Cradley Heathens: Monmore track decision leaves team without home

Monmore Green
Monmore Green is also one of the Midlands' main homes for greyhound racing

Cradley Heathens are once again looking for a new home after being told they will not be able to race next season at Monmore Green, their Wolverhampton base for the past four years.

The Heathens closed down after losing their own Dudley Wood track in 1995, but were revived in 2010.

They raced mostly at Monmore, while seeking a site to build a new track.

But Monmore's owners, Ladbrokes, have decided to allow only one night of speedway each week from now on.

Wolverhampton Wolves will retain their traditional Monday night slot and no new site has yet been found by the now homeless Heathens.

BBC WM's speedway reporter Mike Taylor
"This news puts the Heathens' future in serious doubt. Over a remarkable five-year period, they have proved that the appetite remained among fans for a team to race under the Heathens banner, attracting by far the largest crowds at National League level even without having their own home.
"It was already clear, though, that the Heathens had outgrown speedway's third tier and, with so many other clubs struggling, it would have been a huge lift for the sport had they been able to move up. The long search for a new home in the Dudley area has been frustrating.
"In the first season of their revival in 2010, Heathens meetings were shared between spare dates at Monmore and the Birmingham Brummies' Perry Barr track but, with the prospects of a Brummies team appearing in 2015 very much in the balance, such an arrangement may not be possible again anyway."

It is a further blow for Midlands speedway following Birmingham Brummies' failure to finish the Elite League season, while beaten play-off finalists Coventry Bees have only two more years left before developers are due to take over their home at Brandon.

In a statement, the Heathens acknowledged it was "a worrying time for supporters and riders alike".

The statement continued: "The management will make every effort to make alternative plans for the Heathens to be able to continue racing in 2015. We would like to assure loyal supporters this will in no way distract the club from our ongoing work in establishing a permanent home."

The Heathens are still on course to defend their National League and Knockout Cup titles.

They have a four-point advantage over King's Lynn going into the home leg of the Cup final at Monmore on 28 October, and lead by 10 points ahead of the second leg of the League Grand Final, away to the Coventry Storm, the following night.