Magda: Poole must pay up for Rickardsson
WORLD champion Tony Rickardsson could be frozen out of British speedway.The most exciting and crowd-pulling rider on the circuit is the subject of a war of words between Ipswich Evening Star Witches and Elite League rivals Poole Pirates.
By Elvin King
WORLD champion Tony Rickardsson could be frozen out of British speedway.
The most exciting and crowd-pulling rider on the circuit is the subject of a war of words between Ipswich Evening Star Witches and Elite League rivals Poole Pirates.
Ipswich own the 32-year-old five-time world champion and are demanding a transfer fee. They want to sell him to the Dorset club. Poole, on the other hand, only want to borrow him.
The Witches are refusing to budge and unless a settlement is agreed the popular Swede will find himself out in the cold.
Poole have already agreed personal terms with Rickardsson – and included him in their 2003 team – but Witches' director Magda Louis says they must now bite the bullet if they want to use him.
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"We made an offer to Tony in November to return to riding for us," explained Mrs Louis. "We couldn't agree a deal, so it was dropped.
"The same rules must apply to Poole. If they cannot afford Tony then they must drop him as well.
"We are no longer in a position where we can attract Tony to ride for us. So what is the point of keeping him?
"We have told Poole promoter Matt Ford so many times that we are not interested in another loan deal.
"They must purchase Tony from us if they want to use him. There will be no other way. They will have to bite the bullet."
Mrs Louis would not make public the figure she is asking for the sale of Rickardsson, who was a member of the Witches treble-winning side in 1998.
He was dropped the following year when Ipswich – unlike 2002 champions Wolverhampton – had to rip the heart out of their side. They were forced to rebuild a team on a 40-point combined average.
Rickardsson, who was first signed by Ipswich in 1991, moved to King's Lynn in 1999 and they originally intended to buy him.
But the instalment deal fell by the wayside, and Rickardsson reverted back to being an Ipswich asset.
"The fee we are asking is a reasonable one and it can be spread over two years," added Mrs Louis. "Tony is a multi-world champion and a huge draw through the turnstiles."
For the last two years Craig Boyce has been loaned by Ipswich from Poole and the Rickardsson loan deal in the other direction has been levied accordingly.
"We were more than interested in signing Bjarne Pedersen and Freddie Eriksson for our Elite League side this year, but were told in both cases that we had to buy them," added Mrs Louis.
"Both deals fell through, and the Tony Rickardsson one looks as though it will as well."
Ipswich still have one place to fill in their 2003 Elite League side, and with former King's Lynn rider Eriksson now out of the equation, speculation will mount as to who completes the side.
The seventh rider will also ride in the British League Cup side, which leaves two more places to fill.
Local teenager Matthew Wright – a Witches asset – is in contention for the number seven berth, which leaves a 4.50 average limit for the final position. A foreigner, possibly teenage Pole Rafal Kurmanski, is a likely target.