Long Eaton v Boston 1973
Last November, my article on 'Sky's coverage of the 1973 Long Eaton v Boston match' was featured on Speedway Plus. It drew a few comments from the riders involved on the night and recently, Arthur Price who was the 'Cudas skipper that evening, contacted me with a few comments.
Importantly, Arthur also wrote about his memories of attending the subsequent SCB tribunal.
I'm sure Speedway Plus followers will be interested.
"Ian Gill, I've been after you!
I thought that 1973 Long Eaton v Boston (how it would be today on Sky TV) match report you did was really good, but I have one criticism. I thought you made me far too talkative in my interview with Charlie (Webster). Where on earth did you get the idea I could be so informative?
I was, of course, only joking about the informative bit!
You'd got me down for saying "Yes" or "No" to every question and I thought that was crack on!
Long Eaton was a great 'proper' speedway track shape-wise but the surface was rarely good. I heard that someone had concreted the base and that the shale had to be laid on top, thus creating a patchy surface.
I was reminded of the match by friends John Baxter and Jon Molson talking about it a couple of weeks ago. Incidentally, did Roger Mills get the 'Man of the Match' award for knocking both me and Carl Glover off in one race?
What I remember most about the meeting is what went on in the weeks following the controversy.
I was informed I had to go to a Speedway Control Board tribunal about the match as I was Boston's captain on the night in question. The tribunal was held at their offices in Belgrave Square, London.
I travelled down by train and also on it was the match referee Mr Todd. He was a nice bloke.
I met up with Gordon Parkins and Cyril Crane somewhere in London and off we went to explain why, because of the poor track conditions, the referee was right to change the match from a League fixture to a challenge match part way through. Unfortunately, I don't remember the events within the Control Board offices, but the upshot was the decision went our way.
The highlight of the day that I do remember was coming out of the courtroom and starting our descent down the plush marble stairway. Ivor Brown (Long Eaton promoter), Cyril, Gordon and myself were all walking down together when Cyril started goading Ivor about the result of the hearing.
I'll never forget the look on Ivor's face and I thought to myself, "He's going to kill Cyril!"
I know Cyril always thought of himself as a bit of a tough guy, but Ivor was seething, so if anything would have started, my money would have been on Ivor!
At the time, I was getting on OK with Cyril and I'd always hated Ivor from the time I was a fan.
He was a brilliant, brilliant rider for Cradley but I could never forgive him for the way he had stuffed my hero Graham Warren into the fence in a Wolves v Cradley derby.
However, with the tension rising, I decided to show my solidarity with Cyril (well, I would have held his coat - or picked him up off the floor, if the fight had kicked off!) and with Gordon riding shotgun, three meaner-looking hombres you couldn't have met, so Ivor, realising he was outnumbered, backed off.
Mind you, he must have been so mad about the decision that he put in an appeal against the result straightaway.
The other thing I recall about the day was that after the confrontation, Gordon suggested that we went for a meal, so we followed him down the stairs of the plush (from the inside) but none-too-impressive-from-the-outside building, through some double doors and I was gob-smacked to see a great big swimming pool with tables and waiters around the outside. It was a really busy place and a real insight into how the other half lived at a time when speedway as a sport was really something and qualified to move in high circles.
Gordon seemed well at home there and I remember after finding a table he summoned a waiter and ordered smoked salmon. When it arrived, there was hardly anything on the plate but it still probably cost a fortune.
More than likely, Cyril paid!"
Great memories from Arthur!
This article was first published on 11th October 2015
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