BERWICK have decided to ‘dispense with the services’ of their under-performing Dane Charlie Gjedde.
The news was confirmed to the crowd at Shielfield on Saturday, when team manager Ian Rae revealed that he had been active in the transfer market again, securing Swede Sebastian Alden, who will make his debut for the Bandits against Sheffield this weekend.
It was incomprehensible to think at the start of the season that Berwick would sack Gjedde, as he was universally hailed as one of the biggest signings in the club’s history.
A former World Cup winner, he was seen by many as a rider who could challenge at the top of the Premier League averages and lift the club out of the bottom half of the table where they have been situated for the past two seasons.
Dick Barrie, who made the announcement, said: “When we signed Charlie I was truly excited because like so many other people I saw him as a top performer.
“But ,for whatever reason, things haven’t worked out and so the Berwick management, to a man, decided it was best to have a parting of the ways.”
Gjedde, who was returning to action after 18 months out through injury, was always seen as a bit of a gamble, and promoter John Anderson, who was not at Shielfield on Saturday, said in his programme notes that he could understand the fans’ frustration and disappointment at ‘certain areas of the team’
But he added: “Steps are in hand to change that.”
Some of the fans’ frustration was based on Gjedde’s performances for the club, which contrasted with s0me of his outings elsewhere, particularly for Belle Vue in the Elite League, and many supporters had vented their anger through various forums on the internet.
It was obvious it was a situation which could not continue, and so Gjedde, who missed Saturday’s home defeat to Glasgow because of a reported shoulder injury, has now left, although there are already rumours circulating that he is set to join another Premier League outfit.
His replacement, Alden, is 25 years-old and has previous experience of racing in Britain in the Elite League with Swindon in 2008, where he was a member of their Shield-winning side.
He is currently racing in Sweden with Masarna and comes into the PL on a 7.65 average.
Manager Rae said: “Seb is as keen as any rider I have spoken to in the last few years to make his new start with Berwick.
“He sees it as his big chance to achieve success in this country and is delighted to have the opportunity with the Bandits.
“He is a true racer, of the sort Border fans love to cheer, and whilst he will be thrust into action against Sheffield this weekend we have every confidence in his ability.
“Once he gets to grip with our track he shoukld be a very versatile rider and a useful scorer, capable of mixing it with the best.”
Meanwhile, Berwick’s other new signing, Alex Edberg made his debut for the Bandits in the 44-46 home defeat against Glasgow at Shielfield on Saturday.
The 20 year-old Swede made a steady if not spectacular start, but later promised that there was better to come.
Edberg, who was signed as an injury replacement for Czech Republic rider Hynek Stichauer, who has been out for several weeks with a dislocated shoulder, scored four points in his first meeting.
After two last places he achieved two second place finishes, and it was noticeable that he improved with each outing.
Afterwards he siad:
“I wasn’t great in my first two rides, but I was getting used to the track.
“I was better in my last two, but I changed my silencer for my last race and it felt a lot more powerful. I think I will be using that from now on.
“This is a big track at Berwick but I think it will suit my style of riding because I know I will be able to attack it.
“Once I get a few more races under my belt I should be able to find the quickest way round.”
Edberg races competitively back home in Sweden and he says that a Saturday night track like Berwick fits in well with his schedule.
“I have always wanted to come across to Britain to ride and I am just grateful to Berwick for giving me the chance,” he said.
“The Premier League really excites me because there are some good riders in it and I am really looking forward to the challenge of going to a lot of new tracks.
“It wasn’t good for the team to lose in my first meeting, but hopefully we can improve over the coming weeks.”
Edberg is of course set to be joined by his fellow countryman Sebastian Alden in Bandits’ colours this weekend.
Alden replaces the now departed Dane Charlie Gjedde and will make his home debut against Sheffield at Shielfield this Saturday.
After Saturday’s defeat against Glasgow the Bandits will be keen to avoid a repeat performance against the Yorkshire Tigers, but this will be another tough neeting against a side, at the time of writing, who sit two points and three places above them in the Premier League table.
Bandits lose unbeaten home league record to Glasgow - Page 33.