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Diamonds "Granted" their wish, and race on in the Championship!
Tuesday 26th November 2019, 21:10 UK
LAWRENCE HEPPELL
Photo: Steve Brock
At the recent Annual General Meeting of Speedway's governing body, the BSPA, the management of the Newcastle Diamonds requested an extension to their declaration of intent to run in 2020 while they got their house in order, and the small wait has certainly been worth it!
 
The Diamonds will indeed shine on the shale once more, in the second tier of British Speedway, the SGB Championship led by new owner, former Diamonds' rider, Rob Grant Junior, who is the sole owner of the new organisation and is already injecting massive enthusiasm and positivity into the role taking the Diamonds into the most exciting and eagerly awaited period of the club's long history in years!

Grant Junior is a third-generation speedway rider with his father, Rob and grandfather Alec (Farmer) Grant having been local heroes in the past, Alec racing for Newcastle 73 years ago, back in 1946 for a few seasons before moving to Glasgow (Ashfield) and now, bringing the connection full-circle nearly three quarters of a century later, Rob Grant Jnr, heads the club, on the managerial side, into its 91st year, and with his business acumen and enthusiasm that has seen him successfully run his butcher's business for 15 years, indicating he is well set for a massively successful, and innovative time back at Brough Park.

Grant also has experience with the dog racing side of the stadium, and is well connected to their stadium staff having owned greyhounds and been a big part of that scene too, meaning the venue is embedded in his blood.

Grant is thrilled to find to be in a position to take the Diamonds into the future, saying: "From my outlook it seemed the future for he Diamonds was looking really bleak, so it didn't take long for me to think it through and make a move to take the reins myself, and negotiations went as smooth as you like, so now I cannot wait to get on to action all the plans I have for our 2020 Championship campaign.

"I want to thank Andrew Dalby, George English and Martin Phillips for keeping it running through the all-important 90th anniversary season, and while I will be the club owner, I'm delighted to report that I've agreed with George to stay on as team manager and co-promoter, and his vast experience with Newcastle Speedway and keeping a team competitive will be invaluable to the future of the Diamonds.

"I've done my sums, and when I say I've come in to take up the mantle for the 91st anniversary, it's my full intention to be planning, in nine-years time for the club's 100th anniversary! I'm not in this for the short haul and I'm determined to make this thrive. I have some fine contacts in the local commerce world and will be talking speedway to many of them with the sole view of making the Diamonds secure for the long-term future.

"With my day to day business I've many connections to other big events and have gained a lot of experience of how to put on a good show with some excellent contacts in the world of entertainment and I aim to bring some good old razzamatazz to the Sunday night entertainment at Brough Park by totally rejuvenating the whole buzz of a speedway night. I want to throw away the old book on how to present speedway and completely re-write it to give our supporters simply the best speedway experience possible.

"When fans come in to our speedway I want them to go away having had a brilliant night out, a thrilling night out and a total entertainment experience with everyone wanting the week to fly past so they can come again!

"Obviously the next step is putting a team together, and I can assure the supporters that as soon as we get names on contracts, signed and sealed, we will deliver them as soon as possible, but rest assured we're on it right now and the wait won't be long, and it will be competitive!"

Grant, with his vast connections to the Diamonds, will be hugely benefited by the continuation of George English in the role of team manager and co-promoter, a role he had held over 25 years, having first set foot into Brough Park in his early days in the pram, and his experience will be vital to the new Grant era at Newcastle Speedway.

Former Stoke Speedway supremo, Dave Tattum is also on board having worked with Grant in his racing days at Loomer Road and again comes bearing an enormous amount of experience and know-how which can only benefit the new venture, while Andrew Dalby will remain as financial adviser and secretary, another vital role in a successful new speedway venture.

Another man of vast speedway experience and knowledge, Neil Machin, who promoted Sheffield Tigers from 1992 to 2014, and more recently the Leicester Lions, has eagerly thrown his weight behind the new promotional venture at Newcastle and has no doubt in his mind that Grant is the man to turn Newcastle Diamonds fortunes round dramatically, saying: "My association with the Grant family goes back a long, long time with both Rob and his dad, but over the last few weeks its been an absolute pleasure, and I have to say great surprising experience to talk to young Rob about this thrilling new venture he is taking on.

"He reminds me of myself 27 and a half years ago when I took my first steps to take over a club not achieving like it should when I came into Sheffield, with burning ambition in my belly and belief in what I could do, and in Rob, believe me, I see that passion for Speedway in just the same way and with talking to him about his plans to take on the celebration of last years' 90th year, this guy grasps exactly how a big an occasion this is and he rates it as massive therefore he will get it done in a way that will have the public at Newcastle buzzing!

"His sort of enthusiasm and excitement, and his ideas will make a huge difference to Newcastle Speedway's presentation when it comes to 2020 hence my support, and he will be a breath of fresh air for the Diamonds with chat of fireworks, funfairs, and so many other entertainments, the one thing you can guarantee is Rob will give this his very best shot.

"In promotion his ideas are a new concept in speedway promotion and exactly what the Diamonds, and the sport, need. He is great with business and commerce and will attract major new sponsorship with switched on people, and he will do what it takes to give this a new fresh and vibrant feel.

"Like Sheffield was when I came in, Newcastle Speedway is a sleeping giant and it will be woken by Rob Grant who had no fear when it comes to reinventing promotion, and will embrace the changes needed to shake things up and get the people talking about speedway at Newcastle, successfully as he fully understands profit and costing, and the relation to longevity of his club and his plan is top class.

"Rob's business plan means there's no begging bowl to be shook, and he will just be out to sell his Newcastle Speedway product for what it is, a better Newcastle experience than ever before and I've looked over his plans, looking for problems or issues and I have to be honest and say I cannot for the life of me find anything wrong with his plans at all!

"Rob Grant will be a well-connected promoter for the Diamonds with his other business activities allowing him the chance to get speedway into the minds of so many people new to the sport with leaflets, displays and information getting out there and that can only be a good thing, the bang-on way to physically promote speedway. This will be a totally new Newcastle Speedway and in my opinion, Rob Grant will make this happen and all will fall into place.

"With George and Dave on board, this makes his promotion a hugely motivated and experienced set up and only boost Rob's own enthusiasm for success, and I for one simply with the guy, with hit exceptional promotional drive, all the very best in making Newcastle Speedway a forerunner in the new era of British Speedway and I wish him all the greatest success possible. This is a blueprint as good as any I've seen anywhere in the UK in 30 years - there's no one better to lead the Diamonds' push to the future than Rob Grant!"

*A talk-in has been arranged at the South Gosforth Social Club on Tuesday December 3rd 2019 at 7.00pm when fans have the chance to get to ask all the questions they want.

**Also fans planning their Christmas dinners can get all their meaty treats by visiting http://www.grantsbutchers.co.uk/ for the finest cuinary delights ready for your festive oven.... enjoy!!!
Last Updated: Tue 26 Nov 2019, 21:29 UK
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