ALMOST 90 years of sporting heritage will be lost to Hall Green next month when the traps rise for the final time at Hall Green Greyhound Stadium.
Built on a farm in 1927, Hall Green Greyhound Stadium has hosted greyhound racing every week for decades – attracting millions of punters and dog enthusiasts since it first opened.
But now all that heritage will be lost and turned into housing after the stadium hosts its final race night on Saturday (July 29) following the decision to scrap the track’s two weekly fixtures.
It’s another bitter blow for greyhound racing, which earlier this year lost the home of the prestigious Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon.
The sport has witnessed a steady decline in the past 30 years with stadiums closing across the country, including Wimbledon Stadium – home of the prestigious Greyhound Derby – earlier this year.
More than 100 people have been made redundant due to the stadium’s closure, though trainers and their dogs have been relocated to what is now Birmingham’s only greyhound racing facility in Perry Barr.
Speaking to The Observer, Clive Feltham – managing director of the Greyhound Racing Association, said it’s a huge loss to the region on what would’ve been Hall Green’s 90th anniversary.
He said: “It’s incredibly sad.
“This would’ve been our 90th year, but instead more than 100 people have had to be made redundant as we don’t have a facility to support them anymore.
“Lots of families are involved at the stadium and many people have been working very hard for a long time.
“The only positive from this outcome is that we’ve been able to transfer the trainers, dogs, and owners from Hall Green to Perry Barr.”
Feltham witnessed the rise of Hall Green Stadium as it introduced a hotel, snooker hall, additional restaurant, and a new grandstand two decades ago.
But as financial difficulties hit the country in the early 90s and then late 2000s, Hall Green struggled to attract its regular flow of customers – and attendances slowly fell.
Feltham said: “Things got tougher in times of austerity.
“People stopped coming out at weekends and those who used to visit regularly started coming just once a year.
“Nowadays people can bet online 24/7 and some traditional racegoers have filtered out.
“We sit on 12 acres which is now very valuable.
“When the stadium was built it was – at the time – a farm.
“But now it’s in the middle of a large community.
“It’s a great viewing track, one of the best in the country in my opinion – I hope we see many people join together for our final race night next month and give Hall Green a good send off.”
Meanwhile campaigners fighting to stop greyhound racing at Hall Green were delighted with the news of the stadium’s closure.
The Greyt Exploitations Facebook page, which campaigns to raise awareness of the ‘exploitation of greyhounds’ in the UK, said: “Good news comes with the announcement that Hall Green dog track will close on July 29th.
“Time to celebrate.
“Well done to those who campaigned tirelessly for its closure and to the advocates who peacefully protested at Hall Green.”