I don’t think anyone was too surprised, given the leaflets that came out last summer, when the planning application was lodged to build on Belle Vue.
I suppose there will be people who will just roll over and think, ‘its Wimbledon or Hall Green. . . or White City or Harringay, or about 50 others all over again’. I suppose that is what the developers would want you to think. But, the way I see it, it should be a fight, we have nothing to lose by fighting our corner, however long that lasts.
As someone who regularly drives through Manchester, I am continually amazed at how the place is buzzing. Look up and the skyline is filled with builder’s cranes. There are new houses being built everywhere. When it comes to Gorton though, it is still an area with a lot of leisure facilities.
Belle Vue is surrounded by sporting facilities with a fantastic new speedway stadium just next door. I wonder how the racket from that would go down with home owners? I am also amazed that they didn’t try to incorporate greyhounds when they built that. Everybody knows that speedway struggles like greyhound racing to make it pay.
But as I have said many times, on a Saturday night, Belle Vue dogs is absolutely heaving. It must be the best attended track in the country. I am no expert, but there must be at least 2,000 through the gate.
It is all very well wanting housing, but people need leisure too and Belle Vue is a major part of that for the local community. The Friends of Belle Vue are tapping into that and I am confident that they will easily raise the 4,000 signatures that they are looking for. But I hope that lots of other greyhound people will support us by signing the letter produced by the campaign.
Just to finish on the subject, some tracks looked doomed to go from the start because the managements want it. The Belle Vue management aren’t able to go public with their views, but I am pretty confident that they don’t want to place to close.
We need to persuade the Council, because if they agree, we could end up with another situation like Oxford. Galliard Homes might have shut the place, but I bet they regret it now. How long would the owners of Belle Vue want to look at an empty site waiting for the council to change their mind?
So come on – join us and get stuck in.
We are cautiously optimistic about The Other Reg who has now had three sprint solo trials at Belle Vue on his return from injury.
It is now six months since he chipped a bone in his hock in a trial at Sheffield. Poor lad, he was trialling back after being knocked over in his last race which was The Select at Nottingham.
It is a case of ‘so far, so good’. I was really pleased with his 15.26 (calc) trial just before Christmas. He was back a bit in his last trial, but like the rest of us, he’d had a ‘good Christmas’ and his weight reflected that. But there was nothing wrong with the hock and he will have his first four-bender this week.
He has stripped down a bit slimmer, and realistically, he has to do a 27.80 if he is ever going to be the Reg of old. I know that the owners Mick and Mark Jones would never want to see him come back as a shadow of his former self and he would be retired.
But I am an optimist. He might be three and a half but he is a quality dog with a Laurels and Scottish Derby win behind him, but not a lot of racing. I would love to see him take his chance in the Derby at Nottingham.
I think Nottingham will put on a brilliant Derby and I can’t wait.
I was saying to someone the other day, given how he ran the place, what wouldn’t you give for a two year old Swift Hoffman about now?