Friends of Edinburgh Speedway
Friends of Edinburgh Speedway is a rather loose organisation which probably
contains everyone who is interested in the welfare of the Monarchs.
The original idea (which never actually happened) was to gather together all
the many good-natured, helpful Speedway fans at Powderhall and create an
organisation of people who would be available to provide any kind of help to
the Monarchs, when required. The only ones to be eliminated were the moaners
(and we know there are a few of those) and anyone looking for personal gain.
However the idea was overtaken rather dramatically in January 1991 when the
club directors were forced to say that if they couldn't raise £10,000 within a
week, the club would close.
I must admit that seemed like the end of the road to me. However one or two
people - and I recall Jim Henry and John Campbell being amongst them, suggested
that I should try to raise money at a public meeting.
I was still very doubtful, but when the following people pledged money right
away: David Kinvig, Jane Winthrop, Peter Elliot and Colin Mackie (on behalf of
the Partick Thistle Supporters Club) I decided to give it a try. I asked Roy
Baines (ex-Hibs and a Speedway fan) if he would help to get publicity and he
The meeting was called (via the Evening News) at Powderhall on a Tuesday in
January, but it was immediately obvious that the turnout was modest.
Nevertheless I put the position as clearly as I could and, amazingly, the
response was memorable.
I don't want to list individual donations (because the full details are lost on
an old Amstrad floppy!) but the amount pledged that night was about £12,000.
Very soon after that went up to £18,000 and more came in thereafter. The club
was saved because people wanted it to be so.
The fund raised was called the Fighting Fund, and every donor was made a member
of the FRIENDS OF EDINBURGH SPEEDWAY and that still stands.
Some fund-raising events were staged with the usual limited success. One of
these deserves a special mention, not because it raised much but because it was
memorable - a Sports Talk-In held in the British Legion, Portobello. The
turnout was pathetic but thanks largely to Tom McDougall, we had a remarkable
panel who gave those who did attend a great night: SCOTT HASTINGS (Rugby -
straight from Scotland training!), TONY HAND and MARTIN McKAY (Ice Hockey), IAN
DOYLE (Snooker Manager), GARY MACKAY (Hearts football), DOUGLAS RAE (BBC
broadcaster), TERRY LINDON (Berwick Speedway) and ALEX HARKESS (Edinburgh
speedway), plus an excellent chairman in Bill Lothian of the News.
All of the above were made members of FRIENDS OF EDINBURGH SPEEDWAY.
In October 1993 we started the Monarchs Grand Draw, and this is now the main
contribution of F.O.E.S. to Edinburgh Speedway.
Nowadays we also use F.O.E.S. to publish Speedway books etc., including TALES
FROM SCOTTISH SHALE and the ARMADALE HANDBOOK.
We don't have meetings, we don't have officials. Who are F.O.E.S. now then?
Well, are you interested in the future of Edinburgh Speedway and seeing the
Monarchs thrive? Then (unless you are a moaner or looking for personal gain)
you are a FRIEND OF EDINBURGH SPEEDWAY.