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FORD: PIRATES' FUTURE SECURE

Poole owner Matt Ford says Pirates’ future is safe, but admits he was caught unawares by news the club’s home is set to be redeveloped.

26 / 02 / 2014, 07:00

Poole owner Matt Ford says Pirates’ future is safe, but admits he was caught unawares by news that the club’s Wimborne Road home is set to be redeveloped.

Poole Town Football club investor Eddie Mitchell is in talks with Pirates’ landlords Gaming International about the possibility of building a new stadium, featuring speedway, football and greyhound racing.

Although a new site is being considered, overhauling the existing stadium at Wimborne Road, which is set in the heart of Poole, is believed to be the favoured option.

GI CEO Clarke Osborne hopes the development will be completed in time for the 2017 season and moved to assure Pirates fans that racing should continue uninterrupted.

Ford admits he was unaware of the plans, which were confirmed in a statement on Tuesday. But he is happy to embrace any changes which bring better facilities for the Elite League champions.

Bikes have roared around Wimborne Road since 1948 and they will still be enthralling Dorset speedway fans in the long term.

Matt Ford

He said: “I have to confess I have been rather shocked by this statement from the stadium – it has come right out of the blue. I had no knowledge.

“If there is an opportunity to improve the stadium facilities then I will be absolutely thrilled. We will monitor the ongoing dialogue and I will be delighted to embrace anything that can make Poole Stadium better.

“But I will reiterate that the speedway will continue to run from March to October and we look forward to going out on track next month as the reigning Elite League champions.”

He added: “With our stunning fan base and incredibly rewarding success, I felt it only right to make it clear to all Pirate devotees and speedway fans in general that Poole Speedway are here for the long haul.

“We have just committed to a five-year contract with Sky Sports and we intend to honour that commitment. Bikes have roared around Wimborne Road since 1948 and they will still be enthralling Dorset speedway fans in the long term.

“I believe we represent the town of Poole in the most vociferous way. Last year alone Poole Pirates were shown on over 80 hours of TV time on Sky Sports – with aerial views of the area beaming around the world during their outside broadcast. This year will be no different.

“I am Poole born and bred – as are my two sons. I am staunchly passionate about everything to do with Poole and no-one has been prouder to bring national success to the town, along with world champions racing here.

“The fact we help enhance Poole tourism and can bring national titles to the town for me is a lifetime achievement fulfilled. If this is an opportunity to make the stadium better or help the town, then I think it’s something we should all be extremely positive about.”

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