"An excellent and first-class article by Ken Nicholson, on the comparisons between wrestling and speedway promotion. Co-incidentally I have been involved in both, although in truth I could never describe myself as a speedway "promoter", just part of a consortium for a year.
Nevertheless, having had experience of both ventures, I must say that those involved in the wrestling business always thrive for, and on, publicity and go out of their way to generate it. Speedway has lost its showmen, be it riders or promoters. Garry Middleton always put a few bums on seats back in the 70's, and in my view the sport at the highest levels is all the poorer for the absence of Len Silver. "Uncle Len" knew how to pack them in at Hackney, the same as Johnnie Hoskins did in the post-war years.
You can't lay all of the blame at the door of the BSPA, the FIM with their ridiculous start-rules and other things must take their share. Sadly speedway is facing an inexorable decline unless and until individual promoters are prepared to hand over the running of the sport to one individual, as John Berry offered to do back in 1986, before being unceremoniously rejected. Cut out the delays and bring back the old "two-hour" evening where 13 heats and a full 2nd half were completed within that time. Referees need to get the 2 minute warning on much quicker as well. No wonder the season no longer ends on Oct 31 - with the current long delays at each meeting there would be nobody left who'd want to stand around in the cold that long these days."
"An excellent article by Ken who I assume must of a similar age to myself as I remember the wrestling. Even as a youth I knew wrestling was fake, let's face it if you twist someone's arm too far up their back, smash them in the face with your elbow or drop from a great height onto them the re's going to be serious damage but as Ken pointed out they were showmen and the promoters knew how to promote it.
WWF is exactly the same except the wrestlers are more professionally fit and muscular than the old British wrestlers who tended to be fat, Hulk Hogan and the Rock had replaced Mick McManus and Big Daddy (real name Shirley Crabtree), yes true, Shirley. Also we do love to hate a baddie but political correctness has done away with that, us of an older age remembering riders like Bob Dugard (Wimbledon), Arthur Browning (Birmingham), Jack 'The Villain' Millen, Malcolm Ballad (Eastbourne) to name a few who weren't afraid to ride hard and ride opponents into the fence, and in later years we had the likes of your Tomasz Gollob's (we all remember Craig Boyce decking him at the British GB at Hackney) and not forgetting everybody's favourite Nicky Pedersen.
Unfortunately I can't see speedway in Britain improving because of all the reasons Ken gives us. The only speedway that I as a retired person living in London gets to see is the weekly Swedish league on Freeview Sports or catching up with the GP or occasional British League match on You-Tube. Just as a footnote besides poor promotions I think one of the major reasons for the demise is there is too few promoter owned purpose built stadiums. Swedish Speedway seems to be surviving with purpose built stadiums, no guest riders simply rider replacement. "