Rathbone remains at Peterborough Panthers even though he's sold the club

Owner Ged Rathbone has completed the sale of Peterborough Panthers . . . but will still be running the club.

Thursday, 15th November 2018, 6:45 am
Updated Thursday, 15th November 2018, 7:46 am
Ged Rathbone (right) with Panthers rider Ulrich Ostergaard.

Panthers have been bought by British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) chairman Keith ‘Buster’ Chapman.

It’s a deal which will see the club rise into the sport’s top flight – the SGB Premiership – after spending the past five seasons in the second tier.

Rathbone will also be remaining at the East of England Showground as promoter while Chapman now owns three of the seven clubs competing in the SGB Premiership in 2019.

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Rathbone said: “I am delighted to be entering into this commercial arrangement with Keith Chapman. This alliance combined with the continued support of our other stakeholders and sponsors will enable us to compete very successfully in the top flight of British Speedway.

“I would also like to thank our loyal fans for their continued support while the business has been for sale and while we have been getting ourselves ready for this great opportunity.”

It is a shock turn of events after Rathbone previously stated that the large amount of travelling to the city from his Middlesbrough home had taken its toll during his four-year reign at Panthers.

New owner Chapman has been in charge of King’s Lynn for many years while it was also announced yesterday, following the completion of the sport’s AGM, that he has bought another East Anglian club, Ipswich, as well.

The Witches, like Panthers, are making the jump from SGB Championship to SGB Premiership for 2019. They feature in a seven-team top flight along with reigning champions Poole, Lynn, Wolverhampton, Belle Vue and Swindon.

Speaking about his acquisition of Panthers, Chapman said: “I am delighted to be commercially supporting this great club as it transitions to the Premiership. Ged and his team will still be running the club. We are very excited for all who are connected with this great club”.

It is understood that Panthers co-promoter Neil Watson will continue in a role he occupied last year, but trophy-winning team manager Carl Johnson told the Peterborough Telegraph last night that he will not be part of the new set-up for 2019.