Belle Vue Stadium
Belle Vue Stadium is a greyhound racing
Greyhound racing
Greyhound racing is the sport of racing greyhounds. The dogs chase a lure on a track until they arrive at the finish line. The one that arrives first is the winner....

 track in Belle Vue
Belle Vue, Manchester
Belle Vue is an area of Gorton, in the city of Manchester, England. It lies in the eastern part of the city, close to its boundary with Tameside, and is bordered by the Hope Valley Line on the east and the Glossop Line on the west...

, Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 where the very first race around an oval track in Britain was held on 24 July 1926. It is also used for speedway
Motorcycle speedway
Motorcycle speedway, usually referred to as speedway, is a motorcycle sport involving four and sometimes up to six riders competing over four anti-clockwise laps of an oval circuit. Speedway motorcycles use only one gear and have no brakes and racing takes place on a flat oval track usually...

 as the home ground of Elite League team Belle Vue Aces
Belle Vue Aces
The Belle Vue Aces are a British speedway team from Manchester in the north west of England.-Brief history:Racing first took place in 1928 at the Belle Vue greyhound stadium in Kirkmanshulme Lane before moving the following year to a specially built stadium nearby on Hyde Road. The club raced there...

 since 1988 and since 1999 has British Stock Car Association
BriSCA could refer to* The British Stock Car Association, this organisation manages BriSCA F1 Stock Cars racing in the UK.* BriSCA F2 Limited responsible for the organisation of the smaller BriSCA Formula Two stock cars....

 (BriSCA), the British governing body for stock car racing
Stock car racing
Stock car racing is a form of automobile racing found mainly in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, Brazil and Argentina. Traditionally, races are run on oval tracks measuring approximately in length...

 and banger racing
Banger racing
Banger Racing is a tarmac or dirt track racing type of motorsport event popularised in both North America and Europe and especially United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands in which drivers of old vehicles race against one another around a race track and the race is...

. The stadium holds a number of BriSCA events and has become one of the most popular venues in the North-West of England.The track has always been the property of Greyhound Racing Association
Greyhound Racing Association
The Greyhound Racing Association is a private company involved in the management of sports venues.It currently operates five sites:*Oxford Stadium*Wimbledon Stadium, London*Hall Green Stadium, Birmingham*Perry Barr Stadium, Birmingham...

 Ltd. (GRA), which has invested heavily in it right through to the current day.

The stadium also hosts speedway racing, stock car racing, and banger racing events throughout the year. Greyhound racing takes place on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. The stadium offers luxury glass-fronted grandstands, restaurant, hospitality boxes, and several bars.

Greyhound racing

In 1925 Charles A. Munn, a shrewd American businessman, realised the international appeal the sport would have and struck up a deal with Smith and Sawyer for the rights to promote the greyhound racing in Britain.

Although the earlier attempt to introduce mechanical racing at Hendon had almost been forgotten, the pastime of coursing was as strong as ever in Britain. Fortunately for Munn, the first person he contacted with regards to reintroducing greyhound racing into Britain was Major L. Lyne Dixson. The Major was a leading figure in British field sports and was quickly won over to the idea presented to him by the American entrepreneur

Finding other supporters proved to rather difficult however. With the General Strike of 1926 looming, the two men scoured the country in an attempt to find others who would join them. Eventually they met Brigadier-General Alfred Critchley, who in turn introduced them to Sir William Gentle JP. Between them they raised £22,000 and formed the Greyhound Racing Association Ltd.

When deciding where to situate their new stadium, Manchester was considered to be the ideal place because of its sporting and gambling links. Close to the city centre, the consortium erected the first custom-built greyhound stadium and called it Belle Vue, where the very first race around an oval track in Britain was held on 24 July 1926. More than 1,700 people were attracted to the meeting where they watched a greyhound called Mistley win over 440 yards (402 m).

Six races with seven dogs in each race were held in the first meeting. Fifty years later a stand was named after Mistley, the winner of the first race. Running the quarter-mile flat course in 25 seconds, Mistley romped home eight lengths clear at 6–1.

Belle Vue increased the number of runners per race to seven, but after the formation of the NGRC in 1928 the maximum number of dogs per race was limited to six.

After the end of that first meeting, the GRA were horrified to find they had made a loss of £50 on the night, after attracting only 1,700 people to pass through the turnstiles. The following week the crowds turned out in force; more than 16,000 people shuffled through the turnstile, and "going to the dogs" became a national pastime.

From that first meeting in July to the day the GRA closed for the winter break just three months later on 29 October, over 11,000 racegoers had paid to watch each of the 37 meetings. During those meetings there had been 221 races. The consortium repaid a £10,000 bank loan and shares in the new company rose from their initial value of one shilling to £37–10–00. (That's £37.50 for an outlay of 5p for today's money minded!)

When racing resumed at Belle Vue after the winter break, 1927 saw greyhound racing continue to increase in popularity. By June, the stadium was attracting almost 70,000 visitors a week.


Since 2007 Greyhound Action, an animal rights organisation which campaigns for an end to greyhound racing, has been having weekly protests outside the races each Saturday and occasionally on Fridays. Greyhound Action claim that thousands of greyhound dogs are killed each year in the Greyhound Industry because they either do not make the grade or are injured during racing, The accuracy of these claims however, are constantly challenged by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain who license and regulate racing at Belle Vue Stadium. Greyhound Action give out leaflets to people entering the races bearing their opinion on the cruelty involved in some areas of the greyhound racing industry.


A grass-track meeting took place here on 5 May 1928, with Sid Jackson emerging as the winner. The dirt track was stated to be similar in size and shape to Wimbledon and Harringay, with the first meeting going ahead on 28 July 1928, when Frank Arthur won the Golden Helmet.

When the stadium at Hyde Road was sold in 1987, the Aces moved back to the Greyhound Stadium, under the promotion of Peter Collins, John Perrin and Don Bowes. The opening meeting of the new era of the Aces was held on 1 April 1988, and saw Belle Vue take on Bradford Dukes in the Frank Varey Northern Trophy. However, the match was abandoned after just two heats due to a waterlogged track (rain), with the Aces leading the match.

Due to other commitments, Peter Collins resigned from his promotional position in 1989, leaving Perrin and Bowes in charge of the Aces. With the amalgamation of the two leagues, Belle Vue became members of the British League Division One in 1991.

A further management change in 1994 saw George Carswell link with Perrin and Bowes as co-promoter. Both divisions of the British League joined together to form a 21 team Premier League in 1995, with the Aces becoming founder members.

A further promoting change in 1995 saw John Hall replace Don Bowes, to link up with Perrin and Carswell. The Premier League broke in two at the end of 1996, with the Aces becoming members of the new Elite League, where they have remained up until the present day.

A change of promotion occurred in late 2004 as John Perrin sold the club to Workington Promoters Tony Mole and Ian Thomas. This was Thomas's second stint in charge of The Aces. A further change in ownership occurred in December 2006 as ex-captain Chris Morton along with David Gordon and Gordon Pairman bought the club from Tony Mole and Ian Thomas.

Belle Vue still ride at Kirkmanshulme Lane and race nights are nearly always on Monday nights with an occasional Wednesday and Sunday meeting, along with Good Friday morning.

Rugby league

In 1933, Broughton Rangers
Broughton Rangers
Broughton Rangers was a British rugby football, and subsequently a rugby league club. It was based in Broughton, Salford.-History:Broughton Rangers was founded in 1877 as Broughton and added Rangers for its second season...

relocated to the Belle Vue Stadium inside the speedway track. In 1945/46, Broughton rebranded themselves as Belle Vue Rangers. The team folded after the
1954/55 season.

External links

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