Bowden hits out at Devils 'rumours'
PLYMOUTH Devils chairman Mike Bowden is insisting he will not sell the city speedway club unless he gets the right offer.
Bowden, also the Plymouth promoter, said he has put too much work into the Devils just to walk away from the club.
He is also fuming over 'speculation and rumours' surrounding a consortium's interest in buying Devils – and wanted to put the facts straight after his riders threatened to strike before Friday night's meeting against Berwick.
Bowden, who built the Devils with basically his bare hands, issued a statement as rumour piled upon rumour about the possible takeover of the club and the state of its finances.
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Bowden said: "I would like to clarify the position regarding the pay dispute with the riders on Friday evening as there are so many rumours at present regarding this club.
"The problem came about because Plymouth had five away meetings and, due to the host clubs not forwarding payment to me within the stipulated seven days along with the loss of meetings through rain offs and only one home meeting taking place during the month, the club was left short of funds.
"Once this was explained to the riders, they understood the position and were given payment for three meetings out of the club funds to address their grievances."
Bowden was also clearly upset about the takeover speculation.
Members of the consortium say they have the financial backing to buy the Premier League club, but the deal is being held up because they have yet to meet with the governors of St Boniface College, who hold the lease for Plymouth's circuit, St Boniface Arena.
The consortium want everything done and dusted before the British Speedway Promoters' Association annual meeting in November because they have to declare that the team will be running next season.
Bowden said: "There has been a lot of speculation regarding the takeover of Plymouth Speedway.
"There have been discussions with members of the proposed consortium, but no firm proposals have been agreed to take over the club and no money has changed hands.
"I would like to clarify my position as there have been so many inaccurate rumours and speculation about this matter.
"I am not prepared to give up Plymouth Speedway unless the right offer comes along and money is put on the table.
"Also, any sale would have to meet terms and conditions which are acceptable to me."
He added: "I started Plymouth Speedway back in 2006 and since then we have transformed a basic rugby pitch into an arena which is the home of one of the best supported Premier League tracks in the country.
"I am not prepared to just walk away after all the hard work that I have put in over the past seven years.
"The public do not realise what is entailed in running a Premier League speedway meeting.
"The home promoter has to pay the wages of both teams, but when a team rides away from home, the visiting promoter has to make up any shortfall in the wages of his own riders over and above the basic rate and several Plymouth riders are on agreements way above the basic figure.
"Also, there have been additional problems caused by two sponsors pulling out of deals with our riders due to the current economic situation."