It is 20 months since I was invited onto the GBGB board of directors, and roughly 19 months since I thought about resigning.
I remember sitting at my first board meetings and thinking ‘this is nothing but a stitch-up’.
The promoters seemed to have already sorted out exactly what they wanted, and the Chairman Tom Kelly and Chief Executive Barry Faulkner seemed happy to let them run the shop.
I had a number of conversations with various people, including the Star’s editor Floyd Amphlett, and soon realised certain things.
Firstly, there were going to be big changes to the Board, and secondly, if I did throw my toys out of the pram, then whoever followed me would have exactly the same problems and frustrations.
I actually had a bit of sympathy for Ricky Holloway when he tried to represent trainers, but his confrontational attitude was never going to work.
You can bang the table as often as you like, but what do you do next? Threaten? With what? A trainer’s strike? a) it would never be supported and b) it would be like shooting off your own foot for trainers who were already on the breadline.
It took a lot of wasted journeys and frustrated meetings but by plugging away and arguing against things that I thought were simply wrong, I gradually started to feel I was making a difference.
Sure enough, Floyd’s prophesy came true when Faulkner announced he was retiring late last year. I also started to realise that there were some good people among the promoters who would back me on various decisions.
The next big breakthrough though was the retirement of Tom Kelly.
I wasn’t really sure about Mark Bird in the early days. Would it be more of the same? Under Kelly/Faulkner , I had seen no sign of any innovation or new ideas.
Unless Mark Bird was able to take a completely fresh approach, I could see no use of purpose for the Board and no future for the industry.
It has been less than a year since Mark took over and much of his early time was spent getting the structure in place for reporting of injuries and retirements.
Since then, there has been a string of new ideas including the Greyhound Commitment, which is well worth reading, if you’ve never bothered. We now have ambassadors and an apprenticeship scheme with more ideas being rolled out all the time.
Which brings me to the forums and particularly Greyhoundscene. They gave me a pasting when I agreed to join the board with various disgraceful unfounded allegations about my retired dogs.
They were absolutely wrong but I had to spend many hours defending myself over their lies.
They had made their complaint to City Of London Police about corruption at GBGB which has now been found to be baseless.
So far, I am still to hear an acknowledgement that they were wrong, and apologies to all those people whose reputations they set out to destroy. Or maybe they sense another conspiracy? They do love a conspiracy at Greyhoundscene.
I can tell you – categorically – that I have seen no evidence of corruption, not even under the ‘old management’. NONE!
I have no reason to lie. I don’t get paid for being a director, have my own business and am beholding to nobody.
The corruption simply does not exist!
Incompetence certainly has. Quite frankly when I see some of the decisions that have been taken in the past, it makes me shudder.
How these people ever had the neck to think they could run the greyhound industry is beyond me.
Do I think there was corruption in the past? No, but there was immoral greed. But it was never hidden!
The promoters had so much power they didn’t even bother to hide what they were doing.
For example, in 2002, the Fund had income of £4.2m, of which £1.2m went to prize money grants, and £1m went to racecourse grants.
In 2017, £2.1m went prize money, £3m went to welfare and the total track grants was £116K and that included things like tractors and starting traps.
Yet still Greyhoundscene continues to churn out bile and lies against this industry and the people in it. Nothing positive, just badness.
Just like the stories they ran against me, they are regularly feeding the antis.
Have they not yet copped on? The antis do not want to see welfare improvements, they simply want greyhound tracks to close. Greyhoundscene are actively assisting them.
Despite there being a few members of the Greyhoundscene website who are totally beyond help, there are plenty who actually do care for the sport and its future.
To them I say – question the Board and its decisions. I do. But be constructive not destructive.
Disassociate yourselves with the cowards whose only aim is to create trouble for others.
They have personal vendettas and don’t care if the sport suffers as a result of their actions.
Things might not be perfect but let’s work together to make things better, to ensure that the sport does have a future.