No work, but you won't get Leigh down

PROFESSIONAL sport can be cruel. One minute you are a hero, the next can be cast aside... out of favour and out of work.Nothing illustrates this more than Leigh Lanham's recent fall from grace as captain of the Ipswich Witches speedway team.

PROFESSIONAL sport can be cruel. One minute you are a hero, the next can be cast aside... out of favour and out of work.

Nothing illustrates this more than Leigh Lanham's recent fall from grace as captain of the Ipswich Witches speedway team. So what does the future hold for Lanham? Mike Bacon met the man to find out.

YOU could quite understand if Leigh Lanham was a bitter man.

Appointed captain of his home-town speedway team, Ipswich Witches, at the start of the 2009 campaign, he now finds himself out of work, released by the Witches management after a bad crash and subsequent poor scores.


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Life's not easy. He has two young mouths to feed and a wife to support, no money coming in, and has had to put up with some so-called fans abusing him to his face.

That's no joke. And while Leigh accepts criticism as part of the territory, looking after his young family is more of a concern.

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So is he bitter? No he isn't.

“Quite honestly, I'm just disappointed I didn't have time to show Ipswich fans that I could do this,” he said.

“I was under pressure from the start, but it never worried me to be honest. In hindsight I wonder whether I should have taken the captaincy.

“I had enough on my plate to try to score points, but I was happy at the time to take the job on and I didn't let anyone down on that front.”

The Lanham telephone hasn't stopped ringing since news of his release was made public. He's a very popular rider and already has a few clubs interested in signing him.

He won't be out of work long, which is just as well as he earns nothing if he isn't riding, but it's been a frustrating time.

Leigh's season never got started, when he crashed out of the first meeting of the season in March, badly damaging the little finger of his right hand, and breaking a finger on his other.

“I can handle criticism, it doesn't bother me. I've got a lovely wife, Lucy and two beautiful girls Holly (four) and Ellie (three). They are more important to me than anything.

“In some ways a bit of a black cloud has been lifted, I was putting myself under so much pressure. I'd have never quit the Witches, but now I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

“Anyhow I just look at my daughters, they put everything into perspective.”

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