Catford Stadium was a historic greyhound track in Catford, a suburb of London. It was open between 1932 and 2003, when it was closed by its commercial operator Wembley. The local amateur side, Catford Wanderers, were mooted to move into the stadium, though this dream was never realised. The stadium has caught on fire and has since been demolished, along with the scoreboard.
In its heyday before the legalisation of bettings shops in the 1960s, the stadium attracted large crowds, and celebrities such as Henry Cooper, Lester Piggott, Lennox Lewis, Frank Bruno and Leslie Grantham appeared to present trophies to the winners.
Greyhound racing as a whole in the UK has been in terminal decline for several decades now, as there were once 33 greyhound stadiums alone in London, now only three are left (Crayford, Romford and Wimbledon).
Controversy and subsequent actions
Before it closed the stadium was embroiled in controversy, when in 2001, a trainer Lennie Knell was caught on camera admitting overfeeding dogs to slow them down, and again in 2002, when a greyhound named Football Focus died of heat exhaustion. Subsequently the regulated greyhound industry under the banner of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain brought in stringent rules that required every stadium and greyhound transporter to have cool air management systems. Another requirement is that greyhounds are weighed every time they race and any greyhound found to be over or under a kilogram different from its last race would not be allowed to run. Any trainer found deliberately overfeeding dogs would lose his licence. Trainer Lennie Knell was made a disqualified person from all licensed greyhound tracks in May 2002 after an inquiry by the governing body.
Closure and redevelopment
- BBC news item about closure
- This is London report
- Overfeeding controversy
- Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3