Kevin Boothby, Managing Director at Oxford Stadium, spoke to the Oxford Mail ahead to the launch of a new era at the multi-purpose Cowley venue
I will never forget the day we received the keys to Oxford Stadium when our regeneration project was launched in June of last year.
For a facility which had been closed for almost a decade, it remained in eerily good condition. Untouched pint glasses from that final night on December 29, 2012, sat on tables, race cards were scattered across the restaurant and hairdryers in our leisure facility still worked.
It was like stepping back in time. The scale of the project ahead quickly became apparent, and that’s without considering work outside on the terraces, in the kennels and on the greyhound and speedway tracks which resembled a jungle.
Tonight, the tireless work of our grounds staff, trades teams and those working behind the scenes will come to life when 2,000 people enter our turnstiles to mark the beginning of our new era.
When 7.30pm arrives and Oxford Cheetahs take to track, I am sure there will be a few teary eyes in the crowd. It will be a historic moment for not only Oxford Stadium, but the city too.
Reflecting on the hours before news of our 10-year lease was confirmed, it was in my mind that speedway racing would return to Oxford Stadium in 2023. The response to our reopening was staggering, the demand to bring speedway back was overwhelming.
We simply had to find a way to register a team for the 2022 season – and we did it. Not only that, but we’ve put together a team packed with star names led by three-times World Champion Jason Crump.
Our second team Oxford Chargers will also proudly represent the city in the National Development League, and plans are in place to setup an academy to support new and existing riders.