SHEFFIELD TIGERS: Neil Machin raps fans’ criticism over Glasgow defeat

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NEIL Machin has hit back at fans who have slammed the Sheffield management team of David Hoggart and Nigel Hinchliffe after Thursday’s home defeat to Glasgow.

The duo have come if for fierce criticism since the loss for their decision to put inexperienced number eight Jake Knight in heat 10, where the visitors had a tactical ride and went on to grab an 8-1.

Many fans have voiced their opinions over the internet, and some even confronted the management team vociferously after the meeting.

Tigers owner Machin, though, has dismissed that criticism. He said: “Jake Knight travelled the length and breadth of the country to help us out, we were 15 points ahead and we just wanted to show the same commitment to Jake as he had shown to us.

“You can only use your number eight in a rider replacement ride, so we had to go in heat 10, and we had a guy alongside him that hadn’t lost all night.

“We knew that by putting Jake in, Glasgow would probably use their last tactical ride and we were absolutely confident that Hugh (Skidmore) could go out and win that race.

“As it happens, he shed a chain but you cannot legislate for that. If you can’t give a bloke a ride when you are 15 points ahead with five heats to go, when can you?

“David and Nigel have made all the right decisions this year and the criticism is uncalled for. These guys plan their lives around Sheffield Speedway and our fixtures, and are they praised when they get a decision right?

“They can’t win, they are pounced on if they are deemed to have got something wrong but never get the other side. It’s easy to criticise in hindsight, but none of us have that benefit at the time.”