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Bradford campaigner wants speedway role in Bradford’s history recognised
A speedway fan is calling for the sport to be included in a subway mural near Odsal Stadium in Bradford.
John Murphy wants recognition for the sport he said provided “fabulous entertainment for thousands” in the city over the years.
His plea comes after seeing Bradford City artwork in subways near Jacobs Well and hearing of plans for Bradford Bulls murals near Odsal.
Mr Murphy said: “If the subways next to Odsal are going to have murals relating to the area, speedway must have a place.
“As long as the track still physically exists inside the stadium, the spirit of the sport can easily live on outside the stadium. And what a unique way for Bradford to do something that doesn’t exist anywhere else in speedway, to my knowledge.”
Mr Murphy suggested an artwork featuring Bradford speedway legend Gary Havelock, as well as two other faces synonymous with Odsal.
“My suggestion for a speedway mural is the faces of Erik Gundersen, 1985 Odsal winner, Per Jonsson, 1990 Odsal winner, with the face of Bradford captain and 1990 World Champion Gary Havelock in the middle.
“Other detail could be added but in that image we have a wonderful, cosmopolitan image – Erik from Denmark, Per from Sweden, Gary from England. “There is extra poignancy in the fact Gundersen and Jonsson suffered serious injury in later years and brought their glittering careers to a harsh end.”
Councillor Andrew Thornton backed Mr Murphy’s campaign.
He said: “I agree some recognition is appropriate. They are planning something up there, planning to repaint, but I’m not sure where they are with the design. It’s in the very early stages.”
He added: “I believe speedway has got some merit to be included there. Clearly there is a history there, and some recognition up there would be quite good.”
Coun Thornton also said: “Some of the streets on the new development that is happening next to the stadium are being named after speedway riders.”
Mr Murphy added: “Whether speedway runs in Bradford or not, one thing will never change – our city played its part for many years in providing fabulous entertainment for thousands of Bradford speedway followers, over three generations.
“Many of those people still live in Bradford and how wonderful it would be for the Council to say ‘yes, we remember you and here is our way of ensuring the place of speedway, along with football and rugby, is respected as something that brought prestige to the city’.”
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