letters: GRA remains committed to trainers and their dogs; Stephen Rea, the GRA's PR spokesman, reacts to criticism of the company in the wake of Catford's closure.I was surprised to read Paul Koller's comments earlier this week, as he has clearly not taken on board the commitment we gave as a company to the trainers, staff and, most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially , the greyhounds at Catford Stadium 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  . .
Yes, I was angry with the ill-timed comments emanating from the Catford Greyhound Owners' Association just a few hours after the closure announcement, and this anger was on behalf of the greyhounds which have played no part in the demise of Catford and in my personal opinion did not deserve to have their lives taken so flippantly flip·pant
1. Marked by disrespectful levity or casualness; pert.
2. Archaic Talkative; voluble.
[Probably from flip. .
I, along with many of my colleagues at GRA GRA Graphic Arts
GRA Grande Raccordo Anulare (circular highway surrounding Rome, Italy)
GRA Graduate Research Assistant
GRA Georgia Research Alliance
GRA Graduate Research Assistantship
GRA Guyana Revenue Authority , are greyhound lovers, and they were as anxious as I was, that we gave the commitment on behalf of the GRA after discussions with the RGT RGT Right
RGT Register(ed) Gross Tonnage
RGT Reliability Growth Testing
RGT Remote Ground Terminal
RGT Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator
RGT Rich Guy's Telescope
RGT Requirements Growth Testing that no greyhounds need be put down, and it was good to see John Haynes John Haynes (May 1, 1594 - January 1653 or 1654) was a colonial magistrate, one time governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and an eight-time governor of the Connecticut Colony.
John Haynes was born in Essex, England, a hotbed of the Puritan movement. from the Trainers' Association back up that commitment 100 per cent.
It is a matter for the concience of any owner when the decision comes to put down any pet, and to suggest that the owners of over 100 greyhounds would consider putting down fit and healthy greyhounds, was not only an insult to the greyhounds but also to the owners, who I'm sure would not make that decision faced with an alternative.
Our role at the GRA is to provide that alternative, and as you can see from the placement of trainers at other stadiums this week we are pursuing that role as quickly as possible.
We realised that there would be much critisism of our decision to close Catford and, as our managing director Clive Feltham stated, the decision was not taken lightly and was the result of several years of trading losses The following contains a list of trading losses which eventually forced major corporations to go bankrupt or restructure parts of their organisation. This list is not exhaustive. . Many companies would have pulled the plug long before, but we only made that decision after exhausting every possible way of reaching a solution.
Without the guarantee of the continued use of the only access and car park, we were not able to commit to the millions of pounds of refurbishment that was required to give the stadium a viable future.
I understand the comments that we should have kept the stadium open longer, and as a former Catford owner myself with the late Paddy Milligan, I would also have enjoyed the opportunity to pay my respects to the great old stadium, but therein lies the problem.
Once the announcement of closure was made, the staff and the trainers and owners would inevitably have started looking for pastures new, and start jumping ship, and as the crowd levels had diminished over the years, so too had the levels of staff required to service them, and the thought of thousands of customers suddenly descending on the stadium with a very small work force, was too risky from a health and safety point of view, and imagine the chaos that could have ensued.
Doing it the way we did, it has enabled us to compensate trainers financially in the short-term, and help them to get alternative positions during a period of calm after the storm, and I am convinced that we made the right decision based on all the facts we had at our disposal.
Finally, I am sick and tired of people jumping on the bandwagon of slagging off the GRA just because we run our stadiums as businesses that need to make a profit and a return for our shareholders.
The bookmaker-owned stadiums do not carry that burden as their profits are generated from a different source, and the fact that all our stadiums are bursting at the seams with owners and greyhounds (we have never had more owners or greyhounds attached to our stadiums) surely means that we are doing something right.
We provide top-class facilities at Wimbledon, Hall Green, Oxford, Belle Vue, and soon we hope at Portsmouth and Perry Barr, and the fortunes we spend on maintaining our racing surfaces to the highest standards is second to no one.
Hall Green, Birmingham