I HAVE managed to refrain from commenting on the ridiculous stand-off between the Swindon Robins and Peterborough Panthers for a couple of months, but I just can’t do it any longer.
Now Hans Andersen has finally been able to secure his return to Blunsdon there is light at the end of the tunnel, and only Troy Batchelor’s signature remains before we can all get on with what we really want to be doing, watching some top-quality racing.
The feud has once again ensured speedway has suffered a winter of discontent, but given we all knew from the outset that the Panthers would use Kenneth Bjerre and Linus Sundstrom and the Robins wanted Hans and Troy as their top two, how has it been allowed to rumble on for so long?
By owning three out-and-out number ones in Andersen, Bjerre and Niels-Kristian Iversen, Peterborough have held all the cards, and earned that right having heavily invested in their asset base which includes the likes of Ryan Sullivan, Michael Jepsen Jensen and, more fool them, both Drymls.
But they obviously were never going to be able to use them all, so must have been well-aware that many of their assets would be riding elsewhere in British speedway.
They are entitled to want to sell, of course they are, but that doesn’t mean the Robins or any other club should be obliged to buy, that isn’t how the world works. They never wanted to use Hans or Troy and by the letter of the speedway law, that makes them available for loan.
The public spat conducted largely through this newspaper and our counterpart in Peterborough did not help the sport’s image in any way, but it was nothing more than two parties trying to protect their own businesses.
We can’t blame them for that, although both sides probably could have handled things a little better.
For me, the one body that does need to take a long, hard look at themselves are the BSPA. What on earth is the point in holding meetings to ‘decide’ the outcome of these disputes and then not publish a definite response?
The sport’s governing body’s failure to make a black and white decision has caused all of these problems, with both sides being told different things by different members of the management committee.
Both the Robins and the Panthers, it seems, were told what the BSPA thought they wanted to hear, and those Chinese whispers only proved fuel for the fire.
All it would have taken would have been a simple press release or website update declaring what decisions had been made and this would all have been so much simpler.
Until the BSPA change the way they work, I fear we are going to be in this same mess every winter, which will only further damage a sport which sadly is all too easy to mock.
Now, who the hell are Belle Vue going to sign to complete their side?