FORMER Swindon Robins team manager Alun Rossiter admitted he was “gutted” to hear that speedway would never return to the Abbey Stadium on Wednesday while also claiming he has faced abuse from fans over failing to prevent the move.

The Robins released a statement via British Speedway announcing the “permanent closure of Speedway Racing at the Abbey Stadium” this week and declared they would be hunting for a new location to independently run as soon as possible.

Confirmation of the decision has seemed a long time coming to many, with the Robins having not competed in the Premiership since winning the SGB Premiership league and cup double three seasons ago.

Rossiter says he and fellow co-promoter Lee Kilby have faced heavy criticism from fans over claims the pair have kept secrets or failed to take control of the whole saga.

The pub landlord argued he has in fact been as helpless as his fellow supporters due to not owning any part of the club – a fact Rossiter says he has had to keep reminding people about.

He said: “Well, unfortunately, because me and Lee are sort of the face of the club, we're the ones who have been getting the abuse hurled at us.

"We don't own the club, and we haven't worked for the club since 2019. We've known as much or as little as anybody else has known.

"I keep reminding people: "we are not the owners. We do not own Swindon Speedway 2013." 

"Yes, we've tried to do things to try and save the club, but in respect of running the club, it's literally not our business."

Reacting to the news of the Robins’ Abbey departure, Rossiter said: "I’m gutted, the same as everybody else, well and truly gutted.

“But realistically, with the amount of houses around there and the sound issues that were going on, how long were we going to last anyway?

“It’s the same situation with pubs. They build houses right next door to a pub and people’s attitudes used to be: “The pub has been there longer” but it doesn’t work like that anymore, unfortunately.

“We had a successful team there for 10-15 years. We were on the way up, we were improving every year, we finished the 2019 season with a double.

“And we’re now in a situation where we don’t have a stadium. It’s mad. Of course I’d love to come back, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The other main user of the Gaming International-owned Abbey Stadium, greyhound racing, appears set to carry on for the time being.