Hans' happy ending
HANS Andersen is set to enjoy a fairytale end to the speedway season.Ipswich Evening Star Witches' management confirmed last night that they want the 23-year-old Dane in their team in 2005.
By Elvin King
HANS Andersen is set to enjoy a fairytale end to the speedway season.
Ipswich Evening Star Witches' management confirmed last night that they want the 23-year-old Dane in their team in 2005.
It has been a turbulent year for the high-flying star, but by top-scoring in last night's 46-43 victory at Arena-Essex in the first leg of the Knock-Out Cup semi-final, Andersen has healed any remaining wounds left over from his World Cup controversy.
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Many Witches' fans wanted him out of the side after he was accused of helping Sweden beat Great Britain in the final race of the world final at Poole in August.
Andersen missed three Ipswich matches with a hand injury after severe criticism and threats were made immediately after that meeting.
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Since coming back into the side, Andersen has gradually won over all but his fiercest critics on the Foxhall terraces.
The Witches ride the second leg at Foxhall Stadium tonight (start 7.30pm) and an aggregate victory will book them an intriguing final - almost certainly against league champions-elect Poole in a fortnight.
A two-legged match against the Pirates will give the riders a chance to vent their frustration at failing to take the 2005 championship ahead of the Dorset side.
Andersen will be in the thick of the battle. He scored 13 points last night and said today: “I don't want to talk about next year until after the Knock-Out Cup is won.
“I will be happy to stay with Ipswich - and will sit down and talk to them.
“I have had approaches from other clubs already and two have been made officially through my parent club Poole.”
Witches' director Magda Louis, who was in the Arena-Essex pits to offer support, confirmed that Andersen would be welcomed back.
She said: “We want Hans to stay. We know that there has been other interest and we will deal through Poole, which is the proper channel.
“Hans has missed just three meetings for us and apart from that he has been a model of consistency and has been excellent to work with.
“Scott Nicholls has been a wonderful front man and skipper and we naturally want him to stay as well in 2005.
“Hans has also done a magnificent job - like the rest of the team - and he is certainly in our plans for next year.”
This is something the rider would have been surprised to hear just two months ago.
But time - and a succession of good meetings including a top score at Wolves last week - has seen Andersen turn from villain to hero in the eyes of Ipswich fans.