AMBITIOUS Robert Henry is ready to put the roar back into the Mildenhall Fen Tigers after he was unveiled as the West Row club’s new team chief this week.
Following weeks of negotiations, the former Fenman finally put pen to paper on a deal that has sparked much excitement among supporters of Suffolk’s second biggest speedway outfit.
“It would be great if we could get this club back to the glory days of the late 1970s and 1980s,” said Henry this week. “It would be nice to win something in my first season at the helm. The aim is to win and be successful.
“I wouldn’t want to make any bold predictions yet though because it is a learning curve for all of us – but we will do our best.”
The West Row favourite, who lives in Mildenhall, joins the club after arguably the most turbulent period in its 36-year history. After folding last July under then boss John Adams and promoter Ray Mascall, the Tigers have been dragged through the mire amid all the uncertainty surrounding its future.
But the club was reborn last month when the British Speedway Promoters’ Association granted a licence for three-pronged promotion team Kevin Jolly, Michael Lee and Chris Louis.
One prediction Henry is prepared to make is that the club’s future is a bright one.
“I think with the promotion team we have and with my experience, everything is in place and the club will be pointed in the right direction,” said the 56-year-old.
“It was sad to see the club take the hit that they did last summer. It is a difficult climate to keep anything in speedway going at the moment but there is so much enthusiasm at Mildenhall right now. I can feel the buzz at the place and we want to run it like a professional club.”
Henry is thought by many Tigers’ fans to be one of the club’s greatest ever riders after he helped them win the National League title – then the second tier – in 1979.
“They were really good days,” recalled Henry. “To be a part of the club’s most successful era was great and there used to be thousands of supporters back then.
“It will be a tough task but it would be nice to get back to the glory days and get as many people through the turnstiles as possible.
“We have some good young riders already signed up for the new season and we are all looking forward to the challenge.”
The Tigers open their new National League campaign with a home meeting against Dudley Heathens on Sunday, April 17.