Big changes are afoot at Armadale Stadium this evening when the Staggs Bar Monarchs open their 2019 season with an inter-league challenge match against Wolverhampton Wolves – and not just on the track.
After 20 years presenting the action from the centre green, Scott Wilson moved on from the role of meeting announcer last year, allowing the promotion to continue to innovate with a fresh approach to match-day presentation.
Moving away from the traditional centre green-based presentation method, a new presentation team of John McGillivray and Evening News Entertainment Editor and life-long speedway fan Liam Rudden will be in the heart of the pits area, where they will be able to bring supporters real-time insights from the key characters in every match as well as in-depth analysis of events as they unfold.
This will be shown on the stadium’s big screen, with McGillivray and Rudden aiming to boost engagement between supporters and the riders in the pits.
McGillivray, who regularly stood in for Wilson in previous seasons, has been a popular face at Armadale since 2014 now.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to the new set up and to the opportunity of allowing fans to see what’s happening during the interviews and give them a look behind the scenes in the pits, give them access to things they’ve never seen before.
“My hope is the fans love it. That they get an idea of the highs and lows the riders go through during a meeting and can see how much each race means to them.”
Rudden, who attended his first Monarachs match at the age of 13 when the team raced at Powderhall Stadium, is also enthusiastic about the changes.
He said: “The club has come up with this exciting new approach, which will make the meetings more interactive and hopefully involve the fans more with the action that takes place off track between races. It’s something they don’t currently get to see.”
The two presenters will perched on a new viewing gantry in the pits, which looks directly on to the track from the second bend.
“It’s the best view in the stadium, but it’s also idea for nipping into the pits to talk to the riders between races,” said Rudden, who over the years has presented breakfast shows, book launches and numerous events.
“I have this attitude to life that you never know what is going to happen so you have to be ready for anything and I think that will come in handy when covering speedway.
“When I first went to see the Monarchs at Powderhall I was always fascinated by the announcer’s role. In those days they were anonymous voices but still legends, names like Dennis McCleary, Doug Newlands and Douglas Griffin and, of course, at Armadale Scott Wilson made the role his own.
“In time I hope that John and I will come up with something equally unique and entertaining.”
McGillivray added: “I hope this new style of presentation shows the fans that the club is constantly trying to move with the times and add as much professionalism to the night as possible. As the weeks and months go on, Liam and I will grow in to the role and add our own personalities to the night. It’s all very exciting.”