Tuesday December 10, 2013
CRADLEY Heath, one of the most famous names in world speedway, will defend the National League championship next season.

Heathens bosses have brought back the name to replace their Dudley identity and will continue to race at Wolverhampton throughout the 2014 campaign.

It means Cradley Heathens will ride in a competitive league for the first time since 1996 after replacing Dudley.
Management trio Nigel Pearson, Chris Van Straaten and Gary Patchett have also moved to assure fans it doesn’t mean the end of their search for a new home in the area.

Heathens were reformed for the 2010 season from the ashes of the old Dudley Wood club – and the Dudley name was used with the intention of securing land in the borough.

It’s a decision which is sure to go down well with supporters, the majority of which come from the old Dudley Wood days.

Cradley were one of the glamour clubs of the 80s when thousands of fans flocked to the stadium every Saturday.

But when the site was demolished for housing, after one season in exile at Stoke the club closed.

Club chairman Pearson said: “We are agreed as a management that this is the way forward.

“We used the name Dudley because we weren’t sure what the response would be, but it’s clear the majority of our fan base are from the Cradley days.

“There are also some fans who went to Cradley but have never come to support the Dudley Heathens because of the name – well now they have no excuse!

“We will continue at Monmore Green for 2014 and in the New Year we are expecting to sit down with landowners regarding a site which we believe can work for us in the Cradley and Dudley area.

“It’s fair to say we are entering a make-or-break year for the current management to secure a new site – if we don’t, then it will be down to the fans to decide whether they want Cradley to continue at Wolverhampton.

“As a management team our supporters can be assured we are doing everything in our power to have a successful team at the same time as pressing ahead with one last push for a new home.”