Edinburgh Monarchs will announce after Friday’s final Premier League fixture against Glasgow Tigers that they will come to the tapes again in 2017 for their 21st season of speedway at Armadale Stadium.
And the news will come as a huge boost for the club’s supporters who were fearful of Monarchs’ continued future at the stadium after promoter John Campbell revealed that crowds have dropped by 20 per cent in 2016 due in no small part to the nine rain-offs Monarchs have suffered, the highest number of postponements in their history.
But Monarchs director Mike Hunter today said: “It has been a desperately tough season for everybody but the club feel with all the financial support we’ve had from the Monarchs Fans Trust and others, it would be a terrible thing to do to tell them we are not going to run.
“It’s not what the Fans Trust was set up for. It was formed to ensure that we would continue to run speedway at Armadale and we’ll try everything we possibly can to do so.”
And Hunter revealed Monarchs came close to not completing this year’s league programme as the weather threw their fixture list into chaos and effected gate reciepts.
Said Hunter: “The Fans Trust funds have been depleted this year but we probably would have closed down mid-season had it not been for their contributions.
“We could not have found the money to keep going ourselves.
“The Trust is on-going but they probably didn’t expect to pay out so much money to the club. But they never hesitated in being so supportive. They have been fantastic.”
Monarchs will want to end their campaign on a positive note.
And should they defeat Glasgow, who are one of the teams tipped to win the league title Monarchs were trying to capture for a third time in succession in 2016, they will preserve their unbeaten home league record.
Monarchs surrendered their crown on Friday after failing to pull back a deficit of 26 points against Ipswich Witches in their play-off quarter-final second-leg tie.
And Monarchs team boss Alex Harkess reflected: “It was always going to be a tall order and we needed everything to go in our favour on the night. And that didn’t happen.
“But I think the team have still had a decent season and the fact we didn’t do better at Ipswich in the first leg came back to haunt us.”
Friday will also be Ryan Fisher’s swansong after the Californian’s decision to retire from speedway. The flamboyant star is certain to receive a farewell to remember from his fans.