THE HARE is well and truly running at Hall Green Greyhound Stadium as the south Birmingham venue prepares for a full winter calendar – and organisers and ready for the challenge ahead.
With a range of affordable packages available to spectators, Hall Green Stadium races on Friday and Saturday nights with four figure crowds regularly attending race-nights.
Greyhound Racing was once one of Britain’s most attended sports and attracted crowds as large as 50,000 at venues including Wembley, White City and Belle Vue.
Currently, following a survey, the sport is the fifth highest attended sport in the UK – ranking behind Football, Rugby Union, Horse Racing and Cricket.
Observer reporter Shaun Reynolds spent a night at the dogs with the people involved and those regulars who lives are dedicated to both the sport and Greyhounds as well.
Speaking to the paper, Chris Black, Duty Manager at Hall Green Stadium, said: “Having worked at Hall Green Stadium for a number of years it was fantastic for me to become Duty Manager for the stadium.
“Being able to deliver a night of live Greyhound Racing with excellent customer service along with the electric atmosphere created by our customers as they cheer the dogs home gives me great satisfaction.”
Mr Black believes that Hall Green Stadium is the ideal night out for a range of occasions – families, hen parties and youngsters often turn out in force at the venue.
He added: “Greyhound Racing is fantastic and entertaining night out for all the family with up to 14 live races throughout the night.
“We have a grandstand restaurant which overlooks the entire track, as well as our Blue Riband restaurant which offers exclusive hire during the year – we also have four private executive suites and an on-site hotel.
“We receive great feedback from our customers with many saying they forgot how good a night out is.”
Like any sport involving animals, Greyhound Racing has fallen under an umbrella of criticism – regarding the welfare of the dogs – from a minority, ever since the sport started in the 1920’s.
Simon Gray, Chairman of the Hall Green retired Greyhound Trust commented that the stadium – and trust – re-home hundreds of Greyhounds each year and was confident in stating the dogs that race are some of the best looked after animals in the country.
He said: “The Retired Greyhound Trust works with the racing industry to enable all greyhounds that race at Hall green the opportunity to come into a retirement scheme and then a home.
“When the Greyhounds are racing, they are fed on a very high protein diet so they have lots of energy – in the same way an Olympic athlete would.
“Once they come out of that cycle then just a 15 minute walk twice a day is ideal – they’ll spend the rest of the day sleeping and are the original couched potato.”
For more information about the Hall Green Greyhound Racing, and the Hall Green retired Greyhound Trust, visit www.lovethedogs.co.uk