Speedway: 'I'm going nowhere' says Sheffield Tigers' co-promoter Damien Bates

Sheffield Tigers
Sheffield Tigers

Sheffield co-promoter Damien Bates insists he’s going nowhere – and is determined to put things right next season.

It’s been a torrid league campaign for the club who find themselves bottom of the Championship despite being reigning Champions.

Club owners have received criticism during the troubled campaign but Bates has reiterated the club’s record since he took over and has reminded supporters that things could be a lot worse.

“We’ve had individual and team honours from the moment we walked through the door,” he said.

“Simon (Stead) won the Premier League Riders’ Championship in 2014, the same year that (Josh) won the British Under-21s for the first time.

“Those two both then claimed the exact same titles two years later in 2016 and Josh also won the British Under-19s the year before that.

“We’ve won the Pairs two years running and of course we won the league for the first time in well over a decade last season.

“I do think some people forget what we’ve achieved, as well as our riders, since we took over and even when we haven’t gone all the way we’ve still finished runners-up or made the semison a few occasions.

“So to me that’s not a bad record at all and for me it’s been five very successful seasons and there’s not too many clubs who can say they’ve won what our teams and riders have.

“I totally understand why they’ve been so frustrated with the way this season has gone – but how many teams win the league back-to-back?

“I’m a Sheffield fan myself at heart and that’s why I do understand the frustration that we haven’t put on more of a challenge, but some of the abuse we’ve copped is totally unjustified and unfair in my opinion.

“The time, effort and money we have put into this place and continue to put into Sheffield Speedway to make it a club to be proud of perhaps goes unrecognised at times.

“But for people to get on our backs over one bad league campaign does hurt and I’m hoping we can all pull in the same direction over the winter and in to 2019.

“Regardless of what people currently think, I’m here for the long term and I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure Sheffield are challenging for the title again next season.”