities. Monarchs are probably amongst the most successful at this with upwards of £40,000 raised. But the question now is whether even that is sufficient for the club to continue.”

Hunter says even if Monarchs are operating next season then changes will have to be made to this year’s team who look likely to finish in the bottom half of the league.

“We are over the points limit which governs all Premier League sides,” said Hunter, “and this means we will have to look at what type of squad we want to put out if we are racing next season.”

One Monarch who almost certainly won’t be returning is Finn Kalle Katajisto whose average is down by more than a point and there are also doubts over No. 1 Kevin Wolbert who will probably be courted by Elite League Poole Pirates who were crowned league champions this week. Wolbert has been doubling-up for the Dorset side over the last month and is rated by Pirates boss Matt Ford.

Meanwhile Monarchs have agreed to visit Newport Wasps on Saturday October 29 which gives them three league fixtures in three days having already confirmed they will be at Plymouth Devils on Friday October 28 and Workington Comets on October 30.