Yarmouth Stadium – Building the future on 70 Years of History
Tonight we celebrate 70 years of continuous racing and a bright future in an ever changing sport.
1946 on this day racing returned.
On the 7th December 1946, greyhound racing returned to Yarmouth Stadium, after the 2nd world war, the Stadium had been newly built in 1939 and briefly opened in 1940.
1940 Those 20 meetings were to prove invaluable
Those few pre-war meetings had given the Directors Len Franklin, Ernie Wedon and Cliff Yaxley, who all fortunately survived the war, the experience to deal with the crowds that flocked back to the venue in 1946.
1947 The East Anglian Greyhound Derby
1st East Anglian Greyhound Derby was scheduled for late August, the next summer, with the final on 3rd September 1947. The competition rapidly evolved into one of the `must win` greyhound events, in the calendar year. This September saw the 70th running.
1949 Speedway becomes part of the sporting mix
In 1949 the Yarmouth Bloaters Speedway team became part of the sporting entertainment offered at Yarmouth Stadium. A league meeting against Coventry provided an attendance record that will never be bettered at the current stadium, when over 11,000 spectators watched the match. These days the Safety at Sports Grounds maximum attendance figure is set at 5,000.
1963 Spedeworth Stock Car Racing
Speedway featured, on a non league basis just into the 1960’s. In 1963 a new motor sport took over, in the form of Stock Car Racing. Promoted back then by Les and Mavis Eaton, today Spedeworth International still provide the sporting action, on the tarmac raceway, Spedeworth is now owned and run by Deane and Janet Wood.
1960 was a pivotal time for greyhound and horse racing, high street Betting Shops were licensed. The rapid growth in shop numbers saw the `betting pound` moving away from the racecourses, into the betting shops. Without the financial support of a levy on bets placed in the betting shops, given to horse racing, more greyhound tracks succumbed to property developers, than horse race courses.
1970’s saw the refinement of the sand racecourses. In 1946 greyhound racing took place on grass tracks, with the increase in race meetings in the 60’s, grass was no longer `fit for purpose`.
1975 Greyhound racing at Yarmouth came under National Greyhound Racing Club rules, now called the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, under whose rules tonight’s racing is conducted.
1980’s Saw first the Raceview One Bar developed, then Raceview Two and the Diner, as racegoers expected ever improving facilities.
1990’s Saw major changes to the layout of the greyhound track, with the installation of a hare system developed in Swaffham and now virtually universal in Britain and Ireland. The banking of the race track has been adjusted in the intervening years, to ensure the safest possible racing, as the speeds of the racing greyhound has increased.
1999 Yarmouth Greyhound Homefinders is formed. The racing greyhounds, having previously been homed through area re-homing groups, now became the responsibility of this track based group. The success of `Homefinders`, currently homing over 130 greyhounds per year, is such that area groups now seldom have Yarmouth greyhounds to home. The success is all down to the co-operation between our volunteers and the greyhound trainers.
2006 On the 1st of December the Raceview Restaurant, with it’s three accompanying Executive Lounges were officially opened, just in time for what have become `sell out` Christmas party nights.
2007 A year of firsts.
Sky Sports features greyhound racing from Yarmouth for the first time, in June when we were asked to host the Television Trophy, a Marathon race that originated on BBC Television.
The Sky cameras returned in September that year to feature, for the first time, the East Anglian Greyhound Derby Final, the 61st running of the event.
Also in 2007 a BAGS contract is awarded to Yarmouth to broadcast it’s racing live into the betting shops on Monday and Wednesday evenings, from August Bank Holiday Monday through to Easter Monday. This continues to this day.
2013 Yarmouth featured three times on Sky Sports with The Trainers Championship in March, The TV Trophy returned in August, then The East Anglian Derby in September.
A Growing Audience
The potential audience for Yarmouth greyhound racing is now higher in any one year than at any time during the previous sixty years put together.
The Future – what will the next 70 years bring
Computer technology brings ever more diverse ways you can bet. As in the 1960’s when the new betting shops removed the need to visit a racecourse to place a bet, Computers, then iPads and now mobile phones, is leading to a contraction in the number of high street betting shops, as people no longer need to visit them to place a bet.
The Greyhound Media Group
In this 70th Anniversary year the Yarmouth Stadium company has joined with a group of like minded independent greyhound racecourses to form the Greyhound Me
dia Group, a company planning to take advantage of the opportunities for live streaming of their greyhound racing,in a betting market that is beginning to evolve globally.