Edinburgh Monarchs captain Derek Sneddon caressed the Premier League championship trophy and then announced to shocked fans: “I’m quitting speedway.”
The Falkirk-based ace, who also skippered Monarchs to their second league crown in 2008, revealed he had kept his secret under wraps for weeks. Speaking exclusively to the Evening News, Sneddon said: “Only certain people knew about it, but it has been pretty obvious I’ve not had the best of years in 2014.
“I made the decision halfway through the season feeling enough was enough. I still tried to help the team when I could, but in truth the rest of the boys have carried me through this season and have looked after me when I have not been scoring points.
“I shed a tear after we won, it has been unbelievable. And had we not won we would have been robbed, we have been by far the best team in the league this season, and what better way for me to finish my career.”
Asked why he had chosen now to retire from a sport he has loved since his early teens, Sneddon, 32, replied: “I’m not getting any younger and my daughter Sophie started school recently, and speedway has been cutting into the time I can spend with her. I have had a bad couple of seasons and I’m losing money from it now.”
Sneddon admitted there are things he will miss about the sport, and some things he won’t. “I will miss all the banter in the van but maybe not all the travelling. Being with the boys through the highs and lows, I’ll miss that.
“I’m certainly not going to miss all the cold nights spent washing my bikes in the pouring rain.”
Sneddon said Monarchs’ victory over Somerset underlined the class they have displayed all year. “Fair play to Somerset, they came back at us in the second leg, but we showed our skill and character, and the boys did the business over the last three vital heats.”
A second championship winning medal is not exactly a shabby way to exit the Scottish speedway stage agreed Sneddon. “I feel proud to have led Monarchs to the league title twice and skippering Monarchs is one of the proudest things I have been asked to do.
“All the lads have been really special and I don’t think you will see another Edinburgh team like this again.”