Bandits riders accept wage cut for 2013

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BERWICK Bandits officials have praised riders for accepting a wage cut next season, as the club’s struggle to find a new major sponsor continues.

Following the announcement of the seven-man team for next season, the club again appealed for sponsors to come forward and underlined the financial constraints the club is operating under.

Director John Anderson said: “We have been forced to cut our cloth – both by our own lack of sponsorship and the Premier League’s agreement to rein in spending – and I have to salute the riders who will wear our colours next season, all of whom have put the club’s requirements ahead of their own financial situation.”

Promoter Dennis McCleary added: “We must acknowledge with respect our riders, who have realised they need to take a pay cut in order to race in the Premier League in 2013.

“We are all enthused by the reaction by the riders who realise that without the clubs there is no league speedway and therefore no job for them at all.

“This team has been assembled in accordance with our budgetary needs. The Premier League has insisted on riders’ pay being capped, and our team for next season have all accepted the absolutely-necessary terms.”

With the 2013 team line-up now named and two major meetings coming to Shielfield, there is lots to look forward to next season. However, financial problems mean the club has been unable to officially confirm that the team will actually run next season.

“We will have 13 clubs come to the Premier League tapes for 2013 stretching the length and breadth of Great Britain and it would be a travesty if even one club folds as that is seven riders unemployed,” added McCleary.

“We are not in a unique financial position at Berwick, and therefore league bosses have to be applauded for tackling the problems before they escalate beyond repair. Speedway has featured at Berwick every summer since 1968 and we are not about to let that stop in the near future.”

Directors John Anderson, George Hepburn and George Fairgrieve are determined to keep the club alive, but stressed that much work has still to be done to raising the financial backing the club requires in order to even come to the tapes for the start of the Premier League season in 2013.

John Anderson added: “We are very passionate about the team here at Berwick, but the simple truth is we have lost the financial stability of the past three years through our wonderful deal with A & J Scott of Wooperton coming to an end.”

George Fairgrieve insisted: “We are taking a positive attitude. We are a family-run club with good ethics and want to put on a good entertaining show on a Saturday night that can be enjoyed by all the family.

“We listen to what our supporters want and try to give value-for-money entertainment and, make no mistake, we are intent on running successfully in 2013. We are reaching out to everyone in the area, remembering the Bandits have on average the highest attendance of any spectator sport between Edinburgh and Newcastle, asking that they help this club not only to survive, but to prosper!

“Too many people have put too much effort into the sport in the area for us to become victims of the spiralling costs of motorsport. We have associate sponsorships available to anyone, be it a small business, and individual or multi-national company.”