National League return in the frame for Devils
MIKE BOWDEN will opt for a return to the National Speedway League next year now it seems likely he will lead Plymouth Devils in 2013.
Promoter Bowden says he is in pole position to take charge of Devils' fortunes for a seventh season after claiming a rival consortium's bid to replace him at St Boniface Arena had failed.
Bowden was in no doubt that the four-man consortium was out of the running, boldly insisting: 'It's either me in charge of Devils next season or there'll be no speedway in Plymouth'.
And the racing, argued Bowden, will be in the National League which Plymouth last competed in two years' ago.
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Bowden said dropping down from British speedway's second tier to National League level made sound financial sense for the 'one-man operation' he feels Devils will remain for the foreseeable future.
He admitted to favouring a regional variation to whichever league Devils are in next term, to cut down on costly away trips like those to Scotland and the north east which formed a good part of his fixtures in the Premier League.
"I would favour a regional league as there are a lot of northern and Scottish-based teams in the league but you just have to go along with whatever the make-up of the league is.
However, Bowden admitted Devils fans will have to wait until after British speedway's AGM in Coventry in mid-November, when 'I'll have a clearer picture of where we (Plymouth) will be'.
But given the long-running saga of just who would be heading Devils, Bowden had no hesitation in stating he will be representing the club at the three-day AGM (November 16-18) in the West Midlands.
He believed the consortium's bid failed because they were unable to secure a long lease on the stadium after a meeting with St Boniface College's governors.
Bowden said: "The track is there, I'm still there and have the (promoter's) licence and we have a very, very good fan base.
"So rest assured, Plymouth will have speedway in 2013.
"The consortium have stated unless they have a long lease they will not be taking it (Devils) over.
"So, the people of Plymouth have to realise that it's speedway with me or there will be no speedway at all.
"But unless a wealthy businessman comes in to assist me financially, one man cannot run Premier League speedway by himself. The last two seasons (in the Premier League) have taken a lot of my own money personally.
"And I'm not prepared to put my own business at risk by paying for people to watch speedway and me paying to go to work.
"We had five good years at National League level, but nobody knows what is going to happen until after the AGM.
"At the AGM I will find out just which league we're going to go in and which costs are going to be affected for riders, which is a problem worldwide.
"But we'll just have to wait and see until after the AGM where every club in the country will have their say and their vote."
Bowden added he expects to have a new team manager next term, with a 'strong and experienced candidate' ready to replace Lee Trigger, who has stated publicly he would not work again under the present promoter.
"There certainly will be changes at management level; I've already got a new (un-named) team manager set to come as Lee Trigger said he wouldn't be with us."