Speedway: Demise of Monarchs far from truth

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Bullish Edinburgh Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell today insisted the Capital speedway club are not “at death’s door” as he responded to supporters’ concerns that crowd levels at Armadale so far this season appear to be down on last year.

Campbell is unhappy that recent internet discussion has suggested attendances have been pitifully low and could place Monarchs’ future in jeopardy.

But Campbell revealed crowds are between ten and 15 per cent up on numbers who came through the gate for Monarchs’ second phase Premier League matches in 2011.

He said: “People have been writing on the internet that our crowds are down, down, down. And I just had to point out to them that this is not the case.

“I do not want people getting into their heads that Monarchs are at death’s door because of the size of our crowds and I’m hoping the good weather which has been forecast for this week will bring people in.”

Campbell says all clubs would like to see bigger attendances. “For the period of ‘summer’ we experienced for two weeks in March there has not been any Friday since then that hasn’t carried a threat of rain, or rain actually falling in certain parts of our catchment area.

“It has also been bitterly cold on occasions and these are factors which discourage people from turning out. But things are all right, the biggest disappointment we’ve had this year were our two matches against Glasgow Tigers. Hundreds came off the gate because Glasgow supporters simply did not turn out in the same numbers as they did last season.”

Monarchs have not been helped by two successive wash-outs against Ipswich Witches and Leicester Lions, however, Campbell insisted the club have not lost out to a great degree financially over the cancellations.

“The majority of our costs were saved, but there are always costs as we make a monthly payment to the British Speedway Promoters’ Association, but we are talking about low hundreds instead of a four-figure sum we can run into by calling off matches.”

Monarchs have received some good news on the team front with Derek Sneddon, who has been sidelined since last month with a broken collarbone, returning to action for this weekend’s big home and away Knock-out Cup ties against Rye House Rockets.