MATTHEW WETHERS today broke his silence over his shock exclusion from the Edinburgh Monarchs speedway team for next season, but admitted his move to border rivals Berwick Bandits was “the easiest decision I’ve had to make”.
The 27-year-old Australian, who picked up a trio of league winners medals during his ten years in Monarchs’ colours, was forced to seek a new club after the team’s new board of directors opted to axe him just three months after he celebrated a Testimonial salute at Armadale.
Wethers said: “I didn’t fancy a move down south and when I got the phone call to say I wasn’t required by Edinburgh the first call I made was to Berwick promoter John Anderson – within 24 hours a deal was agreed, it was the easiest decision for me to make.
“I’m happy with the move, when I first came over to the UK I didn’t enjoy the Berwick track too much, but once you figure it out, it’s a good circuit to ride, the circuit has definitely improved.
“I had thought there might be a need for me to change clubs because nobody knew if Edinburgh would actually be running next season, but they are, and I’m still not there. It’s not something I had planned because it was not something that was in my hands.”
The decision to dispense with Wethers after a decade of stalwart service has not been met with universal approval, with some supporters feeling Berwick are going to benefit from his low average especially if he rides anywhere near to his true capabilities. “I know I had a poor season this year but that is something which can work in your favour if you are on a low average. Team building comes down to averages and whether you can be fitted in or not, it’s just a case of getting on with it.
“I hadn’t really thought I needed a change, but since the change has come about I think it can only be a good thing and I’m really looking forward to my new challenge at Berwick.”
His close friend and former team-mate Andrew Tully has also left Armadale, at his own request, and will link up with Newcastle Diamonds in 2013. Wethers said: “I do think a change will also be of benefit to Andrew. Like myself he had been at Edinburgh a long time and sometimes you can become stale. On the other hand some riders stay with one club for their whole career, it comes down to the individual in the end.”
Wethers is already relishing Berwick’s Premier League Cup clashes with Monarchs, and added: “It’s always the case when you go back to your old club that you want to do well and show them what they are missing.”
Having surprisingly dropped his average this season, Wethers is only too well aware that he needs to find his scoring boots in 2013 but confessed he is as mystified as anybody as to why he let so many points slip from his grasp, especially on his home track.
“If I knew what caused the problems I wouldn’t have had them,” he said. “I did have a lot of mechanical problems and this wasn’t something that was easily fixed, hopefully this is now in the past.”
Switching clubs is part of the fabric of speedway but one suspects Wethers would have been more than happy to commence an 11th season in Monarchs colours, but he remains philosophical. “It happens in our sport and you get used to it as a professional rider. Whatever Monarchs plans were they did not include me.
“It will be a good break for me and a change of scenery might be beneficial. This year has been so disappointing for me, not just on the track but financially, and I cannot ride like that again next year.
“I think Berwick have put together the strongest team they have had for a few years, and I think if we can steer clear of injuries, we will do well.”