Monarchs are staying put as Armadale drops greyhounds

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The sudden closedown of greyhound racing at Armadale Stadium last weekend sparked fresh fears among speedway fans that Edinburgh Monarchs’ future at the Lothian Arena is once again under threat.

Monarchs moved to Armadale in 1997 and have won five Premier League crowns during their tenure but today Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess told the Evening News: “Nothing has changed at Armadale in terms of our speedway operation.”

Club supporters are calling on the Monarchs management to make a statement on their future during Friday’s final match against Glasgow Tigers, however, Harkess said: “Armadale is safe for 2017 and every year after that and we’ll be deciding things on a year-to-year basis and that has always been our agreement in signalling our intention to run speedway at the stadium.

“The greyhounds closing was down to the fact that Armadale couldn’t attract enough dogs to fulfil their racecards and were losing money with not enough people turning up to watch.

“Monarchs supporters became concerned at this announcement but that is all that has changed. We will continue to soldier on and have already said we are running next season.”

However, that has not stopped speculation mounting that in the longer term it’s time for Monarchs to explore the possibility of finding an alternative venue.

Asked if Monarchs had, or were pursuing other avenues to stabilise their continuation as a speedway team, Harkess replied: “We have been looking to find a new home for years and are no further forward. We were approached by the authorities at Ingliston a while ago about the possibility of moving there but the chief executive, who was very much on our side, has since moved on.

“There is really very little we can tell our supporters. We have never been asked to sign a five-year deal to stay at Armadale and would never do that simply because of the way the stadium is at the moment.”