Lions roar again

THEY’LL be dancing in the streets of Leicester tonight.

Well some people will be anyway. And good for them, because we know what it’s like to do a jig of joy at the prospect of our favourite sport coming back at long last.
Here on Teesside we had to wait 10 long years for speedway to return.
In that time the Boro had gone down and come back up again, the world’s computers had amazed us all by working normally instead of making kettles explode and planes fall from the sky at the start of the new millennium, and erstwhile American president Bill Clinton came and went in more ways than one.
Ten years – it’s a long time.
The good people of Leicester have had even longer to wait – 26 years in total to be exact.
Heck, when Blackbird Road closed its doors for the last time The Bill had only just started on the telly and we were all worried about the Russians nuking us but spent the summer bopping around to Give it Up by KC and the Sunshine Band in our white jackets and curly perms nonetheless.
Computers were great big things locked away in huge company annexes and operated only by boffins in white suits and thick glasses, a mobile was a thing they made out of coat hangers on Blue Peter at Christmas and Band Aid was the name of the plaster you put on your poorly finger after you’d cut it on some paper.
Yep, 1983 was so far back that we used to actually talk to each other face-to-face instead of sending messages ending in lol or lmao on Facebook or MSN.
But the good news this week is that the Lions are set to roar again next year – hopefully in the Premier League too, which means a new destination for Nealo’s Tours to add to its 2010 itinerary.
I’m too young (no sarky comments here, you lot) to remember JFK being shot, but they say anyone who was can remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news.
But I can remember my whereabouts when the all-clear was announced for the return of speedway to Teesside. I’d gleefully broken the story on the back page of the Gazette that plans were in place for a new track and that it was looking good.
It just needed those nice people on the council to agree with the rest of us that, far from being nasty, dirty, smelly sport that should be banished to the back of beyond, speedway is a fantastic family facility and a boost to the local economy.
The call to say it was all systems go had come as I was driving through Gateshead on my way up to Newcastle. And now every time I pass the handy bus stop I pulled into to take the call, I’m reminded of receiving that wonderful news.
I even spent days chanting “Speedway is back, speedway is back ‘elloooooooo” in the office. Ask the lads on the sports desk, they’ll tell you it’s true.
So to those people who have worked to hard to resurrect speedway in Leicester, I salute you – see you next year!


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