Rathbone in tears as he tells fans he might quit Panthers
Speedway - Promoter sounds as though he’s had enough
Panthers promoter Ged Rathbone admits his two years in charge of the city club have taken their toll and he is giving serious thought about contuing in the role. That was what the Middlesbrough-based businessman told supporters in a tearful address following the final home meeting of the 2016 regular season on Monday night.
That meeting ended in a vital 46-43 success against Rye House which kept their Premier League play-off hopes alive.
But that still may not be enough to prevent Rathbone from calling time on his Panthers promotion.
Rathbone led a fan-backed effort to rescue the club from potential oblivion in late 2014, but he revealed that it has become a seven-day-per-week and year-round job for himself and partner, Lisa Fleming.
Rathbone said: “I have to take the blame for the way the season has gone. I make decisions with the help of my management staff so I take responsibility for things not going to plan.
“Other than letting Michael Palm Toft go, I still think we got pretty much every other move right. In fact we probably stood by some riders for too long.
“It has been very tough in these last few weeks as I’ve come in for a lot of personal abuse from certain people, but I will always stand by the decisions I make.
“I absolutely l ove this club, but the last two seasons have taken their toll and I’ll be giving the future plenty of thought over the next few weeks.
“I’ve got to seriously think about the amount of time, effort and money that has to go into running the club.
“Myself and Lisa have put a mammoth amount of work in to the club. It’s almost a seven-day-a-week business for us throughout the year and we need a life away from the sport as well.
“I’m not saying it is the end of Peterborough Speedway, or anything like that, but I have to make sure it is right for me.
“There are also a lot of things going on in the sport which are frustrating, and I also have to take things like that into account.
“I’ve been completely honest from the start and that’s not going to change.”
Rathbone insist she is proud of the fact the club has become self-sufficient during the past two seasons – and he applauded supporters for the part they have played in that.
He added: “I can honestly say that every bill got paid on time last season. We’re also on track to do the same again this year, and that is not easy in as port where a club can lose thousands on one meeting.
“The fans have been absolutely brilliant. The crowds have been really good for most of the season apart from a couple of meetings where there were obvious reasons for them being lower than usual.
“I don’t mind admitting we lost £5,000 on a home meeting against Scunthorpe in the summer and we’ll have lost somewhere between £3,000 and £4,000 again on Monday night against Rye House.
“Those are examples of what can happen when the fans don’t turn out in force and I’ve always said we need to be supported through thick and thin if the club is going to work.”
Panthers captain Ulrich Ostergaard leads the way in heat five against Rye House.