British speedway great Joe Screen is Sheffield’s new manager in a shock move by the incoming club owners.
And in a whirlwind 24-hours for the Owlerton outfit, they last night concluded a deal to bring in local youngster Josh Bates at reserve to join Simon Stead and Adam Roynon in the 2014 side.
Screen, who quit the sport after a glittering career at the end of last season, has accepted the position after skipper Simon Stead proposed him to the consortium taking over at Owlerton. And the 41-year-old former Bradford and Belle Vue man has also revealed how he spent part of his childhood on the Sheffield terraces.
Screen said: “It’s a very exciting opportunity for me and I’m so pleased to remain involved in the sport after my retirement. I thought I might have been working with Richie Worrall but it all became a bit too much when you added up all his fixtures with Ipswich, Belle Vue and other meetings he wants to do.
“I’m keen to do some work with Gary Havelock on training youngsters but he’s committed to Coventry so joining Sheffield is fantastic timing for me. It’s mainly down to Simon Stead. He called me a couple of weeks ago and ran the idea past me to be a coach at Sheffield and then they asked me to be team manager.
“It all went a bit quiet after that and I was texting Simon asking what was going on, I was worried it might have stalled for some reason, so I’m really pleased it’s been sorted.
“I like Sheffield; I’ve always enjoyed going there and it’s one big regret of my career that I never got the chance to ride for them - especially when I moved into the Premier League.
“I was born in Chesterfield and my Dad was a big Sheffield fan. I went along and watched the likes of Kelly and Shawn Moran when I was young and before that Reg Wilson and Doug Wyer. It’s nice to finally join Sheffield Tigers, even though it’s not as a rider.”
And Screen is delighted to welcome local teenager Bates to the side.
“I think I can offer some help to Josh, the boy has got some talent on a bike,” said Screen, a two-time British champion.
“I know him and he’s a good signing for the club. I’m pleased with the way the team is coming together.”