Though scores of greyhound tracks across the country have closed in recent years – including venues at Canterbury, Ramsgate, Rochester and Maidstone in Kent alone – there is a view the bad times that have dogged the sport in the past could finally be at an end."Bad times that have dogged the sport." HAHAHAHAHA! See what he did there? Pretty funny Mr. Writer sir. Hey, you know what else is funny about greyhound racing? Dogs being bled to death when they aren't fast enough to win anymore.
But back to our story.
Keith Hougham is acting stadium manager at Sittingbourne. He is no stranger to the sport, having been involved for more than 40 years and once owned racing dogs. “Greyhound racing is certainly not at its peak,” he admits. “The amount of greyhound stadiums that have closed throughout the country in the last few years is shocking.“We only have one stadium in London now, which is at Wimbledon, and there are lots of adverse comments about its future too.“At one point you probably had more than 10 in London. But a chequered past involving animal cruelty cases, and constant claims of corruption, have led large sections of the public to turn their back on the sport.Well Keith, when you put it like that it's hard to see how racing became unpopular in the first place. So what's your plan to put the heartless exploitation of living creatures for profit back on everyone's to do list?
The Swale Borough Council-leased stadium are determined to bring “a night at the dogs” into the 21st century with a clean cut, wholesome and transparent approach. This starts with enticing a new clientele.Um...Keith? You sure that's a good idea? We mean, unless the new clientele you're planning to entice are sociopaths, psychotics and serial killers the less people know about greyhound racing the better. Particularly that transparent thing. Mass graves have a way of really harshing people's mellow.
Mr Hougham said: “From a spectacle point of view, it is still one of the most exciting sports you can go and see. It generates a lot of enthusiasm from both young and old and you haven’t got to spend a lot of money to come racing. “But it is not based just around betting; it’s a social occasion, a night out where you can have different things going on, family parties, stag nights, hen parties and corporate evenings.”OK we're going to have to stop you right there Mr. Hougham. If you're going to entice a 21st century clientele to come out to the track by telling them they can have stag and hen parties, you really need to get out a little more often. See, it's not that you aren't a real swinging hep cat or anything, it's just the the Lawrence Welk teevee show went off the air about thirty years ago and the rest of us have kind of moved on, you know? Hey Applejack, can you help this guy get on Facebook?
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