TIGERS owner Neil Machin has lifted the lid on the furious winter bust-up with local rivals Scunthorpe as the sides prepare to clash in Lincolnshire today (3pm).
Both clubs were involved in a very public dispute stemming from the handling of the deal that took Josh Auty away from Owlerton and down the M18 to the Scorpions.
Those issues have long since been talked about on the terraces but now Machin has given his story.
He said: “The whole thing started around the Josh Auty move.
“Because of the rules we operate under, we should be able to re-engage with a rider who is on loan to us if his parent club do not wish to use him the following year.
“That wasn’t the case with Josh Auty.
“We had paid his wages for two years and we were the last to know of his whereabouts for next year, which put us in a very difficult position.
“I didn’t know at the time, but there was clear involvement from Josh’s current Elite League club Birmingham.
“Perhaps if I’d have been made aware of what was happening at the time, this whole thing could have been avoided.
“Josh obviously decided to go with Birmingham in the Elite League and with them being a Thursday track too, he couldn’t have ridden for us.
“But we weren’t made aware of that, we just found out that he had signed for Scunthorpe.
“We weren’t given the courtesy of knowing what was actually taking place between the three parties.
“All it took was some communication.”
As well as losing Auty to the Lincolnshire side, 2011 Tiger Ashley Birks also decided to make the move back to his parent club, which disappointed Machin.
He said: “Myself and my colleagues felt that Ashley’s recall to Scunthorpe could have been handled better particularly as we had been allowed to make Ashley an offer and gained a commitment that he would confirm either way, we are still waiting for that call.
“So to say we were extremely disappointed is an understatement.
“Both things combined to create bad feeling between the clubs and there was a rift, certainly but there has been dialogue.
“I hope that we can rebuild the relationship in the fullness of time.”
SCUNTHORPE: David Howe, Tero Aarnio R/R, Carl Wilkinson, Tom Armstrong, Josh Auty, Michal Palm Toft, Ashley Birks.
SHEFFIELD: Josef Franc, Hugh Skidmore, Chris Schramm, Richard Hall, Ricky Wells, Emiliano Sanchez, Joe Haines.