Sheffield Tigers: Sponsor will have eye on the future during ‘big’ 2019

Ian Hunter of Sheffield Window Centre, the main sponsors of Sheffield Tigers
Ian Hunter of Sheffield Window Centre, the main sponsors of Sheffield Tigers
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Back in the Seventies, Ian Hunter would rather have stuck his fingers in a plug socket than go to watch four bikes racing around in circles.

But four decades later the self-confessed speedway nut is about to embark on what he hopes will be a lucky 13th year of sponsorship at Sheffield.

Ian - the boss at the successful Sheffield Window Centre - became disillusioned with some aspects of the sport and considered his Owlerton future - but he firmly believes 2019 will see speedway rejuvenated in the steel city following the switch to Sunday racing.

In the club's 90th anniversary year, it is a landmark move with the traditional Thursday racenight - which started back in 1930 and has continued almost ever since - having been ditched in the hope of attracting more family-based support onto the terraces.

It's a decision which has divided opinion in South Yorkshire - but Ian is firmly behind it.

"To me it's all about the future of speedway; bringing the kids in who will start to follow the sport from a young age. Thursdays haven't really allowed us to do that but Sundays will," he says.

"We are a family sport and that's what we need to develop. Speedway is showbusiness at the end of the day and it's a family-based showbusiness.

"The club is letting the under-16s in for free this year and that has to be good because it allows families to come and make it that much more affordable.

"The good thing about this coming season is that the Bates family as a whole really seemed to have dropped into gear and they look like they are going for it. There are so many positives and so many good ideas coming out of the camp."