Express & Star

Wolves' future in serious doubt as Monmore Green tenancy set to end

The future of Wolverhampton speedway is in serious jeopardy after the owners of Monmore Green decided to no longer stage the sport.

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Entain Group has informed Wolves their tenancy agreement will not be extended beyond the end of this year, with the club now set to be homeless after nearly a century of racing at the venue.

The bombshell news, which will send shockwaves through the sport, was delivered to long-time Wolves promoter Chris Van Straaten by Entain executives at a meeting last month.

In a statement issued on Monday morning, the company said it had made the decision in order to focus on a new Premier Greyhound Racing venue.

Wolves promoter Chris Van Straaten says 'his world has collapsed' after Monmore Green decision

Monmore currently hosts six greyhound meetings a week, with speedway taking place on Monday nights between March and October.

“Monmore has enjoyed a long and proud relationship with the Wolverhampton Wolves and this decision has not been taken lightly,” said Leo Walker, Entain’s transformation and experience director.

“However, following the launch of Premier Greyhound Racing we have taken a decision to centre our resource and investment on greyhound racing at the track.

“We understand that fans of Wolverhampton Wolves and Speedway will be disappointed by this news and we are supporting Chris Van Straaten, CEO of Wolverhampton Wolves, through this transition.”

Van Straaten, who has run Wolves since 1986 and is UK speedway’s longest-serving promoter, has been left devastated by the development.

He claims to have been offered a four-year licence to continue racing at Monmore as recently as February, though it is understood this is refuted by Entain.

Van Straaten said: “My world has collapsed. Discussions over a new three-year deal began last year. Nothing in these discussions gave me any indication a new contract would not be forthcoming.

“At the moment, I am on the floor. It has come as such an unexpected shock.”

Monmore is the UK’s oldest speedway track, having held its first meeting in 1929. Wolves currently compete in the Premiership, the top division of UK speedway.