Sheffield Tigers owner Neil Machin has dropped a bombshell just days before their biggest meeting of the year by putting the club up for sale.
Machin has been in charge at Owlerton for 21 years but says he has lost a lot of his enthusiasm and he is ready to step aside. And that means one of his last acts in charge of the club could be this Sunday when he hosts the Premier League Riders’ Championship, the biggest event on the domestic calendar.
He said: “I don’t believe you can do the job I’m trying to do without a level of enthusiasm. There have been interested parties and I’m considering what’s on the table. Some, I believe, are unrealistic and unsuitabl. You have to remember that I’ve formulated a business over the last 21 years that depends on quality people in key areas.
“I’m only the custodian of the licence at Sheffield Speedway. The fact that it’s gone on for so long is only because I believed in what I was doing” said Machin.
“I’ve always said that I want to hand the business on in better shape than when I came in. That’s the basic framework and we are one of the very few limited companies in speedway that people can acquire because it’s never had any debt and never owed anyone a penny and never will do while I’m here. I will stand proud of my achievements.
“We haven’t won everything, we haven’t been the best team in the land, dominating everything and cheque-booking our way to success. We have had commercial sense. We haven’t had the resource and we certainly weren’t going to try and buy silverware.
“Sheffield is a sleeping giant. It’s the best stadium in British Speedway and the result of enormous investment and it’s bang in the centre of the country.
“The history here is something to be proud of, dating back to 1928, and it is a famous venue. What venue do you know that’s had £12 million invested into it?”
Machin refuses to be drawn on whether the sport will continue in the city if no suitable buyer or deal can be agreed.
He has, however, said he would be happy to offer help and advice to anyone coming into the club for the first season of new ownership