Sandwell Cycle Speedway Club shellshocked following ransacking of club HQ. Here's the statement from Sandwell's Press Officer.
As sports clubs go, Sandwell Cycle Speedway Club are pretty small beer. The club, founded on a Birmingham bomb-site by one-time Everton footballer Fred Goode in 1948, and these days based in the grounds of Brades Lodge School in Lower City Road Tividale, don’t have much – only the facilities which the members have painstakingly constructed and maintained themselves over the years, but even so, still manage to provide local youths with many hours of exciting and entertaining cycle sport during the summer, and have produced a double World Champion, a European Champion, several British Champions and numerous riders of international standing.
Cycle Speedway is a small sport and Sandwell are a small club with only a limited if enthusiastic membership, these days fighting for survival against the growing competition from computer games and the numerous other attractions which appeal to modern youngsters, but the club battles on against the odds, and if the truth be known, hopes for the best.
The thoughts of club members can well be imagined then, when arriving at their home base last Sunday morning with the intention of working on the maintenance and improvement of their hard won resourses in preparation for the new racing season due to start at the end of March, it was discovered that unwelcome and unwanted other visitors had been to the site, and unable to force open the padlocked main door of the club’s portakabin clubroom, had smashing their way through the roof in order to indulge in a wrecking spree, smashing every item of equipment stored inside it.
Computer, printer, scanner, photocopier and other equipment were all ruined as was the club’s tannoy system. Photographs had been torn off the wall, papers, trophies and magazines scattered around the room. The intruders appeared to have shown little or no interest in theft, only in smashing every useable piece of electrical equipment they could lay their hands on, and not content with the damage they had done in the clubroom, they then turned their attentions to the club’s refreshment kiosk, smashing a microwave oven, a refrigerator, toaster, chip fryer and other cooking utensils before forcing apart one of the joints in the water supply and allowing the kiosk to flood.
This is not an unfamiliar story – we read continually of the premises of other sports clubs receiving similar treatment, but it is no less depressing and demoralising for the club members and more especially for the parents and friends who voluntary give up their spare time to perform unpaid duties as background officials only to find again and again that their time and their efforts have been wasted thanks to a body of low life who seem to have no sporting interest themselves but maintain a determination to prevent others from enjoyed any kind of pastime.
The police do their best to help, are sympathetic and disgusted when they survey all the damage, but the reality is that there is little prospect of their apprehending the people responsible, and as resigned club officials do their best to repair what has been smashed, they do so knowing full well that it is just a matter of time before the perpetrators come back to strike again.
Where will it all end?