Seemond Stephens: Plymouth Devils can be the biggest team in the league
PLYMOUTH Devils legend Seemond Stephens believes the city speedway club could be the biggest in the Premier League.
The former Devils captain and ex-Exeter Falcon is one of the leading figures behind a five-man take-over of the Plymouth club.
Stephens, who is due to become the Devils' new promoter, said he believed the club would move forward.
The five-man consortium have raised funds to buy out former chairman and promoter Mike Bowden.
They have also negotiated a two-year lease with the governors of St Boniface College, the body responsible for their track at Marsh Mills.
Devils, who at one point looked as though they would vanish from the UK's speedway map, will start next year's season on March 15, when they compete in the regional round of the Premier League trophy.
Stephens said: "I'm very excited – at one point there was nothing going on and, hopefully, we can move forward.
"We've got 300,000 people in the Plymouth area and I think the club has got great potential.
"We have also got the population of Cornwall on our doorstep.
"I believe it could be the biggest club in the Premier League."
Devils have been attracting crowds of around 1,000 fans to home meetings, but Stephens believes that figure could triple.
"I'd like to see 3,000 people at the track on race nights," said Stephens.
"We've got some great supporters and I'm sure many of them will come back next season."
The consortium, who kicked off the takeover bid back in July, almost lost the club when talks with the college governors broke down.
Devils missed a deadline to declare they were running next year – but the British Speedway Promoters' Association gave them a time extension.
Devils got their two-year deal with the college governors just in time and Stephens paid tribute to the promoters' association (BSPA) for helping to keep the club in existence.
He said: "The promoters' association was brilliant and nobody more so than its chairman, Alex Harkness.
"He spoke to the college for us and if it hadn't been for him, I doubt anything would have been possible."
The consortium should move on to the Devils' circuit, the St Boniface Arena, in January to begin improvement works.
The plans include improvement work on the track and better facilities for fans.