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 Crump will be back if Newport get the go ahead

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PostSubject: Crump will be back if Newport get the go ahead   Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:32 am

Crump will be back if Newport get the go ahead

Phil Crump has pledged to return to Newport - if the ambitious plans to build a new stadium incorporating speedway go ahead.

Crump, 41, rode in Australia last season on an occasional basis but his return to Newport would be in a managerial role.

He attended a get-together originally planned to say farewell to Somerton Park which is to be demolished later this month.

However as plans were unveiled the same day to build a new stadium incorporating an indoor sports hall and possibly a hotel there was hope for the first time that speedway might return to the town.

Architects' plans were on view for Coronation Park, a site on the banks of the River Usk by Newport's famous Transporter Bridge which is being refurbished.

Car Parking is a potential problem there, but Newport Borough Council have also suggested another potential and larger site.

Crump confirmed that he was interested in returning if the sport returns to the town.

"If the plans goes ahead and we can sort out a deal I will be there," he pledged. "It is a way off at the moment but we have just sold our house in Mildura and were planning to buy one in Brisbane.

"It means we are free to consider anything, and t his is the sort of managerial post that would appeal to me - especially in Newport where speedway could come back very successfully.

Gareth and Laurence Rogers, who have spent much tie and money in getting to the stage where the local authority appear to want speedway back stress they would welcome Crump's expertise, not least in the laying of a track.

"Somerton Park was a good home track and I loved it, but successive Newport teams found it hard on the away tracks," said Crump.

"As this is a virgin site I would envisage something about the size of the Reading track - we would not have to worry about a soccer pitch in the middle.

"It's a long way off yet, but hopefully the Leisure Committee meeting on September 7 will see further progress. I am very impressed with the plans and would like to be part of it.

"I'd definitely think of moving back here to give it a go," he confirmed.

Some 250 fans attended Somerton Park's farewell and many later joined Crump, his son Jason and Neil Street in a question and answer session.

Also present were former Wasps' favourites including first ever skipper Alby Golden, his successor Jon Erskine, Cyril Francis, Brian Woodward and Bob Hughes, who brought along a Weslake machine.

"Alby was still giving the orders," said Hughes laughing, as press and fans took photographs in what is now a derelict stadium.

Erskine surveyed the scene and said "It's progress I suppose, but it is sad because thousands of people had great nights out at speedway here.

"Looking back all of the years were great, and everyone has reminded me of the night I chased my then team-mate Bill Andrew after he nearly fenced me, I'm laughing now, I was't then," he chuckled.

Fans were urged to lobby their local councillors in Newport to support the scheme, which at the moment seems likely to be based away from Coronation Park though that preferred venue is not ruled out. Those from out of town were asked to express support.

Gareth Rogers indicated that Leisure officials had been on an undercover visit to Swindon with free access and were favourably impressed with the sport, which most had never seen.

All age groups were at Somerton Park, and a new 'Wacky Wasp' logo was launched along the style of American sports where merchandising is a vital source of income and free advertising.

There is some way to go of course and Laurence Rogers is the man with the task of arranging the private funding of such a project which may include greyhound racing and/or other sports in addition to other leisure facilities.

Newport County FC lost their Football League status in 1988 and the club subsequently moved out of town, leaving rugby as the only real spectator sport - so there is a need which speedway could help to fill in the Welsh border town as part of an overall leisure and sport package.

September 7 may be the key date but obviously the entire council can and will have a democratic vote before approval is given or refused so enthusiasts should make their feelings known.

The Welsh Speedway Supporters Association was a vital prerequisite to the submission of plans it will not be called the Newport Speedway Supporters' Club and continue with regular functions to keep the focus on speedway.

A booklet, priced 2.50, has been produced outlining the history of Newport from 1964 to 1977, while membership at 5 a year gives free admission to all functions and newsletters.

Updated news following the Leisure Committee meeting of the Newport Borough Council may be obtained from early Wednesday evening via Gareth Rogers on the Swindon Hotline on 0891-800671.

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